Monday, October 23, 2017

Driving Down A Gravel Road

There is a gravel road in the town of Lawrence, New York, which I drive fairly often - but especially in October to photograph the autumn color and in winter to photograph the massive snow banks. Our autumn leaves were disappointing this year but one day I decided to check out the gravel road anyway. I began with these Staghorn Sumacs behind a barbed wire fence. Sumacs are often the first leaves to turn bright red, so maybe there is much more color to come in the next week or two:

 As I drove, I saw many trees which were brightly colored:

 Someone had mowed the grass along the road, allowing for nicer views:

 A White Birch tree trunk set off this scene in style:

 A flaming red maple:

 A stone wall and hay field, bordered with a confetti burst of color:

 Explosions of color, keeping company with quieter shades of gold and green:

 I came to a house (there aren't many on that road) with homegrown pumpkins for sale, and I thought they added to the autumn theme:

 Ah, this is why I love October!:

 An Amish pasture with woodlands on its far side. Apparently our autumn is later than usual, and perhaps there will be more color and beauty than I had expected. There certainly was along this gravel road:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Autumn Herd

Our cool, autumn temperatures have reduced the fly population to almost zero, enabling me to close the barn door each day to keep the horses outside. It doesn't, however, stop them from chewing on the door frame, evidence of which you can see behind Blue. My concoction of Ivory Dish Detergent, Angostura Bitters and red pepper flakes have helped a lot, but they still chew sometimes:

 Remy was feeling playful this day and wanted me to join him as he frolicked. Sadly, I'm too old and lame to do that:

 I keep a mineral salt block and granulated minerals, both with selenium, outside the barn at all times:

 This was late in the evening, as evidenced by the shadows:

Violet and Jasmine in the south field:

 A cluster of bovines at the stock tank:

 But one day I moved the cows across the gravel road to the north field as I do every October:

 The grass was lush and tasty:

 That evening I stood on my porch and snapped a photo of the cows in the north field, a peaceful scene:

 The next day I walked out to visit them. They were well fed (and fat), most of them feeling too full to even stand up:

 Rosella and Scarlett, daughter and mother. I've noticed how they are nearly always together, which suggests to me that their relationship has continued over the years. Many would say that once the calf is grown, the mother/daughter relationship has ended, but I see it continuing:

 Only one cow (Violet) feels as if she needs to stand up when I walk up to them. The rest trust me to walk among them:

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pigeons, Chickens And Autumn Color

I let the pigeons out one cool, autumn day and about eight of them took advantage of the freedom which I offered. They seemed to have a grand time but stayed on the ground so much that I began to worry about foxes. I got all of them up off the ground except for the one on the tire (looks like a white blob in the picture). I had to lift that bird up and toss it back indoors through the window. It could fly, but just didn't feel like it. None of these fantails are good fliers like their non-fantail relatives:

And that same day I let the chickens out, only the second time since I admitted my defeat in the war with the wild foxes. But it was time to clean out the chickens' room:

The bantam hens were happy to have some freedom and walked around, clucking and scratching - which got Jack all excited on the other side of the fence. The hens also lay down on their sides in the sun and enjoyed themselves. Once I'd cleaned out their room, though, I herded them back inside and secured their door against predators:

Our autumn colors have been disappointing this year, but I did find a few bursts of color. These trees were on my own road, just a bit north of my house:

And a little farther north on the other side of the road, a considerable cluster of crimson. The trees were behind a hay field and the cattails which lined the road:

More muted colors on my own road:

I turned onto the highway because I was heading for the village of Massena. That's where I found these colorful trees:

Heading north on Route 420, I stopped to photograph this colorful cluster which edged a cattail marsh:

More color along Route 420, just south of the little settlement of Winthrop:

I had to pull to the side of the road and stop on the bridge over the St. Regis River to get this shot - and then I hurried along because there was no shoulder on the bridge:

As I headed north toward Massena, I knew I'd find this color at the intersection of State Route 420 and County Route 49. These trees are reliable color every year:

Just south of Massena, I stopped at a logging header which last year had magnificent color. It was more muted this year, but still attractive. There is an old concrete silo there also, but it is always impossible to work it into the picture. Maybe some year I'll figure out how to get both the silo and the trees into one photograph:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Red Cows, Living The Good Life

Life is comfortable now for the Red Poll girls, and food is plentiful:

The Box Elder trees have dropped most of their leaves and no longer provide shade, but the temperatures have cooled so it is not a problem:

There were very few apples this year. I let some Amish women pick most of what was produced, but I also picked up some windfalls for the horses and cows. They didn't need the extra calories, but there was so little fruit this year that I figured it wouldn't hurt:

 Rosella and Scarlett, daughter and mother:

Quiet days in the south field:

Eating more apples:

 Jasmine, my sweetest cow:

All eight animals - six cows and two miniature horses:

The Red Poll girls can make a pretty picture when the sun glints off their coats, sometimes inspiring passersby to stop their cars for a better look:

Their white tail tassels identify them as Red Poll breed instead of Red Angus. There are other differences of course, but the tails are a quick and easy ID:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Contented Pets At Home

You've hopefully seen the recent posts about the hikes the dogs got to take. Those hikes tired them out and encouraged them to be contented with sleeping all day, curled up in the farm house kitchen with the cats:

The dogs also like to lounge outdoors in their fenced run, at least when the weather is nice:

Two of the cats in particular are fond of both the dogs and of the floor pillows in the kitchen corner. In this case it was Bramble curled up with Clover, and Rocky on the giant green cushion:

I brought home a Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta) from Walmart one day. I braced myself for him to not live long, but he's done exceptionally well. He sure is pretty:

Why is Georgette not in her bed atop the table? Because it was being washed. Her bed gets both hairy and dirty, both of which incline me to wish it wasn't on the kitchen table. So I wash it when I can:

Daisy and Bugsy sometimes cohabit the top shelf of the tallest cat tree at the top of the stairs. The light is poor there, but they make such a cute pair that I wanted a photo:

The two guinea pigs, Ruby and Meghan, get clean pine shavings every morning. They also get lettuce and carrots each morning. Like the cows and horses, these two are also getting rather tubby:

Lazy days spent outside while the weather is still nice. It won't be long before the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall:

Daphne, Jack, Seamus and Fergus shared the ramp. It's a favorite resting place:

All five dogs plus Rocky The Cat. Life is good: