Sunday, October 25, 2009

Greetings from the Neglectful Blogger

Sorry, I've been kind a neglectful blogger lately! For some strange reason, I really thought I'd have more time for blogging once the lawn mowing and garden tending chores were done for the season, but things haven't turned out that way. Deer hunting seems to be taking up quite a bit of the weekend time, and knitting to keep my Etsy store restocked is keeping me busy indoors. But, I decided to put off housework a little while longer by editing some of the photos that have been in my camera for weeks and getting this blog post ready today (actually anything that delays housework is a good thing -- at least for me!)

Our deer have been quite busy in the backyard lately. With all the rain and snow we've been having, their tracks are quite evident and also the fact that the corn trays are emptied nearly every night. I put a couple of the trail cameras in strategic locations and here's a few shots from last week. This one is my fave! I wonder what they're looking at? Could be the gray fox or maybe the possum I saw again Friday night for the first time since last spring.

I like the trail cameras because they tell us what time the deer are showing up. The other morning there was a nice big doe here at 4 AM when I took Sophie out. I always keep her on the leash now (since the skunk incident), but that doe didn't even run away when Sophie started barking at her. We walked within about 18 yards of her and she finally ran.

This little buck was a complete surprise! We're rapidly approaching the deer's first "rut" season (this year it will coincide with the full moon in the first week of November). I'll have to put the cameras on again next week to see what other interesting pictures we get.

By now, most of you have probably heard we had a little snowstorm last week. Here's what it looked like out my backdoor on Friday afternoon. This was completely unexpected!

We ended up with 4.1 inches of snow! This broke the previous record set in 1910! It was awful wet and sticky snow--great for snowmen but pretty horrible for driving in. We saw quite a few cars in the ditch on the way home from work. Thankfully it was all melted by Saturday afternoon. (I'm really glad I finally got my carrots dug up earlier this week.)

This little song sparrow was right outside my back door looking for seeds on that snowy Friday. They're usually the first migrant sparrow to show up in my backyard in the spring, but I almost never see them -- especially this close to the house. I checked my migration chart and it said they usually head south around the 3rd week of October. I bet this guy was wishing he'd left last week instead!

The end of fall also marks the time when pocket gophers are extra busy digging new holes before the ground freezes for winter. Mr. Johnson has been busy trapping them again lately and it looks like this particular pocket gopher decided to get his revenge by digging in my weedy perennial beds right next to the house! Grrrrrr! I hope it dries out in a couple days so I can get this mess cleaned up before winter.

On my way to a medical appointment a few weeks ago, I happened to spot these lovely cattle on a little farm not far from here. I didn't have the camera with me, but was on the same road a few days later and stopped the car to get out and take some pictures. In this area where Holsteins, black Angus, and red & white Herefords are the norm, these cattle are definitely a unique sight. I love that face!

They are White Park Cattle (I had to google that!) These guys were all napping in the pasture on this fine sunny afternoon, but as soon as I parked the car and started walking up to the fence, they all got up and trotted over to investigate me. I resisted putting my hand out for them to get a sniff (even though I really wanted to). I just thought they were cute and unique and wanted to share these photos with you.
Have a good week everyone!


Anonymous said...

I have to admit that the beautiful snow pictures did give me a pang or two.

Love the cows and their funny topnotch "hairdos." Quite stylish in their earmuffs and black boots.:)

troutbirder said...

I think those cattle are sold down at Seed Savers in Iowa. They are beautiful. Did your dog really get skunked? Me and Baron took a hit a week ago today at the Goethite. Phew!!!

Carol said...

Really enjoyed the deer cams. Do you have motion lights?

I kind of miss the first snow...but then it melts, slushey mud...nope..I'll just enjoy yours through your photos.

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful cam photos of the deer. The snow you can keep, I am hoping we do not get much this winter. Your Song Sparrow is cute too. Nice photos and post.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Good to hear from you Ruthie. I am glad the deer hunting is keeping you busy and not something dreadful like the flu or worse.

I don't think I know what a pocket gopher looks like. I can see the damage though. What a bummer. Those are some big holes. Much worse than moles.

The cattle are good looking. I don't think I have seen this variety around here. I read on an Irish blog that a lady out for a walk in the country got trampled to death by some inquisitive cows. That is a scary thought. Cows are inquisitive.

Gaelyn said...

Thanks for catching us up Ruthie, you certainly have been busy. The cows are adorable. Very fun to take candid shots of the deer. I like that kind of hunting. I too can live without the snow.

KGMom said...

Well, your not blogging for a bit is a relief to me--we have been busy with our daughter's wedding.
So, I have less reading to do on your place to catch up!
Look on the bright side!
Love the snow...

Birdsong said...

Nice collection of photos... it must be fun to see who visits during the night.

Jayne said...

Boy, it's been busy at the Johnson house! Love seeing your trail cam photos. Four inches of snow???? ACK! Glad it melted quickly. Sweet white faces in the field! Have a great day Ruthie!

Julie said...

Great deer pictures! I'd like to have one of those cameras set up in the house so I could see who is getting on the kitchen counter while I'm asleep!
Way Cool that you go snow!
Those cows are so pretty. I would have had to pet them. I want the one that has more black than the others.
So, one of the trails I've been walking on has a dead animal along side it. Its probably the size of Mr. Johnson's hand and has funny feet. Is it a mole? A vole? a gopher or what? They make tunnels right under the surface of the ground, that much I know. I was surprised by its size and its furry. Any idea?
I hope you have a good week!

Cindie U. said...

I love those white cows. I try and try to convince Ed to raise anything other than our crossbred black angus, but he says angus cattle is where the money have all black on our little farm (except for my Trixie).

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary Lee,
I thought the snow was quite pretty too -- just wish I hadn't had to drive in it.
If I had lots of money I didn't know what to do with, I'd have me a little farm with some White Park cattle as pets!

Hi Troutbirder,
I saw that on th Seed Savers website. These guys are much closer to me though--along Cty Rd 2 between Stewie and Chatfield.
There's a skunk living either in our driveway culvert or under the storage shed and the dog's going crazy about it. She didn't learn her lesson earlier this summer.

Hi Carol,
I don't have a motion light, but the cameras are motion-activated and have an incredibly bright flash. These deer are so tame that I can turn on the backyard light and even shine a spotlight on them and they don't run away!

Thanks Eileen. I have much better luck with the cameras in my backyard than out in the deer hunting woods (which is what we purchased them for). Also, I don't have to worry about someone stealing them in the backyard either like I do out in the woods!

Thanks Lisa. We've both been fortunate to avoid any illnesses so far this season (maybe those $$$ I spend on supplements really IS worth it!)
For us pocket gophers are easier to trap than moles. We've also got probably 3-4 moles and they're really making a mess of the backyard. They seem to especially like digging around under the birdfeeders.

You're welcome Gaelyn. I'm starting to think even if I didn't work at all, I'd still be behind in my blogging--it seems I can always find something that needs to be done around the house--inside or outside.

LOL Donna, at least you have a good excuse. I hope the wedding went well. Did you have nice weather? (I hope it didn't snow!)

Hi Birdsong,
It's always a fun to check and see what kind of critters visit the backyard overnight. I need to move one of the cameras lower and see if I can get any shots of the fox, possum, or whatever other critters are eating the dog food I put out too.

Thanks Jayne,
I'm looking forward to January when things really DO slow down at our house.

Hi Julie,
I wanted to pet them too, but didn't know how the people living right next to pasture would react to that. Maybe someday I'll just go up to the house and ask them about these cattle and whether they'd mind if I petted them.
Sounds like a mole to me.....did it have really fat, fan-like front paws with good digging claws, and no tail? Moles are about the size of a small guinea pig.

Hi Cindie,
I'm sure Black Angus are where the money is too -- otherwise there wouldn't be so many, right? I suppose the White Park cattle are so expensive that it would take quite a huge herd to get a return on your investment, but they sure are pretty.

Mama Pea said...

Do you know you've had more snow to date than we have? (What's wrong with this picture?)

Love those White Park Cattle. Don't think I've ever seen them before.

Boy, you can keep your pocket gophers! Talk about making a mess. Sorry to upset animal lovers, but I think they would get trapped out of my yard in short order!

Always good to see your great pictures.

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, yeah. You DO have a blog, don't you.


And why didn't you pet those adorable cows? I would have been kissing their faces. But that's just me.

Taos Sunflower said...

I love that you have the cameras out. I wish we had infrared cameras here so I could see what roams around at night. We find deer and elk scat, but seldom see deer and in 15 years of living up here, have yet to see an elk.

Pocket gophers, huh. Well Mr. Sunflower filled up one of the winter holes some industrious squirrel dug under our foundation and he obviously caught someone at home. The stink lasted for weeks. I have pleaded on behalf of those living in the other hole and think they've been spared this winter...I couldn't take the idea of the smell again!

Mary said...

Yes, kiss those cows, Ruthie. And, did I see S N O W? Whoa. Knock me over.

Hey, remember BWO Blogging Without Obligation? Hard to wrap your head around that, isn't it. I feel a pang of guilt every day.