It’s snowing!

January 29, 2010

It started snowing here a while ago, and it’s coming down pretty FAST for our part of the world!

This poor cardinal is braving the snow to wait his turn at the feeders.

Cardinal bird in snow storm.

And there’s snow on the ground around the pond…

But the snow doesn’t keep the sheep from getting out!

And the chickens are standing around under the bird feeders hoping for a treat…

Chickens, hens and rooster, in the snow.

Even Toby likes to play out in the snow!

Toby the farm collie out in the snow.

That’s it for now!  If it keeps snowing like this, I might have to go out in the woods later and get some pictures!

Enjoy your weekend!

Underwater Pond Plants

December 15, 2009

Or maybe I should have titled this, “I Can See Clearly Now” . . .

Cause the rain was gone, and sometimes when it hasn’t rained for a while, the farm pond water gets nice and clear.  Then you can see all the plants that are growing underwater.

Underwater Pond Plants

Of course, this time of year there are also a lot of fallen leaves in the pond.  There’s still some algae growing too.

Underwater pond plants and fallen leaves.

I think it looks kind of pretty with the colored leaves floating on top, and then the green plants growing in the water underneath.

Underwater pond plants with fallen leaves floating on surface.

Unfortunately, most of the time the water isn’t clear enough to see down into the pond.  And even when it’s clear, you can only see around the edges, and not in the deeper water.

Maybe someday we’ll try stocking the pond with some fish, but for now it has a large population of frogs and turtles.

This clear vision of the underwater pond plants doesn’t usually last long, but I enjoy it when I can!

First Frosty Fall Morning

October 19, 2009

Okay, The Farmer says he saw some frost yesterday morning, but I didn’t see it, so I’m counting today as the first frost of this season.  Which I’d call a good sign of fall!

And yes, I know.  Some places have already had snow.  But then some places will never see frost.  As the real estate people are fond of saying, “Location, location, location.”

When The Farmer left for work this morning, the pond was steaming.

Steam Rising Off Pond

I thought that was kind of cool, so I grabbed my camera and went out to see what other signs of fall I could see.

Frosty wool on sheep seems like a pretty good sign of fall.

Sheep With Frosty Wool

They actually seem to enjoy the frosty weather, and get rather frisky this time of year.

There are still some blooms hanging on the camellia bush.  I took a few pictures of frosty blossoms, but then I noticed this one particular flower in the shadows with a cold critter in residence:

Frosty Camellia Blossom With Cold Bee

I think the bee is in semi-hibernation there, waiting for the sun to warm it back up.

The sun was quickly melting the frost off plants, but there was still a little on the tea viburnum:

Frosty Tea Viburnum (Viburnum setgerum)

Down in the bottom pasture, sunlight was shining and little frost remained.  However, at the edge of the woods, a frosty vine was looping through one of the trees.

Frosty Vine

As for other signs of fall, well, the leaves have fallen off the walnut trees.  They’re the last to get leaves in the spring, and the first to lose them in the fall.  Go figure.  And of course, there are walnuts all over the ground, not to mention acorns and hickory nuts.  And we have a little fall color:

Red Leaves

Unfortunately, that may be ALL the fall color we get.  The leaves around here are more prone to just turn brown and fall off.  I do miss the vibrant fall colors seen further north!

Cooler days and dead leaves and occasionally some frost . . . I guess that’s as much signs of fall as we’ll probably see!

Turtle Triathlon

September 3, 2009

Turtles do a different kind of triathlon than people.  They can run – really!  Turtles can move fast.  And they can sure swim if they’re the right kind of turtle.  But as you might imagine, they have a little trouble with that bicycling part.

First they start with the running.  They go walkabout somewhere, and then come running back through the grass to get to the pond.

Turtle In Grass

They can zip along so quickly, that all of a sudden they are IN the pond.  (And somebody missed the picture of them tumbling in!)

Splash in water.

For the second part of their triathlon, they go for freestyle swimming.  First they float around for a while to sort of warm up.

Turtle floating in pond (

After that, they do a lesiurely front crawl. . .

Turtle swimming in pond.

And take the time to clown around a little bit and play with water refraction and reflections to pretend to be the Loch Ness monster.

Loch Ness Turtle Monster

When the turtle finally feels sufficiently warmed up, it starts the underwater swimming part of the competition and really dives down into the water.

Turtle Diving Underwater

Once underwater, the turtle swims around and around in the pond.

Turtle swimming along underwater.

Occasionally the turtle pops up near the bank to get its bearings.

Turtle underwater near bank of pond.

Until finally it swims past the finish line while the spectator dragonflies cheer wildly. . .

Turtle swimming underwater in pond.

Having completed the second section of the triathlon, it takes a few moments to savor this accomplishment and do a leisurely cool-down swim.

Since turtles can’t bicycle, not having the right form or bikes small enough to use, they do something different.  For the final leg of the triathlon, turtles borrow from lumberjack competitions and do a form of boom running. With lumberjacks, this is a sport “in which the competitor must run across a string of logs attached end to end in the water. The object is to run across the log boom, around an obstacle, and back faster then your opponent(s).”

Turtle sunbathing on log.

Our turtles do their own variation of boom running.  They only run far enough along the top of ONE log (which has strings attached to keep in anchored in one spot) to find a good place to settle down.  Then they participate in a sunbathing competition, seeing who can stay on the log the longest without getting scared off by some crazy woman with a camera.

Then I guess after all that strenuous competition, it’s time to relax.

Log Ness Turtle

April 28, 2009

Like Bessie at Loch Ness, getting a clear photo of the turtle in our pond just doesn’t happen.

Turtle In Pond

I just can’t get close enough to get a good picture before the turtle sees me and dives under.  At best, there’s just a nose and the top most part of the shell showing when the turtle comes up for air.  A lot of the time, all you can see is the tip of his nose.

In view of that (pun intended), I told The Farmer what this poor deprived turtle needed was a log to sun on.  After all, it must get pretty tired paddling away while getting a breath of fresh air, right?  (Of course, no mention was made of my ulterior motive of being able to get a better picture of a turtle on a log as compared to one mostly submerged. smile )

The Farmer readily agreed, though I suspect he knew both my motives for the idea of a floating log in the pond.  However, since he had all that wood from the big tree limbs that fell on the house, he decided he’d take up the challenge and yes, put a log in the pond.  For the turtle, of course.

Being a most excellent MacGyver sorta clone, he knew if he just threw the log in the pond, the wind would have it swept up against the banks most of the time.  What I… uh, the turtle… needed was the log staying out more towards the middle of the pond.

Farmer MacGyver had a plan.

Getting Ready To Put Log In Pond

It required a couple of posts and some slender waterproof rope.

He pounded a stake in the bank on one side of the pond, then tied one end of the rope to the stake, and another part of the rope around the log.

Then he threw the log in the water.

The Farmer throwing a log into the pond.

Once he had it in the water, he adjusted the bright orange rope around the log in what he considered the best position.

Adjusting the rope around the log.

It was getting a little warm, so The Farmer took off his vest, and walked around to the opposite side of the pond.  He pounded in another stake and tied the other end of the rope to it.

The Farmer tying the other end of the rope to the second stake.

Once he did that, he went back around to the other side and made some final adjustments.

Adjusting the rope on the log in the pond.

And there it is, a nice log floating in the pond, holding serenely in one place.

Pond with log floating in it.

Now, if only that turtle would crawl up there sometime to enjoy the sunshine while I’m out there with a camera in my hand!


P.S. I went out to the mailbox after I finished this post, and guess what I saw?  Yep, a turtle trying to crawl up on the log.  Only it wasn’t the big turtle we’ve been seeing, it was a much smaller one!

Two turtles in the pond.

We have not one, but TWO turtles! Or maybe I should say, at least two turtles, cause for all I know there might be more.   There’s the big one we’ve been seeing, and you can see that one’s head in the lower part of the picture, a little to the right of center.  And now the little one trying to get up on that big log.

Turtley Awesome!