summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Monday, April 27, 2015

Morel Comes and Morel Goes

Today’s walk took me by a tree that I have passed hundreds of times before.  It is a large tree whose center is hollow resulting from years and years of decay.  The onset of such decay was probably, due in part, to a lightning strike.


Every time I pass, the dogs always take the extra few steps detour to look into the deep cavity.  I have no idea why.  I do not bother.  The last time I looked into a hollow tree, several years ago, I was greeted with the steely stare from a coiled snake.  Hollowed-out trees rarely pique my interest.


On my return, I decided, this time, to take a careful peek.  The inside of this huge tree was well rotted for feet both up and down from my eye level.  I had to lean my head inside to gaze at the bottom of this expansive recess. Thankfully, there was no snake.  As I made my turn to get back on my well-worn trail, I saw a lovely, solitary morel growing at my feet.  What an unexpected pleasure! I quickly phoned my daughter.  Becky is the morel hunter and morel eater in our family.  To my surprise, she answered my call.  I asked if she wanted me to pick the morel for her.  Since it was the only one, she told me just to let it grow.


I took two short steps before I thought I would get a photo of that morel.  It looked so earthy and pristine growing in the leaf mold under the massive, decaying oak.


In the few short seconds it took me to turn back, Buddy had nipped the top of the morel from its base.  The freshly-severed honeycomb-like top lay on the ground next to the still erect smooth white pedestal.


I did not actually see Buddy bite the morel, but he was the only other warm body, besides me, at the scene and I know that I did not touch that mushroom. Buddy would not confess.


Well…so much for ‘letting it grow’.

Monday, April 20, 2015

April Spring

We are definitely getting the April showers this year - yippee!


And, with these showers, my garden is just bursting with blossoms of color.  This is just a sampling of my daily enjoyment…

The extent of my lilac blooms - pretty pathetic!
My lilacs are always so iffy - any suggestions?

with more new blooms arriving each new day to enchant those who wander through my gardens.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Frog Frenzy

It is often said that ‘timing is everything’.  Well, this year, my timing was impeccable in witnessing the frog frenzy down at our pond.


Let me premise…I know next to nothing about frogs.  I dissected a frog once in high school biology, but even the knowledge I gained about their internal organs has left my active memory bank. I know a frog when I see one up close and personal; otherwise, I might think was looking at a toad. Frogs have webbed feet…right?


Normally, when the frogs are in full croaking mode, I can walk down to the pond and not see a one.  As I wander along the edge of the water, I can hear little splashes as these frogs jump, undetected by my eyes, into the pond as I pass near them.  All I seem to catch is a glimpse of the small round rings of waves resulting from the disturbed surface of the pond as the frogs jump in.


One day this past week, I took my usual walk down to the pond.  I could hear the frogs up at the house and their racket only amplified the closer to the pond I got.


I went out onto the deck of the pond house to survey the bank from as near the water-side as possible in hopes of not scaring the frogs into taking their diving escapes. I saw a clump of mud surrounded by grass that, imagining, could be a frog.  Even though I was only feet away, I decided to peer through my camera’s telephoto lens for a better look.  Sammy saw my interest and decided to walk into my field of view.  Plunk.  Yep, that blob was a frog.  And, now it was gone.

This is where I saw the clump of mud...I mean frog.

Again, like with so many other species of nature that I encounter on the farm, I could hear, hundreds of frogs in this case; but I could not see any.


I sat on the bench and waited and watched.  The dogs decided to do their frog hunting at the far side of the pond leaving me at peace.  Well, not so much at peace, as those frogs are noisy, but alone.


Then, I saw one just floating near the shoreline.  And, I saw another two.


I continued to search and discovered several little bumps in the surface of the water just inches out from the muddy bank.  These bumps were frog heads peeping above the surface, their beady eyes vigilant for intruders to their domain.  I could see their throats expand into large balloons at the same time as the din increased.


The longer I watched the more frogs I saw. Many of the frogs were swimming, many of them puffing their throats and many of them piggyback.  Maybe it was mating season.  Like I mentioned, my frog fact list is pretty lean.

This was my first real encounter with the frogs…just amazing!  I was thrilled.


The next day, the frog verbalizing had disappeared.  My arrival at the pond was truly tranquil.  There were no frogs…sight or sound.


Timing is everything.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Melodious Meadowlarks

For the past several weeks, I have been constantly serenaded on my walks by the magnificent and numerous Eastern Meadowlarks. As I head away from the house and downhill into the pasture, the meadowlarks’ songs become more distinct.

I consider these brightly yellow-colored birds to be a bit least to sight.

As I walk, I can hear the meadowlarks all around me.  But, seeing them is quite a different story. They definitely keep a wide safe zone. Even though, these birds are a brilliant yellow and fairly good-sized, the long distance makes identification difficult.  And, most of their time is spent rambling on the ground frequently under cover of grass.  This is an additional disadvantage to me, not the birds.

I stop and listen and can pinpoint their location, but visuals are iffy.

Yesterday, I considered my meadowlark experience to be about 5 out of a possible 10.  I could easily hear the meadowlarks, but I could only see them afar. Having three dogs run ahead of me does not help in the birdwatching department either.


That was until I made my return trip back home. Partially hidden behind a board fence, I was able to view a few meadowlarks at a much closer distance than my norm.  At one point, I watched four meadowlarks flying together overhead.  As I stopped and became motionless, so did the dogs.  The meadowlarks moved even closer to me.


Even though I mostly see meadowlark silhouettes lurking about the pasture, yesterday I was lucky enough to observe a solitary meadowlark singing from atop a nearby fencepost and also one just above me in a tree branch - my closest encounters yet.


My 5 rating turned into an amazing 10. 


All I needed was a bit of patience and some quiet dogs.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Puppies Play Space

Matthew is visiting for the holiday weekend and was concerned that the puppies did not have a more permanent outdoor play space.

So, he built one with Glenn.

I think the puppies all have HAPPY faces.  What do you think?

Is this MY chew toy?

Where is MY food?

Do you want to adopt me and my brother?  Please TAKE ME HOME!

Happy Easter, Hoppy Easter


If you look at the background you will see freshly weeded perennial and raised strawberry beds.
I am finally seeing some progress toward having a well-groomed least for the moment - hurray!!!



Saturday, April 4, 2015

Puppy Play

Becky's charges, her orphaned puppies, are growing.

I had a great shot, but as I snapped the photo, the puppies scattered

roughhousing -  puppy style

Becky is a fabulous surrogate mother. Personally,  I would not have the patience nor the stamina to rear seven puppies from birth. Frankly, I do not think I could handle one puppy.   

Yesterday, the first of the seven was adopted.

Becky said she cried.  She was losing one of her babies.

Unfortunately, Becky cannot keep the puppies even though she is still thinking about keeping one. So, any more takers?

FYI - Rearing seven puppies is not only time consuming, but it is also very expensive.  Replacement milk for puppies is a great deal more expensive than the comparative for babies of the human variety.  Then, multiple by seven and that cost really adds up quickly. The last figure I heard was in the hundreds of dollars closing in on $1,000 - yikes!

On behalf of Becky,  donations are gratefully accepted.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dust Devil

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day gardening.  Basically, I was weeding and cleaning up the beds. This task is never-ending, but I have to admit that I have never been so close as having most of the beds clean and pretty at one time as they are right now.  I enjoy wandering around the yard and enjoying the tidiness - no abundance of flowers yet, but I still enjoy what I can anticipate to come…lush perennials, colorful and fragrant blooms, juicy fruit, green grass…peace.

The day was warm, calm and gorgeous.  The outdoors seized my body and mind.  Indoor chores would have to wait for another day.  This day was about spending all my time outside.

I was sitting straightening and resetting bricks that lined a particular garden path.  I was getting a bit heated and thought about taking off my sweatshirt, but decided to leave it on.  Why?  I had no idea.

Within 10 minutes of making that decision, I was smack dab in the middle of a dust devil.  I did not see it coming, but I sure felt the dust and dirt and leaves pelt my face and body.  My hair twisted into knots.  I did not have time to jump up and run, so I quickly pulled my hood over my head and tucked my face into my chest.  I still felt the strong wind and flying debris, but now, at least my eyes and face were protected. The wind was so strong that both my sweatshirt and cotton turtleneck started to lift toward my neck.  Now, my body was exposed to the bombardment.

When the whirling wind stopped, I looked up and watched the dust devil move away across the yard, then out of sight.

I felt and I was totally windblown and completely dusty, my mouth gritty - yuck!

I have seen and enjoyed watching dust devils many times before, but I had never actually been enclosed inside one. 

What an experience! 
One I have no desire to repeat.




Note:  For those who are unfamiliar with dust devils…they are like small tornadoes that seem to appear from nowhere and disappear just as mysteriously.  You can see the whirling winds because of the dirt and dust that rises and travels within the funnel. They are not as powerful or as dangerous as a tornado.