It’s been a long and difficult summer. We did have some high spots, but also several lows.
One of the highs was the unexpected birth of our little kitten Henry. He’s been so much fun to watch and play with. The kids love going to the barn to play with him. He’s a barn kitty, but tame and not afraid of anyone. I plan to get him neutered when he’s old enough.
My daughter Kay, and granddaughter Regan were here for a week. They hadn’t been back to Wisconsin (they live in CT) for 4 years so it was great to have them. Our visit was a good one. Their trip was not so good as Kay’s suitcase was lost and never found. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures! I have no idea why I didn’t.
The summer has been long and hot, and humid. We’re now into mid September, and still dealing with temps in the 80’s. That’s not normal for Wisconsin. On August 28 Our area of the state was hit by a crazy storm system. When all was said and done, the weather folks counted 19 tornados in this area. One of them hit our farm and we lost lots of trees. An ancient black walnut, and an equally ancient giant maple tree. Several pine trees that we planted 30 years ago. Too many trees to count. The property looks so changed and because it’s been so hot, we sure miss the shade.
Oh my gosh, the mosquitoes! I’ve never seen them so thick. They rise up in heavy clouds with each step across the yard. The bites are numerous and itchy. We’ve found that the only relief is a 40% DEET spray. The regular 25% spray does nothing. We’re waiting for some cold weather to kill off all the nasty bugs.
Our old mini horse stallion died in July. He was nearly 31 years old and had lived here for 25 of those years. He choked and although we (with the vet) worked on him for over 2 hours we just couldn’t resolve it. He was also suffering congestive heart failure and our efforts to break up the choke just became to hard for him. We made the decision to euthanize him. It was a very hard day. Our vet was amazing. Artie was loved by all who knew him
Thursday we split up. One group went to Pearl Harbor and associated tours and exhibits. They walked many a mile and came home tired, sore, but well educated. They all said they learned many things about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the war, that they hadn’t known before. I couldn’t do the walking so Kay and I set out with no real destination in mind.
Our first stop was He’eia State Park. There were trails and picture taking vantage points, a nice little gift shop, and many examples of local flora and fauna. There really wasn’t much in the way of fauna, to be honest. Wild chickens, cats, chameleons and birds. On the other hand, there were many and varied trees and bushes and plants.
We got back in the car and found the Beach where we’ll be having our pot luck with family. White sand, restrooms, and a pavilion. It’s going to be perfect. We vegged there for a while, enjoying the beautiful breeze and people watching.
Our final stop was KailuaTown for a bit of shopping.
Today the kids have gone to the Farm Fair, which is an annual ag fair.
The following photos were taken at the He’eia State Park.
A beautiful hen and her chick.
Shirley and I made our annual trek to Las Vegas. Fun and relaxation were had by all. Our only disappointment was that the Donny and Marie show was cancelled and we had been looking forward to it. We did go to Blue Man Group and that was a fun and very loud show. We had good seats, and we enjoyed the show. Weather was a bit chilly on the first couple of days but it made for very comfortable walking. We had some excellent meals, including the Cravings buffet at the Mirage. We visited the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. It’s an aquarium. We got free tickets through the MLife Players Club rewards game , My Vegas.
I have an album of photos from our trip on Facebook. Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200307594110975.1073741826.1187642981&type=1&l=44bed9c791
Weather has been the topic of conversation all month. Wet and cold! I don’t know when the fields will be dried out enough to begin spring field work.
Lambing began mid month, and there are still 2 ewes left to lamb.Again this year there are triplets and twins. We had one poor ewe who had toxemia and lost her twins, but Lee was able to save the ewe. It seems like lambing season is never trouble free. I’m not sure how many lambs there are, but I’m guessing 22. Mostly boys! The little guy in the picture was born with the huge black spot on his hip. It will fade with time.
Collin is back on American soil, back from Afghanistan. It’s a huge relief. We’ll see him in July, along with the rest of the family, when we go to OKC for a wedding.
The horses are shedding! They’re itchy and need to be bathed and brushed, but it’s too cold.
I’m enjoying the return of the migratory birds. I’ll bet the birds aren’t all that happy to be back. Kildeer are nesting on the cold ground. Robins are finding worms now but I wonder what they ate while the ground was still frozen. The barn swallows are here, but we don’t have any bugs yet!
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!
Every morning I sit at my computer desk, drinking coffee and emailing my friends. I face a large window with a view to the back of our farm. Just a few weeks ago the view was brown. None of the fields was planted, the trees had no leaves. Now I’m looking at a bright green field of oats, and beyond the oats are fields that have been planted with soybeans and corn. The corn is up and showing its rows. I can’t see the soybean plants yet. It’s a good feeling to have all the seeds in the ground. Spring planting is a stressful time on the farm and we’re always glad when it’s finished, and with no drama.
That old cottonwood tree in the picture has become a part of my daily life. It’s just always there, constantly changing. There are two red tailed hawks that sit in that tree every day, looking over their domain and swooping down to catch rodents and small birds. They like to perch in the dead branches.
Wild turkeys pass through daily, going from their roosts in the woods to their favorite feeding areas. There’s a huge Tom who spreads his tail and dances whenever he sees another turkey.
The other day I saw four deer, and they were playing. They reminded me of young horses, the way they were chasing back and forth. It was fun to watch.
Wish I had a better camera with a good zoom so I could take pictures of the wildlife here. Someday.
photo credit Richard Demier
Last Wednesday I saw a sandhill crane family in the field behind my house. There were 2 adults, and 2 chicks. The chicks seemed bigger than they should be, and weren’t the round, fuzzy, fluff balls that I expected. They still have their yellow brown baby color and are very small. Sandhills usually lay 2 eggs, and it seems like one of them is dispensable. Either they lose the egg before it hatches, or they hatch both chicks, but one dies or is lost to predators. Last year I had a similar sighting, a family with 2 chicks. They lost one of the chicks at some point, and only raised one. We saw the family of 3 all summer and fall, until they migrated. I’m pretty sure the 3 cranes I saw in the early spring this year were the same family. I hope the little family of 4 stays intact, but I know that’s a big expectation and not likely to happen. Lee’s been planting soybeans in their favorite field, so I haven’t seen them for a couple of days.
Update on July 5: Both baby cranes are alive and well. They’re nearly as tall as their parents, have all of their feathers instead of fluffy down, and they look great.