Friday, July 31, 2015

A Busy Summer On The Farm

The fantail pigeons sure enjoy their two birdbaths. They make an awful mess, though, and I learned the hard way that I should move that red feeder before putting down the birdbaths:

Here's the real action. Besides the obvious splashing, notice the birds who attempt to roll onto their sides in the water:

And, when they'd had enough bathing, this is how they dried off their feathers:

A local lawn was filled with Wild Thyme's purple flowers:

And a closer view, this one with Black-Eyed Susans in the foreground:

I had a pair of House Sparrows (formerly called English Sparrows) living in my barn and a pair of these plainly marked sparrows, which I have been unable to identify. If you know what species this is, leave me a note in the comments (no marks on their breast). Both pairs of sparrows vacated the barn after their babies were on their own:

The chickens spend each day pecking and scratching:

And they sure do cover a lot of ground:

Their favorite spot is beneath the apple trees:

The pears are looking promising:

I bought four loads of hay to see me through the winter. I have more cattle than before and they are eating machines:

Hay is predicted to be in short supply this year, so I want to be prepared. I still hope to get some hay from my own fields to add to the supply:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fort de la Presentation - Part 3

The battle for Fort de la Presentation was about to begin, and I continued to have difficulty discerning which group was from which army. These men, judging by their costumes, were colonists, and they began the action:

Making war with muskets was a slow and tedious process, with much time needed to reload. The narrator said that a musket was good for about a dozen shots, after which the flash pan began getting fouled and needed cleaning:

The British soldiers marched in:

And, with the colonists, began firing at the French:

The French soldiers began marching, single file and accompanied by a drummer, toward the British:

The explosions of firing muskets shattered the formerly peaceful scene:

There were only a few Indians, but they too took part in the battle. My understanding is that there were Indians on both sides of the war, but these guys were fighting with the French:

It was a slow moving battle compared to modern warfare because of the time required to reload muskets:

Another group brought out a canon and it too began firing, adding to the noise:

Smoke filled the air:

And soldiers began dying:

The announcer quipped that this battle appeared to have ended in a tie, requiring another reenactment to be performed the following day. I had thoroughly enjoyed the color, the history and the action - but I decided to leave for home quickly, before there was a stampede of people and a traffic jam:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fort de la Presentation - Part 2

I was touring the battle encampment for the reenacting of the 1760 siege on Fort de la Presentation in Ogdensburg, New York. Back then, this was New France, and even most of the Mohawks had been converted to Roman Catholicism. The British, in their territories, had converted most of the native trobes to Protestantism, so religious fervor helped fuel the French and Indian War:

Period costumes, flags, lanterns and cooking utensils abounded:

I had wondered where the Indians were, but then I began to see some. If I was a reenactor, I'd want to be a Mohawk:

I don't now what side this woman was one, but I liked her costume and the earnestness with which she went about her business. If it hadn't been for the parked cars behind her, she could have been part of a scene from 1760:

French and British drummers began calling out the troops, and men began putting on their battle uniforms and moving toward the battlefield:

The ships docked out in the water still looked peaceful. This is an excellent view of the two rivers. The river heading off to the right is the Oswegatchie, and that's downtown Ogdensburg on the opposite shore. The mighty St. Lawrence is to the left, at right angles to the Oswegatchie, and that's Canada on its distant shore:

This Mohawk brave was called to attention by his wife because she could see I wanted to take his picture. She had him walk out from inside the tent so I could get a photo:

I walked all the way down to the end of Lighthouse Point to see the lighthouse, though it had nothing to do with the reenactment. It is private property now and it seems that a family lives there. I guessed that they still operate the lighthouse, though I don't know for sure. I've seen conflicting information on the internet:

Soldiers prepared their muskets for battle:

I stopped and talked to these French soldiers for some time, asking about uniform colors and the like. They were French speaking Canadian citizens who enjoyed these reenactments as much as everyone else:

This British officer collected the crowd and began explaining the French and Indian War, but especially the battles surrounding Fort de la Presentation. As the crowd grew, someone brought him a microphone and, after that, he was able to narrate the action:

I hadn't seen it before, but there was an Osprey nest nearly over our heads. I was too late to get a picture of an Osprey parent, but I worried about them after the battle began, with its smoke and explosions. I did see one bird flying around the nest during the battle, but I never saw it land. The reenactment was about to begin, and I'll post about that tomorrow:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fort de la Presentation - Part 1

I drove to Ogdensburg, New York one Saturday to witness the reenactment of a 1760 battle at Fort de la Presentation, on the shore of the St. Lawrence River. The troops had set up camp, and I walked slowly through the tents, taking pictures. These soldiers, judging by their flags, were British:

There were Union Jacks everywhere, and some of the reenactors brought items to sell in between war reenactments:

I asked several people to help me understand which color uniform was from which army and they tried to be helpful, yet I remained confused:

Most of the camps were British (or in this case Scottish), which I at first thought was just a matter of popularity, but I later learned that the British outnumbered the French soldiers by 10,000 to 300. You'll find a quick history of the fort and the war by clicking here:

Fort de la Presentation was located at the confluence of the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence Rivers, so nearly everything was on the shore:

I continued to walk among the encampments, enjoying the feeling of going back in time while remaining safe and comfortable:

Soldiers chatted beneath tarps and cooked on open fires:

There had been a battle on the waters of the Oswegatchie earlier in the day and when I saw the historical boats, I wished I'd been there to have seen it:

A bigger sailing ship was anchored offshore:

I continued through the encampment. This flag was a mystery to me. I've searched the internet and been unable to find out if it was British or French:

And then crossed over to a smaller encampment which, it seemed, was made up of colonists:

The colonists had more basic accommodations. There was still a lot more to see, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summertime Red Poll Girls (And One Boy)

This is Gracie. Her calf, Gladys, is doing fine and has begun eating grain already:

An afternoon snooze, surrounded by buttercups:

The herd has surely grown. There only used to be five of them, but now there are ten:

Merlin, Jasmine's little bull calf, at three days old:

The cattle seem to enjoy the north field and get friendlier when they are there, often standing by the fence to watch for cars. But that field is now off limits so it can grow hay for cutting:

The girls, greeting passersby:

Life is good in the summertime:

Violet and her calf, Annie, with the still pregnant Jasmine behind them:

Gathered by the stock tank for a cool drink after having a bit of grain:

Gladys and Loretta at play:

Annie, already seemingly half her mother's size, nursing. That's Jasmine beside them:

I saved this picture for last. That's Rosella eating her grain. She obviously had been standing or sleeping too close to the back end of one of the big cows. Needless to say, I didn't pet her for a week or so: