Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monarch butterfly count 2014

Several years ago while walking in the pasture, I was impressed by the number of butterflies that welled up as I softly passed.  Black and Tiger Swallowtails, Black and Red Admirals, Viceroys and Monarchs all swirled up like flower petals or Autumn leaves stirred by an unseen wind.  Last year I noticed significantly fewer butterflies (cold, wet Spring followed by a cool wet Summer).  This year, I decided to actually count the numbers I was seeing.
 Up until today, the counts rested at five (5) Monarch, three (3) Tiger Swallowtail, one (1) Black Swallowtail, one (1) Black Admiral, and one (1) Red Admiral.  I guess the Monarch migration has finally reached our area because as of 11am, I've counted six different Monarch butterflies.  I don't try to capture or tag them.  Sometimes it's just nice to watch and wonder.
This other butterfly is a Viceroy.  They look a lot like Monarchs however are smaller, don't migrate, and have a slightly different wing pattern from the Monarch.  Watch for and take care of these little flowers of the air.  To learn more <click here>.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The three R's

Ever look at something before throwing it away and think, 'hmmm.  I wonder what else I could do with this?' That's what goes through my mind each time I empty yet another bag of feed.  Many years ago feed sacks were made from plain cotton.  Much later the manufacturers recognized that poor farmers would reuse the cotton sacks to make shirts and other clothing.  Soon afterwards feed and grain were sold in calico cotton sacks.  Today feed sacks are made with a much heavier woven polyester.  This resists tearing and other damage that may occur during transport or storage.
Today's feedsack may not work in a bed quilt but it well may have a new life some place else!  What I came up with was to use these to make wonderful, heavy-duty shopping totes.  They're functional yet cute and should last considerably longer than the cheesy ones available at the local market.  If you want to try this, there are all sorts of great patterns and instructions on the internet.  A good basic pattern with easy to follow instructions can be found here.  Once one gets the basics, making one's own shopping bags from available materials reduces waste and saves the environment.  Don't forget the three R's: reuse, repurpose, recycle. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Buckeyes new home, update

It's at these times, I wish I had a better camera.  When I went out last night to put the Buckeyes to bed, they were all lined up on the roof of the chick house.  Guess they felt they were safer up there than inside the nice clean chicken tractor.

Will try again later today...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Buckeyes new home

This week's challenge has been introducing the buckeyes to a new home.  Chickens are creatures of habit.  They like consistency.  They don't like big changes.  When the buckeyes were little, the chick house was just the right size.  Everyone had plenty of space to nest and play.
It's probably fine for two or three girls now, however I feel it's much too small for all the little chickies.
we're BIG chickies now!
After giving it a great deal of thought, DH built a much larger chicken tractor and wheeled it out to where the chicks had been recently located.  They stood as a group off near the chick house taking a long and wary look at the new structure.  ('what's that thing?' 'I don't know.  I'm not going over there.'  You can almost hear them say, 'No really.  This is fine.  We like being crowded together.')  After a day or two, a few brave souls ventured closer, then cautiously creeped up the boardwalk.

They're still adjusting to the new building.  Each night when I call 'Bedbye' they still troop to the chick house.  Eventually, I'm hoping, to put them all to bed in the new tractor.
This may take awhile.