Greetings from the Farm

A pipevine swallowtail shows off its colors on our prairie. I love the background panel of bluish-turquoise.

Greetings from the farm my friends. This is our busiest time of the year as Joyce and I battle invasive plants in the fields which are otherwise popping with wonderful and beneficial forbs such as milkweed, coneflowers, wild bergamot and many others. Each morning for the past couple of weeks we have been spot spraying for Sericea lespedeza, which we have almost eradicated over the last several years. Okay, “eradicated” might be a bit much but boy have we knocked the pesky stuff back. The work is sweaty and difficult, but not without reward as we look across our healthy fields, filled with pollinators. It also stings a little when we have to buy another 2.5 gallon container of PastureGuard for $316!

All of the farm work aside, I still get out and photograph as much as possible. In this edition I’ve included some of the critters and scenes I’ve captured this summer. Most of you have seen these on my public Facebook page (also Nature Frames) but I know some of you don’t visit Facebook so here you go.

Joyce and I are excited to have a pair of gray foxes off the corner of our yard in the woods. I’m sure they have kits somewhere down in the holler but I haven’t seen them yet. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen the adults either but Joyce has seen them several times and has a ton of photographs of them on her iPhone. They always know when I am gone so they can come up in the yard to visit Joyce during her morning coffee.

I even set up a pop-up blind for the foxes but was shut out three days in a row. When I finally took a day off and went somewhere else, Joyce texted me to say they were playing right in front of the blind! Oh well, maybe I’ll get them eventually or maybe I’ll never see them. You never know with foxes. Sometimes they just disappear.

I’ve been keeping a field that is popular with the turkeys mowed just in case a hen comes out with her poults. Otherwise, the grass is so tall I would never be able to see the little ones. I haven’t had any luck yet but I’m not going to give up. She will show up for sure come acorn time as there is a nice pin oak in the field but by that time the poults might be as big as the mama. I’ll probably catch them at the pond if some dry weather sets in. Mama turkeys always bring their poults to the pond to water in the summer. If it becomes too dry, I stay away from the pond altogether so I won’t disturb the poults from getting some water. I would hate to be the cause of them going to the roost thirsty!

A pipevine swallowtail caterpillar in our south field.

 

A pair of cottontails feeling a little randy earlier in the summer. We have more cottontails than ever around the farm. Most of them are so tame they don’t even bother to move away when approached.

A view of St. Mary’s church from our deck at sunrise. The church is situated on the ridge across the Bourbuese River valley.

Morning coffee from our deck is always spiritual.

A wood nymph in a clump of partridge pea.

A brown thrasher with a messy bill in our mulberry tree.

A hummingbird clearwing in our prairie.

A mockingbird on one of its favorite perches, our old cistern.

As of this morning, I’m officially finished with spot spraying so I can focus more attention on my photography. I’ll try to get out next week to find some otter pups along some of the rivers, one of my favorite summer challenges. I’ll continue to keep an eye out for those gray foxes. If I ever get a pic, I bet it’ll only be an hour or so before it shows up here.

Happy Naturing,

DB

P.S.  I hope some of you had a chance to read my feature story on snipe and snipe hunting in the July edition of “Missouri Conservationist.” It was a fun project, thanks to Lynn Schrader, Dave Mayers, and Java the Goggled Wonderdog.

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.

 

 

 

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