Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Farm and Garden Report - May 4

Heard peepers - April 24, Easter night
Redwing blackbirds at the feeders - April 25
Heard white throated sparrow - 'old sam peabody, peabody, peabody - and the song sparrow.
Tom and Matt went to a lecture on vernal pools. In Matt and Margaret's pool there are wood frogs galore and many eggs.
First flowers on April 25 - bloodworts

The daffodils have brought sunshine to Windy Poplars on the gray days. I took this photo yesterday out the east kitchen window. The world is greening up so beautifully.

My daffs are a mixture of bright yellow, and the lovely, soft white with yellow at the center.

On April 27, Katie, our sheep shearer came. It was the first really warm day, and the sheep were so happy to get rid of their woolly coats. I wrote about last year's shearing here, if you'd like to learn more about it. I've offered the fleece to a local yarn shop for any spinners who might want it.

Here is a view of all the animals in their spring, summer, and fall pasture. They stay there during the day and go back to the other pasture, where the barn is, each evening.

On May 3, I planted 40 leek plants we started from seed. I put them in the chive bed. There were four big chive plants in there and we moved two of them to other areas. If you click on the picture of the view out the kitchen window, that bed is the closest to the bench. The garlic is coming along great in the bed next to the chive bed.

This morning I found the first tick of the season crawling on my arm. I had picked up the hamper to bring the laundry downstairs and I bet there was a tick on a piece of clothing from the day before. Yuck!

Also this morning, the sixteen new baby chicks arrived. It is a little miracle that they hatched two days before and were packed into their little box and mailed to us. They are down cellar in a big box with shavings, a feeder, a waterer, and a heat lamp, and I can hear them peeping all over the house. I wrote a long piece four years ago, the last time we got chicks. If you are interested in the whole process, you may read it here.

I looked out the window and saw a rose-breasted grosbeak at the feeders. First one this year. They are a rare, and most welcome visitor. This is not my picture!

I took down the suet feeders, but have continued longer than usual with sunflower seeds and cracked corn because of the cold April, but ... it is just about time to remove them because last evening Tom was walking down the hill and 20 feet away from him a big black bear crossed the road. He stayed very still till it walked away.

We are high on a hill and never have to worry about high water, but a couple towns over there was flooding. That's the Connecticut River on the left, and a field on the right.


  1. A long "oh" popped out of me as I read about the bear. It is so good to read your farm reports and I love those little chicks. The emergence of life is so wonderful come spring (when it finally comes) isn't it?

  2. Me too, when Tom told me. :<) There is something new every single day this time of year!

  3. I love your daffys! I'm originally from Smyrna, Georgia, "The Jonquil City" and always plant them wherever I live in fond memory of yards and yards full of their happy yellow faces each spring.
    Chicks are adorable.

  4. Our daffs are over here, our spring is a couple of weeks ahead of yours I think. We've planted our leeks too but are having to water them as we've had no rain for weeks on end. And 'wow' to actually seeing a grosbeak! And 'gosh' to the bear....

  5. A bear!! Now, that's truly exotic for me, since bears have become extinct in my part of the world centuries ago.
    I think if I had a box of chicks in my house, I would sit there watching them all day :-)
    Good to hear you were able to plant the leek now; I wish you a good harvest!

  6. Jill, those yards must have been so lovely!

    Cath, no rain for weeks??? I can hardly believe it.

    Librarian, I can't believe bears are extinct there. I really can't. 'Our' bears are black bears, not the grizzlys that are in the western US.

  7. Nan, you could be writing a chapter of a "Stillmeadow" book by Gladys Taber! I enjoyed this post so much.

  8. Oh my gosh, Jill, what an amazing thing to say! Wow. No higher compliment.

  9. It is good that you don't have to worry about floods Nan. We are having our flood season here too. It is another doozey of a flood. As bad as 2008 some say worse. Love seeing your little chicks. It is so exciting to hear their little peeps. Beware of the bears. What a scare. We have had Rose-breasted grosbeaks at our feeders too. They are so beautiful. Don't you just love that spring green.

  10. Both bears and wolves as well as lynxes have become extinct in central Europe centuries ago; wolves and lynxes have been re-introduced through breeding programs but they are still very, very rare, and there is no way bears are going to be made part of a similar program.

  11. Wow...these are some awesome photos. I drove by the Connecticut River yesterday -- extremely high water levels.

    Aren't you happy spring is here after all that snow?? LOL

  12. Nan, loved the Farm Report! Spring has Sprung at your Farm!! I love the picture of the daffodils along the stone wall-stunning!! Glad your sheep have been shorn-I'm sure they do feel better ours used to. They used to run around and do a little dance of sorts-very cute! I have only seen a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak probably 5 times in my 51 yrs., that must have been a nice treat for you! Enjoy your day and your Spring!

  13. Lisa, do you have to worry at your home? Bears are pretty common around here - they come to people's trash in town. A neighbor has had them napping on his deck! The chicks grew in one day, I swear!

    Librarian, I wonder why wolves but not bears. Bears don't even eat livestock. I'll have to look this up on the internet. I'm very interested. We have lynx and bobcat, and though rarely seen, we do occasionally hear the eerie screech.

    Diane, I just heard an inch of snow predicted tonight! And my poor daffs are all over the ground from two days of rain. :<(

    Sherri, I know that little sheep dance! The stone wall is actually an old stone planter that was here when we bought the place. I've yet to come upon the perfect thing to grow in it.

  14. I do love your reports, picturing it all and looking at your photographs.
    No rain here for weeks either, well it went dark a while ago and we had a sprinkling but only for about five minutes. The farmers are getting very worried.
    How lovely that Tom and Matt have so many shared interests.

  15. Thank you, Carole (??).
    That's really upsetting about the no rain. And yes, Margaret and I love it that Matt and Tom share such love of all this rural stuff!

  16. Yes it was me ;-)
    Just seen reports on the television of many fires around the country due to the drought.
    I'm still digesting the idea of a bear on your land.....wonderful but scary thought.

  17. Carole, there's a link with interesting info about 'our' bears:

    I'll go look for the news about the fires. Awful.

  18. I've had to stop feeding the birds completely because of the bear that wanders into town and tears up the feeders. It's very vexing. I mean I know he has to eat too, but he causes such havoc that I've just had to stop putting out bird feeders. It breaks my heart because I love watching the birds.
    I live two blocks from town, but the bear still comes around.

    My daughter lives in a more wooded, rural area so forget about any sort of bird feeding there as well. She has a great picture she took of a big black bear on her deck. Such a good picture, the newspaper picked it up. Funny, but not. If you know what I mean.

  19. Yvette, this is the time of year we are all advised by Fish & Game to take down the feeders. The only reason ours are still up is that April was so cold. And it still is chilly. I'll probably take them down next week unless the bear finds them first! I actually wrote about this a few years ago, if you'd like to see what the bear did:

    And a great, great poem about bears by Maxine Kumin:

  20. Good heavens, 5,000 bears in N.H. That is amazing. I don't think I would have the courage to sing or talk to one!!
    I have enough problems here with badgers, foxes, squirrels, deer and rats, the bird feeders tempt most of them, but bears are in a different league altogether. I'm very impressed.

  21. love your sweet sheep!

    thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it! God bless you and yours! Enjoy your springtime!

  22. Carole, I would take bears over rats any day! I'd take 5000 bears over one rat. :<)

    Thank you, texwisgirl!

  23. Love reading about your area. I am probably 4 tio 6 weeks ahead of you. Glad there are no bears in my woods. Love the baby chickens.
    Memories of many years ago when I raised them. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Ernestine, honestly we don't see them very often. Maybe four or five in all the years we've been here. We live in a very wooded area so they've got a lot of space to wander in other than our yard!


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