Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spring In The North Country

It was a long, cold, snowy winter and spring came about a month late to the north country. But it arrived suddenly, explosively. These pink buds appeared one day:

And turned into old fashioned Bleeding Hearts the next day:

The lawn (and I use the term loosely) was suddenly filled with Violets:

My little rooster pecked around the Daffodils:

The Shadbush trees bloomed along the edges of the north field:

I began hauling more brush out to the brush/lumber pile in the woods and discovered that some animal had stripped the bark off of all the branches in the top half of the pile. Mice? Deer? Porcupine? All of the above? I'll probably never know:

Dandelions, simultaneously the most beautiful and most pesky of flowers, bloomed everywhere. Notice the little orange beetle on the flower to the right:

I left 18 eggs for my broody hen to try raising chicks. I had to mark them so I could remove any new eggs which other hens laid in the nest. I continued to remove the newer eggs and refrigerate them for feeding to the dogs later:

The cherry tree bloomed, but not prolifically. There won't be a bumper crop this year like there was last year:

The pear tree, however, bloomed enthusiastically:

The apple blossoms budded, but hadn't yet opened when I took these photos:

The flowering crabs, likewise, were only buds on the day I took these photos. Spring indeed arrived here with all its splendor, however belatedly:

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Walk In A Boreal Forest

I'd worn my new ankle braces for about a week when I decided to try a short hike. Besides, the weather was lovely and the dogs were anxious to get outdoors and run. So I drove to Blue Mountain Road in the Santa Clara Easement of the northern Adirondacks, parked and let the pooches out:

I chose the trail to Madawaska Pond, knowing full well that private landowners had posted the last segment of the trail against trespassing. I only wanted a pleasant, easy walk through the Boreal Forest with my dogs and to test out the new braces:

Daphne was a happy dog and seldom stopped to rest:

And the scenery was spectacular. The black flies had begun but weren't biting (much) yet. They were swarming and pesky, but not painful. They ruined many of my photos by swarming in front of the camera or landing on its lens:

The air was perfumed with sweet Balsam and Pine. Ravens croaked and White Throated Sparrows sang from the trees:

Fergus and Seamus had both been sheared the previous day and Fergus seemed embarrassed by his new haircut. I didn't tell him so, but he really did look kind of silly:

The forest on either side of the trail was dense and almost impenetrable, so we stayed on the road:

We crossed over a roaring brook:

It was only a short trail and I didn't even walk to the end of it. I just walked until my legs began to feel a bit tired and the black flies had exasperated me. Then I turned around and called the dogs back toward the car:

Seamus' new haircut:

The "Silly Sisters," Daphne and Clover, hung together as they explored the mossy sides of the trail:

We hadn't gone far, so we were back at our parked car in a jiffy. It had been just right. I got to try out my new braces, the dogs had gotten to run, and we'd all enjoyed an afternoon in the Boreal Forest:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Photo Update From Around The Farm

Spring came to the north country 3 or 4 weeks late this year, but it did arrive. I began letting the chickens out to forage and the cows began eating green, growing grass instead of hay:

I found these bones in the cattle yard just outside the barn after the snow melted and was concerned about how they got there. It seemed to me that only a predator such as a coyote or dog could have moved them this close to the barn. But I guess it's a mystery I'll never solve. Perhaps it's better that way:

These bones, found in the ditch along the road, I knew the source of. There was a cottontail rabbit dead in the snow there during the winter, perhaps hit by a car. I thought the body had disappeared, but apparently it had merely been covered by more snow (we sure had lots of it), leaving a skeleton to be found by me in the spring:

I found this Robin's egg at the edge of the pasture while working the fence line:

Inside the barn, the pigeons were looking better each day. I need to work on their enclosure and give them some starter nests - but haven't done so yet:

I moved the cows to the north field. I brought them back to the south field each evening and to the north field each morning, at least for a few days. Then, during one move between fields, they broke away and ran up and down the road, around the house and all across the lawn, kicking up their heels and having a grand time. It would have been cute if not for the danger of traffic. When they finally returned to the north field of their own accord, I decided they'd have to just stay there until they'd eaten down the grass. And then I'd move them back to the south field:

I began carrying bowls of grain out to the cows each day, my attempt to keep them tame. Call it buying friendship if you like. The chickens quickly learned that cows are sloppy eaters and there would be lots of grain scattered all over the ground. So whenever I'd begin ringing the cowbell to bring in the cows, the chickens would come running too:

I believe that three cows are pregnant, but so far there are no signs that calving is close:

Little old PeeWee had a stroke early one Saturday morning. His seizures lasted about 45 minutes and then he calmed down but appeared paralyzed. I rushed him to the vet:

By the time he arrived at the vet's, it appeared that PeeWee was about to die:

But then he began to respond and the vet thought he could save him. So PeeWee spent 2 days at the vet's:

When he came home, the other dogs greeted him with great joy. PeeWee was still weak and wobbly, but clearly glad to be home:

And speaking of medical issues, my ankles became so bad that I had to have orthopedic braces made. I'm learning to use them now and hopeful that I'll soon be able to take longer, more difficult hikes like I used to do:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Catherineville State Forest - Part 2

We were about midway on our hike in the Catherineville State Forest and it was a fine spring day - warm, but the black flies were not biting yet:

I decided it was time to turn back toward the car, and the dogs were just as happy about that as they were to start out at the beginning of the hike:

We walked through a forest of great beauty. The leaves were not yet out on the hardwood trees, our spring being so very late this year. But I knew it wouldn't be long:

I was lamenting the lack of Trout Lilies until I saw several of them clustered on a sunny slope. I walked over for a photo. In another week or so, the forest floor would be carpeted in yellow blossoms:

We retraced our steps. I bypassed the wet spots by detouring into the forest, but the dogs seemed to delight in getting wet and muddy:

C'mon, Dad. Can't you walk any faster?:

We ambled along the trail, not in any hurry, beneath the trees and through the dappled sunlight:

This photo caught the water splashing as Seamus trotted through:

Seamus was beginning to look like a giant black sheep in need of shearing. I decided to see about an appointment with the groomer as soon as possible:

And it wasn't long before we spotted our little red car parked in the forest. It had been a pleasant hike, the last one I'd have before getting ankle braces. The doctor assured me that I'd soon be hiking better than ever, but - well, we'll see:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Catherineville State Forest - Part 1

It was Sunday, the day before I was to get my ankle braces and the warmest, loveliest day so far this spring. I decided to drive back to Santamont Road and check out the Catherineville State Forest. I noticed that the sign had an "S" in Catherineville and checked the internet when I got home. Most sources omitted the "S:"

I parked the car and let the dogs out, then quickly returned to leave my jacket in the car. It was warmer than I'd expected:

I stopped to investigate an abundance of cones on the ground and decided that these were from the many Black Spruce which were growing all around me:

It was a fine day for a romp in the forest and the dogs were excited to be outdoors:

There were lots of wet spots and I attempted to keep the dogs from drinking out of them, though I let them play and splash to their hearts' content:

These tiny beauties were, I believe, Northern White Violets:

The dogs and I continued on our way down the trail. I kept calling the pooches back when they got too far ahead of me:

I believe that this trail was once a woods road, perhaps to someone's camp or a logging operation. These days, it's a fine way to see the forest and smooth enough for someone like me with bad ankles:

There weren't many flowers in bloom of any kind yet, but I knew that these Spring Beauties would be among the first. Our spring is 3 to 4 weeks later than normal this year. In another week or two, the forest floor would be carpeted with beauty:

Fergus looked like a little lamb in the woods. I decided that it's time for both Fergus and Seamus to get haircuts. But we had more to see on this unmarked trail, so I'll post Part 2 tomorrow: