Monday, June 26, 2017

Catherineville State Forest - Part 1

Our hot, humid weather suddenly ended and we had a cool, sunny, breezy day. It was just right for a day in the woods, so I took the dogs to the Catherineville State Forest, just 8 miles from home:

There were lots of Wild Blackberries in bloom. Pretty soon there will be ripe berries along the sunny parts of the trail:

I pulled into the forest, far from the road. That gave us a head start and hid my car from passersby. We strayed from the trail soon, though, as the open forest was so inviting:

The dogs ran and played while I searched for wildflowers in bloom and took note of the tree species in evidence:

Back on the trail, I was thinking that I could have driven in much farther. We soon came to a tree fallen across the road so I decided it was a good thing I parked where I did:

Jack was running full speed and in big circles. He's a happy little dog:

As usual, all the dogs were a bit wild at first. I told myself I'd let them run and not yell at them, but it wasn't long before I had to start hollering for them to stop and come back. It seems they think the object is for them to run as far as possible, until I call them back, and then they run full speed back to me. They do, however, take time to sniff and pee on everything:

It was a beautiful forest and an easy trail, a near perfect day:

The forest alternated between deep, dark woods and bright, open spaces. There were also many forest types, clustered together in small groups. There were Hemlock, Spruce, Fir, mixed hardwood and Maple/Beech sections:

Seamus was our lookout. After all, he was the only dog tall enough to see over the weeds:

I saw the first Daisies of the summer on that trail - in the sunny spots, of course:

The dogs began to slow down, allowing me to relax more and enjoy the forest beauty. But we had farther to go, and I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Glorious June!

When our daytime temperatures slipped into the 80s, it was time to put the air conditioner into my bedroom window:

 But first I had to move the house plants to the guest bedroom. They live there every summer and seem to like it just fine:

 Apparently all the yellow Iris died over the winter, but the purple Iris outdid themselves. This was the last rush of flowers, as seen from my kitchen window:

 Just about the time the Iris stopped blooming, the Rugosa Roses started:

 Two days later, the Mock Orange flowers began opening:

 And that same day, Swallowtail Butterflies were drawn to the Mock Orange. Oddly, I can't smell any fragrance from them, but apparently the butterflies can:

 The bush was alive with Swallowtails:

 And with gorgeous flowers:

 They are so spectacular that I felt I had to take another photo. Several years ago, when I was renting the house, the tenants chopped this bush to the ground (they just thought it was a weed). I told them to let it grow back and it sure did. As with the Spirea, I think the severe pruning helped instead of hindered:


 More Rugosa Rose photos. I may not be able to smell the Mock Orange, but these roses perfumed the whole area around the house:

 Even when I stood on the porch, my view was bordered by Rugosa Roses:

And just so this post isn't entirely about plants, I also nailed up two bird houses which someone at church was selling as part of a fund raiser. I'm not sure the birds will be interested because they have so many other nesting sites, but the birdhouses look good there anyway:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Shifts Into High Gear

The little hens seem happy enough in their room inside the barn. They'd like to go outdoors, but only because they don't realize the danger from foxes:

 The fantail pigeons are doing well but their room developed a mouse problem. I set bait trays underneath little baskets. The mice can get in, but the pigeons can't:

 The Bush Cherries are developing underneath the bird mesh. So far, it seems to be keeping the birds out:

 We had a beautiful, orange full moon but it was setting by the time I got my camera out. I took four photos in rapid succession and the rapidly setting moon was lower in each successive picture:

 Birds-Eye Speedwell is blooming all along the fence line in the south field:

 I had to drive the tractor along the fence line, searching for shorts in the electric fence. The big payoff was the stunning beauty in the far southern field, such as this tableau of Buttercups and Ragged Robin in bloom:

 And this miniature wildflower. It baffled me, but I finally decided that it was probably just a small version of Northern Bedstraw:

 And while I was in the far southern field, I stopped at the stone wall which separates the fields and looked back toward the house and barn:

 Closer to the barn, I found these Blue-Eyed Grass flowers. Most years they are quite common so I suspect I'll soon be seeing lots of them. This was the first wildflower my mother taught us to find in our childhood field guide and I still remember it well:

 The Rugosa Roses began blooming in June:

 Alas, a yearly chore is spraying weed killer along the fence lines to prevent the weeds and grasses from growing up and shorting out the fence. I have a 40 gallon sprayer, powered by the tractor, to perform this job. I also have to bush hog along the outside perimeter of the fence every year, but I haven't done that yet:

 One big problem is the proliferation of Thistle plants. They grow - well, like weeds - and are inedible and nightmarish to get rid of. A dose of weed killer, however, turned them into this within 24 hours:

Friday, June 23, 2017

State Fish Hatchery In Chateaugay, NY-Part 2

I had just walked around the outdoor ponds at the hatchery (see yesterday's post) and was heading back to the buildings when I saw the "Display Pond," with what I guessed to be the boss's house up on the hill:

The pond was small but deep, and filled with giant Rainbow Trout, some of them at least 3 feet long. Sadly, none of the photos I took of them were use usable:

Then I walked farther, over to some giant blue tanks which were also filled with large trout. I particularly liked the yellow albino fish:

These were Rainbow Trout and very large, at least 2 feet long:

I tried to get a closeup of the albinos, but this was the best I could do:

Then I went inside, where the fish are hatched and begin their lives. A handsome and personable young fisheries man showed me around:


He explained that these indoor tanks were where the hatchlings begin their lives before being moved outdoors:

And these drawers were for hatching the eggs:

He took me back outside and explained that the yellow albinos I liked so much were Lake Trout:

Most of the other big fish were Rainbow Trout. He was very helpful and we talked for awhile. Then I thanked him and headed for home:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

State Fish Hatchery In Chateaugay, NY - Part 1

It had been raining off and on all morning, so I used that as an excuse to travel to the village of Chateaugay, about a 50 minute drive, to visit the State Trout Hatchery:

I began by walking around the outdoor pools. These tanks, the closest to the office building, were for those smallest fish which had hatched indoors but were being moved outside for the first time:

From there I saw many concrete pools, all with fresh running water and automatic feeders:

I didn't find out if the wires were to hold tarps when it rained or to discourage predators - maybe both:

There were huge numbers of baby trout:

They were small, about finger length, so I suppose they would be fingerlings:

The Marble River was just over that bank but I didn't try to push through the wet foliage to see it. Besides, I didn't want to be barred from accessing the trout (as per the sign):

When I reached the end of the ponds, I looked back toward the office buildings. It was truly an impressive operation:

There was what appeared to be a maintenance area behind the ponds, but it was marked off limits. I got a kick out of the fish net, though. I suppose it would come in handy here:

I began walking back to the buildings, and noted the incredible beauty of the location. This trail would have led up the hill to the access road and was probably a shortcut for the staff. I'll post Part 2 tomorrow: