29 May 2012

Monday Forest photo: May 29, 2012

2:00pm 33C cloudy
Wow, what a scorcher! The air is thick and thunderstorms are threatening. I hope we get lots of rain. My walk was short today because this is mad dogs and Englishmen weather and I am neither. There are still a couple more days in May, but summer is in full swing.

Orange Hawkweed
There are a few new wildflowers this week. I was particularly excited to see the Lady's Slipper. I didn't notice it last year, but it is in a unique micro habitat on a hillside beside a little seasonal spring.

Swamp Buttercup

Large Yellow Lady's Slipper 
Seneca Snakeroot

21 May 2012

Monday Forest photo: May 21, 2012

2:30pm 29C clear
Wow. It's summer all of a sudden. Most of the spring ephemerals have packed up until next year. There's an amazing scent of honeysuckle in the woods, but I have never actually seen any there. The biting bugs are out, but all that is necessary to avoid them is to keep moving, rather than any repellant or netting. For now. My next level of protection is to take a silly-looking ballcap with a fabric flap that covers your ears and neck, and spray it with Deep Woods Off. I'll wear that with a light coloured long sleeve shirt and that will do me until it doesn't, at which point I'll switch to long sleeves, long pants and a hat with netting attached. I'll admit that when the bugs get that bad, a walk in the woods just doesn't have the same appeal as it does now.

Red Osier Dogwood 

20 May 2012

Broody Penny; or Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

A couple of weeks ago, Penny began acting strangely. I noticed her chasing the other chickens away from the entrance to their coop, while fluffing up her feathers in a threatening display. Then she took up residence in one of the egg boxes and made weird noises when I approached. I evicted her, but she'd keep going back. Penny was broody! I figured I'd toss her out of the nesting box a few times and she'd forget about it, but Penny was determined.

Madeleine and I discussed the broody chicken problem and started joking that we might as well let her sit on her eggs, but the problem with letting her do that is that if no chicks hatch, she'd just keep at it. Without any resident roosters, we were unlikely to have any hatching. 

Not to be deterred by a simple lack of roosters, last Sunday (a week ago) Madeleine and I went begging at some neighbours where we had heard roosters crowing. They have a small flock of hens and two roosters and they kindly offered us 9 potentially fertilized eggs for Penny to sit on. We quickly prepared the chicken tractor for Penny's personal use so that she doesn't have to deal with nosy or jealous hens. Kind of like a home for unwed mothers. We told the others she'd gone to stay with an aunt in Toronto for a few weeks.

Once a day, or so, Penny descends to ground level to eat, drink and poo. I took advantage of her absence to check in on the eggs. The observant among you will notice that there are seven eggs, but we started with nine. One egg had a hole pecked in it within hours of being placed under Penny. The other completely disappeared - shell and all, by the next day. Penny had a guilty yolk stain on her face so we can only assume that she ate it. Bad bird.

When Penny comes down to do her business, she becomes the centre of attention. The others are very curious about what she's doing in there.

Penny spends a lot of her short break all fluffed up and warning off the others. Not that chickens normally display a lot of intelligence, but Penny seems to be operating on pure instinct these days. I hope her instinct will carry her through the next two weeks and beyond to caring for the chicks. That may be thinking too far ahead, given her record of egg destruction so far, but she appears to have settled in and no eggs have disappeared for several days.

June 3 is hatch day. I'll post an update - hopefully including pictures of cute little chicks.

17 May 2012

Monday Forest photo: May 17, 2012

2:00pm 18C partly cloudy
 Finally, the leaves are out! Also, mosquitoes, but not too bad. This week had lots of new flowers and even a morel to show.

White Trillium 
Maybe I knew this at one time, but I certainly didn't remember that white trilliums turn purple as they age. I thought they were a different variety. There were quite a few of these elderly purple flowers in the woods today. It seems like there are more trilliums this year than last.

Yellow Morel
I found a single morel mushroom this year. Last year I didn't see any, so maybe in a few years I will find enough to eat.

Small-flowered Crowfoot

Wild Phlox

Wild Columbine

Wood Strawberry

09 May 2012

Monday Forest photo: May 9, 2012

2:00pm 20C cloudy 
I love this time of year. We've finally made the shift from brown to green, but the mosquitoes aren't out yet. It's mild, but not too warm. The birds and frogs are going crazy with lust and I actually spied a couple of woodpeckers in flagrente delicto today. It seemed a rather hasty and furtive affair to tell the truth, but not my business.

The new bloom for this week is violets.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...