Monday, November 30, 2009

Wild Turkey

This is the first time we have seen wild turkeys here. Wild turkeys were nearly wiped out by the early part of the twentieth century from hunting and destruction of their natural habitat. In the 1940's they were reintroduced and are found today in many places that are far removed form their preferred woodland areas. A wild turkey can live three to four years in the wild and they have many predators from the time the egg is laid. They can weigh from six to twenty pounds and have a wing span of four to nearly five feet. Only the male displays the ruffled feathers of the fan like tail and a turkey's gobble can be heard for a mile. They travel in flocks that can include dozens of the birds and feed on nuts, seeds, fruits and insects.

Friday, November 27, 2009

American Kestrel

An American Kestrel performing an arial display over the back field. Unlike larger raptors, this most beautiful raptor has adapted to man and can now be found in cities all across North America, where it feeds mainly on house sparrows. In the countryside, it feeds on insects, small birds and rodents, taking their prey on the ground rather then in the air. It is the most common falcon in North America and the most colorful. I observed a pair of them taking a dip in the bird bath last winter. I did take pictures but it was through the patio door and the screen door on the porch. If you do a "google" search you will be able to see these beautiful birds up close and read more about them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fungi

There are several young mulberry trees on the property with this fungi growing on them. Fungi infect plants, animals and even other fungi. Athlete's foot and ringworm are two fungal diseases in humans. Drugs made from fungi cure diseases and stop the rejection of transplanted hearts and other organs. Fungi are also grown to produce flavorings for cooking, enzymes for removing stains and even for vitamins.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wheat Grass

I grow wheat grass for Sophie, my cat. Cats and all animals eat grass to maintain their health and to aid in recovery from an injury. Grass is rich in chlorophyll and contains a higher concentration of enzymes, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids than almost any other food. Growing wheat grass for your indoor cat will make them healthier, happier, improve their coat and keep them away from your house plants, which could be poisonous and fatal for them. Wheat grass is available at most pet stores and it is easy to grow a little pot of it for your cat in a few days. Sometimes I snip it off into Sophie's food and always place the container of it on the floor to allow her to graze.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time of Arrival

One year ago today this marvelous little Australian Shepherd came into our lives. She was thin and hungry and ten days later surprised us by giving birth to four puppies, three of which survived. Several weeks went by without a sound from her, I was beginning to think she was unable to bark. She has since made up for that time of silence. Australian Shepherds are highly versatile dogs and have assisted the seeing and hearing impaired, worked with law enforcement in narcotics and rescue endeavors, helped with therapy in nursing homes and have even pulled sleds. They have a very high energy level and need a great deal of exercise on a daily basis. Without appropriate amounts of exercise they can become bored or frustrated and develop destructive habits. It is wonderful to watch this little dog do her laps around the ten acres she has here. For a current picture of "Mini Pearl" look at the posts for October.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Empty Nest

I have been watching the leaves fall and waiting for the empty nests to appear. There are just a few of them this year and mostly robin's nest. Of course this distresses me. I have always enjoyed watching a nest being built and then the beautiful eggs cupped in them, the feeding of the fledgelings and the flying lessons are the most fun of all to watch. I know that the flight pattern of the UPS planes has made an impact and trees have been destroyed and damaged by past storms. Fifteen years ago it seems this place was a haven for all types of birds. The numbers seem to dwindle each year and I do miss the birds and their songs.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Long Horned Grasshopper

All dressed up for fall, a long horned grasshopper takes a break. The name is because of the very long antennae he has. Did you know that all grasshoppers can fly? They have two pairs of wings, the fore wings are not used for flying, they conceal the hind wings which are folded under them like a fan. He uses those strong legs to launch himself into the air in order to fly. In this part of the world they feed mostly on corn and tobacco and maybe an occasional veggie. The grasshopper is an important food source for birds, spiders and small mammals. There are over 1,000 species in North America and more then 23,000 species world wide. I do remember Aesop's fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper and know this fellow has not put aside any food to see him through the winter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twilight at the Pond

I love this blue twilight, so serene, so calm, so soothing. Just be still and the cares of the day are soon forgotten.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kingfisher

Things have really been busy at the pond the last few days. Another one of my "fishermen" has shown up. I feel sure this Belted Kingfisher has been returning for the past year or two. He is a an interesting bird, about the size of a pigeon and is blue grey in color with a band of color on his breast that gives him his name, Belted Kingfisher.His head is bushy crested and that looks like attitude. He has a dagger-like bill and can hover over the water and dive vertically for his prey. He has a loud and noisy call that he gives when on the wing or perched on a branch. Still, it is good to see him, we do enjoy him.