Sunday, July 31, 2016

Midsummer Pets

Bramble seems to have mellowed since Draco, his old buddy, died. He's certainly become more affectionate to me and suddenly, in his older years, seeks attention:

I found a big patch of wild Catnip growing by the barn and brought in an armful. I left big chunks of it downstairs by the dog food bin and upstairs by the cat trees. My cats enjoyed it but in their mature, quiet way. They are dignified, older citizens and not wild-eyed stoner cats:

Daphne, as you can see, is not ashamed to be seen with Fergus wearing his belly-band:

Clover, Fergus, Jack and Daphne on the ramp which leads into their fenced yard. It's a favorite resting place for them but there wasn't much shade on this day:

Seamus lay in the tall grass by the fence but he too missed out on getting any shade. I'm careful not to leave them outside very long when it's too hot or when there isn't much shade:

Seamus seemed to be wondering why Georgette is allowed on the table but he is not:

Comfortable summer afternoons while I'm out doing chores:

Daphne, Clover and Bramble sharing the wealth of doggie beds:

Daphne in the kitchen, probably wondering if I'm going to give her something to eat:

"Did I hear the words, 'Something to eat?' Move over, Daphne, and let a big boy do the begging:"

"Why does Dad take so long to climb up the stairs?"

Fergus and Seamus watched me as I worked around the barn:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Madawaska Pond - Part 3

The dogs and I turned back before reaching the dam because my ankles were becoming increasingly painful. It had been a wonderful walk through spectacular scenery and I didn't want it to end on an unhappy note:

We reached the overlook over Madawaska Pond again, always a beautiful sight:

The dogs went into the water once again and little Clover rolled in the sand to dry off:

As for Seamus, he just wanted to lie down and rest while I again dumped the sand and pine needles out of my shoes and braces:

But we were back on the trail in short order. At one point I heard what sounded like a Black Bear "chuffing." I called the dogs to heel and prepared to turn around. I made lots of noise so as not to surprise a bear, and either it worked or there never was one there in the first place because we continued on our way without incident:

And a lovely way it was:

We stopped by the water's edge one more time so the dogs could refresh themselves:

Jack fell in face first but it didn't seem to phase him one bit:

As for me, I found part of a beaver's jaw with one long incisor. I debated what other animal it might be but it seemed pretty darn obvious to me that it was a beaver:

One last look back over Madawaska Pond and all its flowering water lilies:

It was a wonderful hike, short and easy walking like I need them to be these days. I was happy:

The dogs were tired and went to sleep once we were on our way home. It was a good day to be a dog:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Madawaska Pond - Part 2

The dogs and I were hiking in to Madawaska Pond, a scenic gem in the Adirondacks, a short drive from home:

The forest was mostly towering White Pines, interspersed with sections of hardwoods:

And then we arrived at Madawaska Pond. The dogs ran down to the shore and waded in:

It was great fun and resulted in happy and refreshed dogs:

As I said, Madawaska Pond is a scenic Adirondack gem. Floating peat islands dotted the water and Fragrant Water Lilies bloomed like stars on a summer night:

But we had more walking to do, so I gave the dogs a call and we headed back onto the trail:

I stopped to photograph Fireweed in bloom. Fireweed is common in the Adirondacks and a beautiful member of the Evening Primrose Family:

And everywhere we went we saw natural beauty, heard bird songs and smelled pine and moss:

I stopped once again, this time to photograph Bunchberries, a member of the Dogwood Family. I was too late to see the flowers, as all the plants were already producing berries:

Jack and Seamus posed for a photo:

I began looking for a place to empty the sand and pine needles from inside my braces and shoes, and discovered this interesting little wildflower. I recognized it as a Pyrola but had to wait until I got home to look it up and learn that it was a Shinleaf Pyrola, a member of the Wintergreen Family:

My ankles were getting painful and I wasn't sure if I could get to the dam on Quebec Brook which created Madawaska Pond. I kept thinking it would be the next sunny area, just up ahead. But even though I must have been very close to it, I finally decided that it would be wiser for me to turn back toward the car. I'll post Part 3 tomorrow:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Madawaska Pond - Part 1

It was going to be a hot day and my hay field was going to be worked in the afternoon, so I left early for Madawaska Pond. It had been closed to the public for four years and only recently reopened. I was anxious to see it again. I drove south for 25 miles and then another six miles on dirt lanes through the forest to get to the parking area:

There was no one else anywhere, so I let the dogs run and they headed off down the trail. Of course moments later I was hollering at them to keep them closer to me:

Warblers and Thrushes and White-Throated Sparrows sang beautifully off in the trees:

The dogs sniffed everything while I busied myself slapping deer flies which landed on my head - hundreds of them died because they thought my bald head would be a perfect landing strip and diner:

I had been here only once before and that was four years ago. Even so, I opted to follow a side trail when I discovered one, just to see new scenery:

The dogs ran down this side trail with great enthusiasm and I, not knowing where it led, began ordering them once again to stay near me:

It led to a clearing with a gorgeous view of Madawaska Pond:

And everywhere there were Lowbush Blueberries, acres and acres of them. Alas, they weren't yet ripe:

We walked down toward the pond but turned back when I discovered that flat green expanse was under about a foot of water with mud beneath it:

So we headed back uphill, looking for another path back to the main trail:

I stopped to photograph the Sheep Laurel in bloom:

And we easily got back on the main trail. With the towering pines, the wildflowers the bird songs and the lovely aromas of evergreens and moss, I remembered why I had loved this place so much four years ago. But we were just getting started. I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

More Chickens, More Painting, More Hay, Our First Tornado

The nine remaining hens enjoyed their days of leisure, pecking and scratching around the yard:

The fantail pigeons have freedom too but seldom take advantage of it. But one day I got a call that the baby chicks were in at the Post Office. I'd made a brooder out of a plastic bin, a light bulb and reflector - so I turned it on and picked up my chicks. Their first few weeks will be spent in the pigeons' room:

 This time I ordered bantam (miniature) Easter Eggers, the chickens who lay blue and green eggs:

 They were cute little things and arrived thirsty, hungry and raring to go:

Like their eggs, their feathers come in all colors. One can't tell what color they will be from the chick color except that I felt sure the yellow chicks would be white adults:

 I had nine yellow, four chipmunk colored, three black and two slate gray chicks:

The local teen finished painting the trim on my barn and it made a big difference. Here, you can see that the right three windows and door are finished but the windows on the left are not:

The day after the chicks arrived was warm, so I opened the pigeons' window. But it soon began to rain off and on. I took a nap in the afternoon and awoke to find we were having a torrential downpour - sideways because the wind was so strong, and it was blowing the rain through the pigeons' window, across the room and onto the chicks' brooder. I ran out into the storm to close the window. Later, the wind and rain stopped and I captured this rainbow over the south field. I later learned that a tornado had passed through only a mile north of me, taking down trees and flattening part of a big corn field:

But our beautiful summer returned and things went back to normal. The chickens enjoyed basking in the sun:

 And searching for bugs beneath the apple trees:

At four days old, the baby chicks were already developing wing feathers and the yellow chicks' wing feathers were black. So now their final coloration is a mystery:

And as if things weren't busy enough, the neighbor showed up to hay my southernmost field. He'd just purchased a haybine and wanted to cut and bale my hay. He'll take half of it and help me get my half into the barn so I'll have it this winter. I'm already looking forward to winter as a time of rest: