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:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Plants And Animals - Around The Farm

Both cultivated and wild flowers began blooming in June. I found these Bladder Campions just outside the barn door. Their name isn't pretty, but the flowers certainly are. The "bladder" is the calyx (sepals), with purple veins behind the petals, looking a bit like a miniature melon:

 My little rock garden is growing wildly and I planted so many roots and bulbs that new plants are springing up all the time. I perhaps over-planted, but time will tell. The best news is that the hardy Magnolia, which I thought had died over the winter, is springing back to life, growing stronger every day:

 The variegated leaf Weigela I planted has added a lot of red to its leaves, enough so that I began to worry that it might not be healthy. I checked online and learned that many of them have that much red:

 My four Snowball bushes bloomed profusely. They were a gift from a close friend. He died unexpectedly last year, so these plants will always remind me of him:

 My newly expanded Peony garden was delayed, falling behind all the old peony beds in the yard which weren't disturbed, but it's now coming back gangbusters:

 The Magic Carpet Spirea looks happy and healthy, though I think it's too late for it to bloom this year:

 The Rugosa Roses are up to 7' tall already and began blooming early in June. They are now covered in flowers:

 The fantail pigeons are happy in their room in the barn and don't go outside even when I open the window for them:

 They have a water fountain and two hanging feeders. Life is easy if you are a fancy pigeon:

 Many of them are nesting on the floor. I think that's unwise, but they don't care what I think. Nonetheless, so far no eggs have hatched. The birds set for a couple of weeks, then give up and move on:

 The bantams are laying well and I'm giving most of the eggs to the neighbors who help me so often. I do eat some eggs, but limit the amount for the sake of my arteries:

 The Barred Rock bantams had years of outdoor freedom and are not content to now stay indoors. They often stand at the barred gate and look outside, longing to go there. Alas, they would be eaten quickly by our large fox population so I keep them locked up:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June Cows, June Flowers

The cattle remained in the north field because it was growing faster than they could eat it and because it made life easier for me. They clearly didn't mind:

Violet remains a mystery. She seems healthy enough. Maybe this long stay in the north field will help her to lose weight - though it sure doesn't look like it's working:

 Scarlett and Rosella are the only two who seem to maintain a healthy weight, and that's probably because they spent nine months nursing calves. I know Rosella is pregnant and hope that Scarlett is:

 All in all, the girls are looking good and seem contented. The problem is that three of them are not pregnant and don't seem to be coming into heat:

 The purple Iris next to the house began blooming:

 I erected a sturdy trellis for a new plant to climb on. That's it down at the bottom of the picture. I sure hope it's a fast grower:

 It's a Mandarin Honeysuckle and is promised to be a prolific bloomer, fast grower and zone 3 hardy:

 Buttercups began to bloom all over the field. I'm told that they are bitter and the animals won't eat them, so they continue to grow like.......well, like weeds:

 And mixed in with the Buttercups are Ragged Robin flowers:

 And the field is also full of Common Fleabane:

And this tiny flower, which I remembered from previous years. I searched my field guide and decided that it is Lesser Stitchwort, a Chickweed:

 This flower was so tiny that it's a wonder I saw it at all. I examined it closely and got a pretty good picture of it but couldn't find it online or in my field guide, so I emailed an expert botanist who identified it as Thyme-Leaved Speedwell, or Veronica serpyllifolia. Indeed, once I had the name I was able to find it online. By the way, if you are interested in wildflowers and botany, may I recommend the blog, "Saratoga Woods And Waterways." It's not only beautiful, but also informative:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Miniature Horses Without Cows

With the Red Poll girls all in the north field, Remy and Blue had the south field all to themselves. That meant that the grass got to recover, growing taller by the day:

 With so much more grass than they could eat, the little equines got to pick and choose. Wildflowers began to bloom all across the pasture:

 Nobody likes Buttercups anyway, but they do like Dandelions. Blue became very choosy about his diet:

 From the looks of things, they may not have been eating the Dandelions either, though the field was so big that it was hard to tell:

 The old, wasted hay in spots where the bale feeder was last winter became sleeping spots:

 Or, when they're in the barn, they just sprawled out and relaxed:

 I've been locking them out of the barn on pleasant days and I coated their favorite chewing spots with Ivory Dish Detergent mixed with bitters and red pepper. Still, to help keep them from boredom, I hung their Jolly-Ball from the ceiling:

 Remy found it only mildly amusing but Blue didn't care at all:

 But they are an attractive pair out in the pasture:

 I tried to fill a bucket with compost for a planting I was making. When I diverted my attention and began tossing rocks out of the compost pile, Remy decided to "help" me. He'd have tipped over the bucket and run away with the shovel if I hadn't stopped him. He's a playful boy:

 They, like the dogs, watch my every move. I guess I never need to feel alone:

 Life is good for two little horses in June:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Pets At Home

Life continues to be good for the dogs of the house. Their days are mostly spent snoozing:

 But they also have a fenced yard from which they bark their fool heads off at anything which moves. If nothing moves, they'll bark anyway:

 And then, having worn themselves out barking, they give their vocal chords a rest back in the corner of the kitchen:

 When they're outside, they want inside - unless I'm working outdoors where they can watch me:

 Even indoors, they watch my every move:

 Bramble, one of the cats, amuses himself by pushing the water bowl trays out from the wall. The trays catch most of the spilled water, but I still sometimes have to mop. And he sometimes fills the trays so full of spilled water that I have to dump them into the sink:

 I bought a new crate liner dog bed, and it quickly became the most popular spot in the house:

 Georgette spends all her days and nights in her bed on the kitchen table. She generally only leaves to get to her food or litter box - and throws a hissy-fit if she encounters another cat on the way:

 Three little pooches crowded into one small dog bed, a cat and dog sharing the new crate liner, and gigantic Seamus sprawled across several dog beds:

Daisy spends much of her time upstairs, and one of her favorite napping spots is this cat scratching toy made of corrugated cardboard. I think the main appeal is all the catnip I've dumped on it:

 Meghan and Ruby eat a lot of lettuce and carrots in addition to pelleted food. They are healthy and fairly friendly, but sometimes seem to throw wild, drunken lesbian orgies. I suppose that this is when one of them is in heat. All I know is that they prevent me from sleeping when they do that:

 Clover, Fergus, Bugsy, Rocky, Seamus and Daphne. Life is good: