Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Around The Farm, A June Wrap-Up

June was a busy month, and one in which I never got completely caught up with all that I'd hoped to do. But on the plus side, we got enough rain to end the drought which the month of May had brought. My Rugosa Roses blossomed profusely, sending their aroma all around the yard and attracting bees:

The gravel driveway burst into bloom of another kind - with these aromatic plants, which I last year called Chamomile. A closer search of my field guide this year told me that they are really Pineapple Weed because their crushed leaves smell like pineapple. They are indeed a Chamomile, but rayless (without the white rays, often incorrectly called "petals"):

My happy hens pecked and scratched all over the yard, but were especially fond of the area near the Mock Orange and old fashioned rose bushes:

I let the dogs out one morning, only to run back into the house for my camera, so I could snap a photo of the rosy dawn in the eastern sky, with the Rugosa roses blooming at the bottom of the picture:

I spent several days mowing with the Bush Hog:

I mowed a swath around the outside of the north field's fence line and then, happy with the results, mowed a swath around the inside. This was to keep weeds from growing up and shorting out the electric fence:

Then I began mowing the entire area of the most southern field, thinking it would discourage the broadleaf weeds which the cows won't eat and encourage the grasses which they do eat:

It seemed to be a good system but I worried about ground nesting birds. I'd almost convinced myself that because the Bush Hog cuts so high, it wouldn't hurt the birds. But then I saw this baby, still unable to fly, hopping and running away from the big, loud tractor. I stopped, put the baby back where it seemed to have begun, then put away the tractor and Brush Hog until at least July 4th, by which time all the nestlings should be flying. I think the baby was a Savannah Sparrow:

I backed the Brush Hog into the barn and unhooked it, this time with a reinforced furniture dolly beneath its front end so hooking it back up in the future will be easier:

I caught this little hen (lower left) eating rose petals and wondered if that would ensure the highest quality, gourmet eggs:

With the lovely June weather, I opened up the windows for the fantail pigeons almost every day:

And I spotted this butterfly while cutting brush with a chainsaw alongside the fence. I sent the photo and other information to Butterflies And Moths Of North America and they identified it as Polygonia interrogationis, which has the odd common name of "Question Mark." The species ID page is at http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Polygonia-interrogationis if you'd like to read more:

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Colton, New York Museum - Part 2

I was touring the Colton, New York Museum (see part 1, yesterday) and enjoying the old time articles from local lives and families:

I passed the side door, where the historian was relaxing, enjoying the view of the Raquette River:

I went upstairs, where there were many old dresses from bygone eras:

A women's hat:

Glass bottles for holding shampoo and toilet water:

A baby doll in excellent shape:

A doll in a wicker carriage:

This doll was not so old and, as often happens in local museums, I realized that I have reached an age where some of their "artifacts" are from the era of my own childhood or, as in this case, even after my childhood:

Another doll in a rocking horse. I sure do remember when these rocking horses were everywhere:

Little girls loved their dolls and often kept them throughout their lives. Eventually they wind up in a museum:

A wedding dress, another beloved memento kept for many years and now a museum piece. There was a note which dated this dress to the early 1930s:

There was a very large upstairs room entirely devoted to a man's collection of art and artifacts from all around the world. The lighting and the glass cases prevented me from taking any photos, but I did learn that the man who collected all this purchased the house for use as a museum so his treasures could be preserved and displayed. I remembered in my childhood when collecting artifacts from around the world was popular. It seems now that we've begun to long for our own roots, and people are anxious to see artifacts from local history. I guess we've reached the point where such things seem as exotic as those from Asia or Africa once seemed. But this was my last stop in the museum. I thanked the historian and went on my way:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Colton, New York Museum - Part 1

The little Adirondack town of Colton, New York sits on the scenic banks of the Raquette River and I drove there one sunny Saturday to see the town museum:

The museum was located in an old house, which was once the parsonage for the Episcopal church which is still right next door. I learned that this house once also served as a temporary school after the main school had a fire. Now it is the town museum:

I signed in, got a bit of local lore from the historian and began my tour in a room devoted to the Colton Fire Department's 100th anniversary. I was most taken, however, by this church pump organ:

And sitting atop the organ was this bit of calendar kitsch from the year 1915, exactly 100 years ago:

I walked slowly around the museum, snapping pictures where I could. It was difficult because the rooms were dark (an old fashioned fuse had blown that morning) and the bright sun was streaming through the windows. Our eyes know how to handle that but cameras have a lot of trouble. I was enthralled by this old kitchen. It seemed to have popped right out of my childhood:

A coffee grinder from Cook's store in Colton, 1923:

An old radio:

An old style telephone. Even I am not old enough to remember these being used:

I was surprised when I saw the bathroom, looking much as it did 50 years ago:

An entire back room was devoted to Adirondack and Raquette River tools, occupations and lore:

This was a frontier town not too long ago and the exhibits in this room illustrated the town's pride in that heritage. There were stuffed animals, birch trees, campfire setups and all manner of Adirondack memorabilia:

And of course snowshoes and mounted fish, both reminders of winters in the forests and fishing on the Raquette River. But there was still more to see, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Farm Update

The farm is beautiful this time of year, and I sometimes think that my mother would have loved it here, with its old fashioned perennials and friendly animals. The Siberian Iris began blooming in June:

And the Lamium produced pink blossoms:

Though sparse in my fields, the Ragged Robin flowers turned some neighboring fields an amazing shade of purple:

A neighboring dairy farmer gave me some sunflower seedlings which have reseeding themselves outside his barn for years. I transplanted them and have been keeping them watered:

The Mock Orange bloomed in June:

And the old fashioned rose was suddenly covered with buds. This is the plant from which I started a cutting in front of the house. The new plant is only about 6" high now, but it survived that awful winter we just had:

And the white Peonies bloomed in June. This one patch of them had a yellow Day Lily in it:

And looking out my bathroom window, this is the view to the northeast:

And the view to the southeast:

The Blue-Eyed Grass began blooming everywhere, growing about 8" tall where it's not mowed, but happy to grow and bloom in the lawn also:

I let the chickens out every morning so they can scratch and peck. This morning, they clustered near the barn, where the sleeping cattle could be seen in the background:

The Mock Orange and the old fashioned rose, side by side:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Red Poll Cattle Photo Album

The cattle have been especially pretty this spring, and I've been snapping lots of photos. Here's a few of my favorites, beginning with Jasmine. Her belly is huge and she's due to calve soon, but her udder still shows no development whatsoever:

Rosella is a very big girl now and still growing. I need to put a bigger collar on her and keep trying to do so while she's eating grain. So far, she hasn't allowed me to get it done. She backs away whenever I try:

The three calves: Loretta, Gladys and Annie:

Gladys and Annie:

Jasmine again, showing her wide, wide belly:

Sleeping as a group:

Taking it easy. The big girl, sprawled out there, is Jasmine. You can see that her belly is full but her udder is not:

Annie and Gladys were playing on the manure/bedding pile. They'd climb to the top and then jump off, running and having a grand time. Loretta was still too young to join them, but she will be enjoying such games before long:

Gladys climbed up what was left of last year's pile. When she saw me photographing her, she bounded down and across the field, kicking up her heels just for fun:

Scarlett has weaned her last calf, Rosella, and been re-bred. She's due again at the end of the summer:

Loretta can run like a deer - and often does. Catching her to put tattoos and an ear tag in her ears has not been easy. In fact, I haven't yet been able to do it:

"Catch me, huh? Not a chance, human!"