Our Peaceable Kingdom

Visitors to our farm often talk about how peaceful it is there and my husband often refers to it as ‘Our Peaceable Kingdom’. You might see that in some of the following pictures.

Peanut, the cat, likes to hang out with the chickens. The chickens have gotten use to him and have learned that he is not a threat.

We had one hen who was old and crippled but the others did not pick or peck on her. She needed some extra assistance but continued to live with the rest of the flock. (she died last week 😦 )

The chickens have also gotten used to Ranger. He shares their food and they share his as well. Ranger and the chickens will be happy to clean up Peanut’s plate when he is finished.

We lost all of our bees again this winter but honey bees were showing up from somewhere to forage honey and wax that was left in our hives. There may be wild bees in our area or other bee keepers whose bees survived the winter or there there may be both.

Early spring, before the trees leaf out and flowers bloom, can be a bit dull looking, but it can also be a time of discovery. Last summer this nest was hidden amongst the leaves and we never even realized it was there.

I wonder who came out of this cocoon.

We did get some much needed rain but the U.S. drought monitor map continues to show our area as abnormally dry.

The North-West corner of the farm is always very wet in the spring and it is where the frogs/toads hang out this time of year. Even though I didn’t see any I’m sure they were there because they quieted down as I approached.

Yes, I do walk through all that water, but not without appropriate footwear.

Normally this time of year the pond is overflowing it’s banks and there is very little beach sand that is not under water. The lighter area along the edge shows how much the water level rose after the last rain. The dark areas are leaves that have collected along the shoreline. We will eventually rake them out of the beach area but since my husband spotted an egg nest (likely frog or toad) we will wait awhile to give them a chance to hatch.

Even though it has been mostly dry we have had lots of wind. When I took the picture above I could not see the individual blades on the windmill because it was spinning so fast. The camera, however, was quick enough to partially capture them.

When the pond is bubbling like this we know the windmill is turning. One of it’s purposes is to aerate the pond.

There were no babies rocking on the tree tops but I was still a bit concerned that the bough(s) might break. The branches in the foreground are maple and the ones toward the rear are poplar. As you can see both are budding.

The wind was really rocking these spruce trees. Good thing they have strong roots.

Momma oak is likely the oldest tree on our property. She is surrounded buy her offspring. She does not waver.

Nor does our eldest shagbark hickory. I often ponder the stories of these two trees. How long have they lived there? If they could talk what stories would they tell?

Sadly our oldest crab apple tree became the target of a wood pecker. I wonder how long she can survive these wounds.

I learned something about my crocuses this year. Last year I only had three or four come up.

This spring I had more come up in a different area. I was thrilled to see them but wondered why they came up this year and not last year.

The day after I noticed and photographed them the blossoms were gone. Apparently eaten by a hungry bunny. (I can’t blame the deer this time because there were no deer tracks in the wet soil where they were growing.)

I now suspect these crocuses did come up last year but became bunny food before I ever noticed them.

I will now reconsider my plans to plant more crocuses.

I also learned that this beautiful little primrose bears some of the first blossoms of the season – but only if the chickens leave it alone.

It was even earlier than the daffodils that were just beginning to open as I took these photos last week.

We have more and more daffodils blossoming each day so I will likely share more pictures in an upcoming post. Why so many daffodils? Because the deer, bunnies and chickens leave them alone.

Last but not least the garlic is up and off to a good start. 🙂

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

April Fools’ Day

It was still dark when I got up this morning but the blanket of white snow that covered grassy areas was noticeable as I glanced out the window. As I poured my coffee I noticed the calendar needed to be changed. Today we begin a new month – April 1st – April Fools’ Day. I was flooded with memories of years past.

I’m really not much of a prankster but when my kids were growing up there was one April Fool’s Day joke that I repeated on several occasions. I drove the girls to school everyday and they were always expected to be ready on time. On days when travel time might take longer I would wake them early to alert them of what time we would be leaving. To prank the girls on April 1st I would rush into their bedroom before they were up and wake them by telling them that we would need to leave early because it was snowing like crazy or we had gotten significant amount of snow over night and I expected that it would take longer than normal to get them to school. They would jump out of bed and as they looked out the window I would spring it on them “April Fools!” I would laugh and they would likely start plotting their revenge or planning how they would prank others throughout the day.

I don’t think any of the girls fell for this more than twice. Any further attempts were met with things like “nice try Mom”, as they pulled up the covers for another 10 minutes in bed. I still laughed at their reactions – until the year that the weather played the ultimate April Fools’ Day joke. The snow that had begun in the early morning was still coming down as I started my day. We would have to leave early to get them to school on time. When I announced this to the girls I was met with what had become the normal resistance “Yah, right, Mom.” They were having none of it and I couldn’t blame them. I was the proverbial boy who cried wolf. Lesson learned!

Are you a prankster? Have you ever played a good April Fools’ Day joke on someone? or had one played on you. I’d love to hear your stories.

Word of the Week- Week #13

Hello and welcome.

If you know me or have been following my blog for very long you probably know that spring is my favorite season and it has dutifully arrived here in Michigan. (Cue: Happy dance.)

The first day of spring is also referred to as the spring equinox so I thought we would take a look at the word equinox.

Merriam Webster defines equinox as:

1: either of the two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic

2: either of the two times each year (as about March 21 and September 23) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere on earth of approximately equal length

It goes on to tell us “Equinox descends from aequus, the Latin word for “equal,” and nox, the Latin word for “night”—a fitting history for a word that describes days of the year when the daytime and nighttime are equal in length. In the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox marks the first day of spring and occurs when the sun moves north across the equator. (Vernal comes from the Latin word ver, meaning “spring.”) The autumnal equinox marks the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere and occurs when the sun crosses the equator going south. In contrast, a solstice is either of the two moments in the year when the sun’s apparent path is farthest north or south from the equator.”

HAPPY SPRING My Friends!

Word Of The Week – Week # 12

Hello and welcome. I’m running a bit later than I hoped with our word of the week . Maybe we should just blame it on spring fever.

Our word for this week is Moment. Merriam Webster has several definitions for this word but I am only going to share the first one – the one I am going to write about. (click the link for the other definitions)

Definition of moment

1a: a minute portion or point of time : INSTANT

b: a comparatively brief period of time

Growing up I learned the importance of taking one day at a time but in recent years I’ve been learning to break those days down even more – to live in the moment. What I love about living in the moment is that it is not an exact amount of time. A moment can be a few seconds or a few minutes or even more. It can encompass whatever is happening at the time. One of the great things is that if I find myself upset, angry, frustrated or experiencing anything else that might make it a bad day it generally doesn’t last that long. I can take a moment and deal with it and move on. It doesn’t have to ruin my whole day.

On the other hand when life is good I need to remember to slow down and think about what I am experiencing. I need to realize the value of and appreciate all of the precious moments.

Today I am wishing you a day filled with beautiful moments.

Word of The Week – Week #11

Hello and thanks for stopping by for the word of the week.

This week our word is mudpuppy. According to the website Active Wild (linked below) the common mudpuppy is a large salamander found in North America. A few interesting facts about the common mudpuppy are:

  1. It is also called a waterdog.
  2. It lives in fresh water including ponds, streams, lakes, rivers and canals.
  3. Unlike most amphibians it never loses it’s gills.
  4. Upon reaching adulthood it continues to live in the water.
  5. They are mostly active at night and they do not hibernate during the winter.
  6. They are carnivorous and will eat just about anything they can catch including insects. larvae, worms, mollusks, small fish and their eggs, other smaller amphibians and spiders.
  7. They can be preyed upon by large fish, crayfish, turtles, water snakes, and the North American river otter.

For pictures and more information check out the below article.

I have never actually seen a common mudpuppy though there is a chance that they may live in our pond.

I have however seen what we will call an uncommon mudpuppy. This uncommon mudpuppy does not have gills, and while he might visit fresh water sources he lives on land. He is very active during the day and prefers to sleep at night. He doesn’t hibernate during the winter but is most recognized (as a mudpuppy) during the spring.

He looks like this –

Mudpuppy

At times he might even be called a waterdog. 🙂