Friday’s Farm Fotos

November 6, 2009

Another Friday, and I think I’ll share some of the pictures I took around the farm this week to make it another Friday’s Farm Foto’s Day!

This first one is of Samson, our male llama, out in the main pasture grazing.

Male llama, Samson, grazing.

All the animals seem to enjoy the medium length grasses in the main pasture, although the llamas like to browse the taller weeds along the fenceline too.

However, they don’t stay there all the time.  They have a routine, and part of the day the sheep and llamas and goat are in the back yard.  This particular picture is of one of our shyer Shetland sheep, Valrhona.

Shetland Sheep: our ewe, Valhrona.

Of course, our farm collie, Toby, can be found in the backyard almost any time, along with some chickens, plus the peacocks and peahens in their pen.

Toby, American Working Farmcollie

The signs of fall are everywhere, but when the sun shines just right on some of the trees along the edges of the bottom pasture, the leaves glint and make it look like the trees are full of white blossoms. I did a double take the first time I saw it. After all, it’s not time for trees to be in bloom!

Bbottom Pasture at Kings Keep Farm

Except, of course, the camellia is still blooming. Some of the blossoms look pretty ragged, but I don’t think this Grandaddy Long Legs minds.

Grandaddy Long Legs on Camellia bloom.

Did you know that these critters, also called harvestmen, aren’t really spiders?  They may look like one, but the biggest difference is that spiders have two body segments, whereas a Granddaddy Long Legs has an oval body that is only ONE segment. They also do not produce silk or a web, so turns out they are not true spiders.

The ferns back in the woods are still nice and green, but then, they stay pretty green all winter.

Ferns in woods on Kings Keep Farm.

The creeks and sloughs are full of colored leaves that have fallen from the trees.

Colored leaves floating on water.

Meanwhile, when the sun warms things up, there’s usually at least one little turtle on the long floating in the pond.

Small turtle on log in pond.

However, they are still very shy, and don’t let people get very close before they plop back down into the water and disappear.

And while our lone wandering white rooster is still AWOL, it seems we may have missed a couple of younger chickens that are roosters.  I looked out our dining room window yesterday and saw at least two roosters fighting.

Roosters fighting.

There was a third one nearby that acted like it might join the fray, but since it never did, I’m not sure if we have 2 or 3 young roosters running loose.

This morning I looked out to see a bunch of squirrels running up and down the fence posts.  This one peered inside a rotten post. . .

Squirrel looking in rotten fence post.

I think he’s wondering if he put any nuts in there.  Maybe I should tell him he’s looking in the wrong direction.

Cause there are some big nuts inside the house!

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.

A Trio of Turtles

July 27, 2009

When I went out to the mailbox this morning, I caught three of the turtles inhabitating our pond sunning themselves on a log.

3 Turtles Sunning Themselves On A Log

They never let me get too close before then slide off into the water.  I think I’m going to have to build a blind or something by the pond to get better pictures!

Turtle Reflections

June 23, 2009

I guess I’m like a reflective turtle this week, being a little on the meditative slow side.

We just got back from a trip to West Virginia and Ohio to visit family, and I’m tired. I’m also dealing with a lingering summer cold, so I’m not exactly feeling my best. So as I said, I’m moving a little slow.

To reflect on that, here’s a picture of the big turtle in our pond.

Turtle in Pond

The water was so reflective it almost  looks like the turtle is on grass instead of water.

Yesterday I saw two smaller turtles on the log.  It’s a popular spot!

Just Coolin’ It.

June 10, 2009

It’s been up in the 90’s here lately, and when you’re covered in black fur that means it feels REALLY hot!  So our farm collie, Toby, is always looking for the nearest patch of shade (between bouts of frenetic activity – liking chasing squirrels, or zipping through a pack of guineas so he can watch them fly, or … you get the idea).

Toby, our American Farm Collie

We’ve got lots of huge walnut and oak trees in the back yard, so all the animals like to congregate there.

The notable exception to this shade seeking is the sun seeking turtles who seem to thrive on sunning themselves.

Turtle On Log

They have a new log to float on as the first eventually sank, presumably because the dead wood became… well, water-logged!

Around here the critters are either soaking up the sun or have it made in the shade, but they all seem to be enjoying summer.