A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Archive for the ‘birding’ Category

Common Birds of Oahu, HI

nene gooseThe Nene is the state bird of Hawaii.  I didn’t see any while I was on vacation on Oahu.  I did see lots of other birds though.  I had to look them all up online, because I wasn’t familiar with any of them.

 

 

 

 

common myna birdOne bird that was extremely plentiful was the Myna.  They’re entertaining little characters, and vocal.  We had one that began “singing” first thing every morning, just outside our bedroom.

 

 

 

 

Cattle EgretI was so surprised to see that Cattle Egrets were everywhere on the island.  We have them here in Wisconsin, so I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them on Oahu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

credit:JD Kuehl

credit:JD Kuehl

One of the first birds we noticed is a beautiful multi-colored cardinal.  We learned that it’s a Brazilian Red Capped Cardinal, not indigenous to Hawaii.  They’re plentiful and really lovely birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spotted Dove  credit:JD Kuehl

Spotted Dove credit:JD Kuehl

We found 2 types of doves while on the island, the Spotted Dove, and the Zebra Dove.  Both are similar to our Mourning Doves, but smaller.

Zebra Dove

Zebra Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mentioned the wild chickens in a previous post on our Hawaiian vacation.

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July 2012 Newsletter

The wheat has been harvested, and most of the straw has been baled.  The wheat yielded about 65 bu/acre.  The price is high right now, sadly due to the misfortune of farmers everywhere.  Now we’re seeing the sandhill cranes and Canada geese gleaning our wheat fields and probably finding bugs and frogs in the stubble. The next crop related job will be cutting and baling a small field of hay.  The lack of rain and high temps have burned up our pastures (and lawn) so we’ll be needing more hay than usual.  The sheep aren’t getting anything out of the pastures now, and Lee’s had to supplement them with hay.
We are still very dry.  Last night while all around us rain was falling, sometimes in gully washer proportions, we got a measly 1/10″!  It didn’t even settle the dust and only served to raise the humidity levels.  There are more chances for rain in the next few days and we’re hoping some of it will fall on our farm.
Even with the lack of rain, the roadside weeds and wildflowers are still abundant.  One of my favorites is wild chicory.  Its flowers are such a pretty shade of blue.
This summer has been hard on the farm cats.  We started this spring with 10, and we’ve lost several, either to illness or the road, or just unknown causes.  One of the kitties was dead on the road the other day and it’s the first time I’ve ever lost a cat that way and known it, in all these years.  We have more traffic on our road lately because we have new neighbors building a house and there’s lots of construction activity.  Well anyway, I think our current cat count is 5 or 6.
We’re anticipating some family visits in the next few weeks.  Collin will be home on leave soon, and Meredith and her family will be here for a few days in August.  Kay and the girls will be coming in August too.
Here’s a slideshow of photos I’ve taken in the past few days:

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I Don’t Get It

It’s the State of Wisconsin and the Federal Governments that have me baffled.  Is it just me, or is the thinking really skewed?  The thing that has me scratching my head these last few days is the news that one of our Wi Senators would like to see a sandhill crane hunt here, and to that end he is circulating a bill that would require the DNR to create a sandhill hunting season.  From the Fond du Lac Reporter “State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, an Oconomowoc Republican and avid duck hunter, began circulating a bill last week that would require the DNR to create a sandhill season.”  Proponents of this bill are using farmers as their reason for wanting to kill sandhills.  They’re saying that farmers would be happy to see these beautiful birds hunted and killed because of the crop damage they cause.  Lee and I are farmers.  Yes, we’ve had some crop damage, but the treated seed helps with that.  We don’t want to see a hunting season on cranes.

The thought of going from this:

to this: really makes me sick. Click to see the pictures full size.

Sandhill cranes were once on the endangered species list, and they only raise one or two chicks per year.  I just think it’s a crazy idea.

Along the same line of thinking, Gray Wolves were also on the endangered list and were recently delisted in WI.  Now, according to some of our neighbors, gray wolves have been documented right in our neighborhood, by people using trail cams.  We have sheep and miniature horses and we sure don’t want wolves anywhere near them.  Why didn’t the government just leave it all alone.  Now they’re talking about allowing limited hunting permits to kill the wolves that do damage to livestock.  Why build them up so you can knock them down?  Crazy!

PS:  This is my 100th post on my blog!

 

I Was Gone

But now I’m back…..

My laptop was in the hands of the Geek Squad for 2 weeks.  Longest 2 weeks I’ve seen!  I was able to use my very old desktop for emails and such, but it gave new meaning to Ramona’s “turtle time” expression.  How slow can you go??  You won’t understand that reference if you don’t watch NY Housewives.  The Geeks replaced my defective battery and all is well in my computing world.

This is Lee’s new (to him) tractor.  If you care about tractors, you can click on the picture to see it  full size.  He can’t wait to try it out on the land.  Oh wait…the land is still too wet to work.  Here we are nearing the end of April and not a lick of field work has been done.  It’s been cold and wet and spring has been a long time coming.  The wheat and hay fields that were already existing, have some concerning bare spots.  Crazy weather.  Weather is causing price fluctuations in the grain and livestock markets.  Purchasing corn to feed our hogs is not fun.  It’s really high priced right now.  On the other hand, the hogs are  getting a good price at this time.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing we’re not making a profit though :).  We’ve been using a somewhat local butcher shop to process the hogs we sell to private customers and the ones for us and family members.  Not long ago the butcher shop lost their supplier of hogs and asked Lee to do it.  He takes them a specific number of hogs each week, so that’s been a nice boost for us.  First because the butcher shop likes our hogs enough to want to sell them in their shop, and also because it gives us an easy weekly income to count on.

In other spring farming news, lambing season is over.  Our little ram must have been incredibly fertile because all of the ewes lambed within an 11 day period.  We had 3 or 4 single lambs, 2 sets of triplets, and the rest were twins.  Sadly, we did lose a ewe due to complications from a prolapsed uterus so her little son is an orphan and being bottle fed.  I named him Goldie because he’s worth his weight in gold!  We had the vet out twice for his mom.  On Easter Sunday.  Combine emergency charges with Holiday charges and you’ll understand the expense.  Plus, powdered lamb milk replacer cost $50.00 for a big bag.  I don’t think we’ll recoup our losses on this one, but he’s awful cute.

Anyone who knows me understands that I’m a serious fussbudget. When  I was a youngster, and the Peanuts characters became so popular, my Dad bought me a Lucy doll because Lucy and I were kindred spirits.  The thing is, that my family and friends continue supplying me with reasons to fuss, fret, and worry.  Lately it’s been the weather.  Tornados and floods and lightening strikes keep me on my toes.  If you live in an area where bad weather is happening, rest assured that I am here in my house,eyes glued to CNN, fussing and fretting about you.  Pestilence?  Bring it on.  I’ll worry it to death.  Some of my family have been inconvenienced by storms but they’re physically all right.  Some of my friends have lost possessions in tornados, but they’re safe and alive.  Maybe we all should move to a place where nothing bad ever happens.  No earthquakes or tornados or hurricanes or volcanos or floods.  Where would that be?  Most will say Heaven, but I really do wonder if there is any place on earth that is devoid of natural disasters.

I’m posting this photo because so many people have told me they’ve never seen or heard of yellow headed blackbirds.  Well, here they are.  They’re similar to redwings in their habits and habitat.  Larger than redwings and very noisy.  We see them every spring.  Some hang out here and nest, most move on to the marsh.

Now that I’ve cleared my head of all the flotsam and jetsam that is on my mind, I’m finished with this post!

March Musings

      

 

      

     Getting closer to Wisconsin spring, but not quite there yet. I don’t let my winter guard down, don’t get my spring hopes up until May. I’m encouraged to see so many migratory birds back home on the farm. I’ve seen an abundance of sandhill cranes and Canada geese. Robins and killdeers are brightening my mornings with their songs. The cardinals are singing their mating songs. I’ve sighted Tundra Swans 2 days in a row. They landed at the back of the farm, near a very large puddle. There’s a lot of water standing due to snow melt and recent rain. I always worry about the birds when we get the inevitable return of winter. This week will be very cold again, with wintry precipitation. Living just on the edge of the Horicon Marsh is a bird watcher’s dream.

Yesterday I found Tiger, dead, behind a bale of hay.  Tiger was Lee’s favorite kitty, who lived in the hog barn and followed Lee around like a dog.  Sadly, farm cats don’t live long lives.  Tiger was probably 4 years old.  We don’t know what caused his death.  RIP Tiger.





 Payten turned one year old on the 20th.  She’s so precious.  Paige and Lucas had a party for her, and she had her own little cake to smoosh, which was the top layer of the birthday cake.  She really wasn’t interested in  eating or smooshing that cake and had to be coerced to dig in for the photo op.Eventually  Payten did make a little mess and was  removed to the bath tub before opening her gifts.

Click on the photo thumbnail to see the full size versions.

Did Searching Land you Here?

I have burning questions.  I need to know how and why you’re here, reading this.  The reason I’m so curious is because WordPress gives me STATS.  STATS are apparently important.  The information they give me includes how many “hits” my blog gets daily, weekly, etc.  The stats can tell me which of the pages or posts get the most or the least hits.  My favorite stats involve the search terms.  People type their query into their favorite search engine, and sometimes they’re directed to a page on my blog.  The reason I’m writing about this now is because this morning I was reviewing my blog stats, and nearly died laughing.  Someone typed in to their search bar “furry ugly child” and they were sent to Charlie’s page on my blog.  This person was so curious about furry, ugly Charlie that he/she also clicked on the pictures of Charlie, presumably to get a better look at his furry ugliness.

Other searches that have me puzzled include “american white pelican” .  That particular post has gotten the most views on this blog.  Many, many views.  I really wonder if there is not a better source of information on the American White Pelican?  My cheese soup recipes  have been found via search engine pretty much daily since I made that post.  I had no idea how many people were craving cheese soup.

I’d really love to know why so many people are seeking information  about pelicans.  If you’re one of those folks, do leave a comment!

Whatever brought you here, thanks for coming and come on back any time.

Good Bye July…..

…..and a big hello to August, soon to arrive.

I’d like to say I hate to complain, but that would be a lie.  I love to complain.  So does Lee.  Lately we’ve been complaining about the weather, and more specifically, how the weather has impacted our lives this summer.  It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride, trying to make good crops, and trying to care for livestock.  We’ve had too much rain, too much heat, too much humidity, resulting in too much insect activity and too little time in the fields.

We’ve learned that there are numerous species of mosquitoes, and they’re all residing in the grass here.  It doesn’t matter what time of day we’re outside, there are mosquitoes biting.  The animals are suffering.  The hogs have super thick hide to protect them, and the sheep have thick wool except on their poor little faces and legs.  The horses are not so lucky and are covered with skeeters all day long.  Sprays aren’t working so I have to limit their time outside.  We have vaccinated them against West Nile virus.  Too bad there’s no vaccine for us!  The barn cats are all content to laze inside the barn 24 hours a day.

It rains and rains.  The weather man tells us this has been a record-setting summer for precipitation.  We knew that.

Farming has become more of a guessing game lately.  If Lee cuts a field of hay, will it get rained on?  Of course it will.

Is it any wonder that we look forward to a new page on the calendar?  August has to be better.  Right?

We’re highly anticipating a trip to Kentucky later in August.  We’ll be visiting family there, and we look forward to the change of scenery, the few days away from the farm, and the company of  folks we enjoy.

We’re fortunate to see an abundance of wildlife here.  We’ve been seeing deer every day, and the bucks are in velvet right now.  Recently I witnessed a turf war between 3 deer and a flock of wild turkeys.  They kept trying to chase each other away, and the deer eventually won.

Lately we’ve had Great Egrets swimming in the overflowing ditch, and they’ve been landing in a field across the road.  I got some pictures, but without a good zoom, the pictures aren’t the best.  We have a bumper crop of frogs, so I think that’s why they’re here.

Every year we have a turkey vulture family nesting in a rotten stump just on the edge of the horse pasture.  In the morning they sit in a tree or on a post and dry their wings.

The slide show is at the end of this post, and of course I had to include pictures of little Payten, who is gorgeous.  She was 4 months old on the 20th.

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