December 14, 2015 Farm News

The usual garden view on a pleasant Monday morning December 14. Unchanged since last week.

The usual garden view on a pleasant Monday morning December 14. Unchanged since last week.

The unusually fine weather continues though somewhat less fine now that it has turned a little damp.  Still we have no complaints.  We have not noticed any signs of any plants breaking dormancy, that is any plants that are starting to think that this is spring.  That would not be good.  If a tree started blossom or to leaf out it would be vey hard on the tree if the temperature dropped and the flowers and leaves were killed off by the cold.  The tree would likely survive and new flower and leaf buds would form but his would put a lot of stress on the tree and make it less able to cope with subsequent stresses from weather, insects and diseases.

The duck hut, a work in slow progress.

The duck hut, a work in slow progress.

The construction projects to build a new duck hut and a new hen house continue, albeit a trifle slower than we would like.  The ducks new house is agonizingly close to completion.  We also need to construct a fenced outdoor enclosure for them to turn into a muddy mess.  They are ducks after all.  Their new quarters is intended to be readily moved though using the truck or the horses for the move will likely be required as the thing is going to be quite heavy.

Leucan. Just waiting to get into some mischief.

Leucan. Just waiting to get into some mischief.

The livestock is all doing well and this warm weather is quite beneficial to them.  It is a lot harder to keep cows and horses in really good condition when the weather turns very cold and the snow accumulates and the wind blows.  None of that so far.

A Marans rooster I think, doing his rooster thing.

A Marans rooster I think, doing his rooster thing.

Our farm dog McKenna who hangs around when we are in the garden working has been unwell of late and a Veterinarian’s examination has determined that she has cancer of the spleen.  The prognosis is not good. She will stay here, no practical treatment is available, and we’ll just make her comfortable with painkillers and pay close attention to her diet and try some things that are said to be of use in slowing or even stopping the cancer, though none of these fixes claim to get rid of the cancer.  McKenna is not eating near as much as she should sometimes and has lost weight.  We’ll do our best for her.

031036We are now pretty sure that we have observed ravens here.  The Cornell university e-bird Alert has noted several times that Ravens have been spotted in Brant County, all of them on the northerly bounds I think.  Aerron and I spotted what we thought might be ravens last summer  but were unsure.  Just two weeks ago I spotted flying over the garden area 5 or 6 crows clamouring away as they chased what appeared to be at a glance , two other crows.  Except that the two other crows were twice the size of their attackers.  I took this a s proof positive that the two pursued were actually ravens.  I tried to see the larger bill and the different tail but the distance and their quick flight made that impossible.  The size difference alone should be enough.

This is a crow on sentinel duty in the poplar tree. A raven has a noticeably more massive heard and bill and a wedge tail not rounded and twice or so the size.

This is a crow on sentinel duty in the poplar tree. A raven has a noticeably more massive head and bill and a wedge tail not rounded and twice or so the size.

How things have changed in the past 50 years or so.  As a child here in the 50’s and 60’s we did not see ducks or Canada geese, no turkeys, ravens, coyote, beaver, opossum or otter, and few deer.  They are now all here, most in abundance.  We would see foxes, lots of ground hog (the eastern Marmot),  grey partridge, grouse and ringed neck pheasant.  These are very seldom seen anymore.  It has been more than 4 years now since I have observed a grey partridge and much longer for the pheasant and decades for the grouse. The marmots live on in tiny numbers here and there and usually the only evidence for them is the hole in the ground and a mound of fresh earth. Cannot remember how long since hearing a marmots warning whistle.

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One Response to December 14, 2015 Farm News

  1. Robert Feagan says:

    Maybe the old dog could use some organic herb — the one with many leaves and special ingredients

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