Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's New At The Farm? 5/19/10

The farm is bustling with activity now as we approach planting season. The greenhouses are rapidly filling up; actually about to be bursting at the seams. All the fields have had their initial field prep done and the direct seeding in the field is on schedule. The fertilizer has been spread and incorporated, the field planning is nearly complete, and next week the full farm crew will be here. What a great time of year!

All the birds around the farm are nesting and many have young ones now. There's much cheeping in birdhouses, around the tops of doors, in the bushes around the buildings and in the fencerows. They grow so fast it won't be much time before the first batch flies away.

I am going to talk about traveling between fields while working today, otherwise titled "What you can see whilst driving tractors". Driving a tractor is slow enough that you have some time to look around; not a lot but some.

Friday last week I was on my way to one of our isolated fields when I spotted a mother Mallard and eight or ten little ducklings following her in an irrigation pond. This isn't something you wouldn't normally see in a vehicle whizzing by. I often see birds or animals in the ditches, at home in their own world but ever so close to the danger of traffic. I see shadows overhead; a bird between the sun and me; probably a lot closer to me. Large shadows are often eagles or turkey vultures, mid-sized ones are crows and ravens, and small shadows are songbirds eager to get on their way.

Cats, muskrats, rabbits, turtles, the occasional deer and moose, and assorted farm animals are something we often see whilst driving farm equipment. Once, while harrowing a field near Johnny's I spotted movement in the bushes next to the field; it turned out to be a rather large sow pig, obviously escaped from the local pig farmer. I imagine chasing a large sow after work is a lot of fun but the owner didn't share his experiences with me. Horses, cows and the occasional pig have all been seen at one time or another whilst driving equipment around. Animals I've yet to see include lions, tigers and bears.

The first batches of killdeer have hatched out. There are four babies in the main trial field, four in field W-1 and a new nest at the Benton field. I was harrowing W-1 last week; on Wednesday there were four eggs in a nest and the next day they were gone. I was harrowing Benton 1 Friday last week when I spotted a killdeer doing the broken wing thing. I got off the tractor and two feet ahead of my front tire was her nest. I marked it with some field stakes I had with me and will avoid that part of the field until the eggs hatch. Many times through careful searching you can find their nests, but sometimes you just can't. Three nests saved so far this year is pretty good, I think.

Until next week, enjoy all that nature has to offer.


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