Category Archives: The Farm

What’s going on on the farm, in the gar­dens, and out in the woods.

New Glass

We spent a lit­tle time down at the expen­sive toy store ear­li­er this week­end. We came away with two new-to-us lens­es.

The first is rather dull — it’s a straight across replace­ment for the 70 – 300 that we already had. The new one has VR, Nikon’s image stabilization/vibration reduc­tion pack­age. The longer the lens the more I appre­ci­ate VR.

The sec­ond lens is a bit more inter­est­ing. A 12 – 14 f4 aspher­i­cal. (Tok­i­na.) We bought it because I want a wider lens for get­ting good shots of the crowd­ed nar­row streets and aisles in Mex­i­co. So that I can get things like these pic­tures of the road to the farm.

heading down the road

our road

I’m con­sid­er­ing using this one on the new Black­dog and Mag­pie web­site design. Doing some thing with a ver­ti­cal image on the left side rather than the total­ly pre­dictable head­er image.

the road outta here

look­ing down the road from the pas­ture

If you know my back­yard well you’ll be able to see the amount of squash­ing in this pic­ture. It’s actu­al­ly a long way from the rock pile to the edge of the saw buck. You can also tell that the hood doesn’t fit  per­fect­ly and that at 12mm there’s some inter­fer­ence with the edges of the image. Oh well, I’ll have to see what I can do about it.

the rock pile never gets smaller

the back side of the work yard

The oth­er rea­son for get­ting a nice fat round lens is to be able to take good land­scape pic­tures. Admit­ted­ly about the only thing we have around there this fall is green but it’s nice crisp detailed green.

green and lush even in late summer

why yes, we have a few ferns

And some more green things.

shiny leaves

more foliage, up close this time

But best of all is the abil­i­ty to get close and shal­low on those days when the lilies look good but the patio fur­ni­ture is a lit­tle dingy.

that's hot

the last of the Stargaz­er lilies for this year

In this morning’s exper­i­ment­ing I found that the cam­era con­sis­tent­ly over expos­es shots if I let it have too much say in the expo­sure, espe­cial­ly if I let it choose a shut­ter speed. A lit­tle care in shoot­ing and a  lit­tle nudge in Light­room and I get those love­ly water drops on the lily… hap­py.

This time next week I’ll be writ­ing the first of the posts from Oax­a­ca and the Mex­i­can bicen­ten­ni­al cel­e­bra­tions. Can’t wait!

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy

(edit — this is old. I mean, real­ly. The pup­py already lives with us. It’s utter chaos.)

I didn’t intend it to hap­pen this way. I mean, I did intend to some day, per­haps not too long from now, get anoth­er Bou­vi­er. But not right now. Except that right now is how it hap­pened. Or will hap­pen. Real Soon Now.

Ivan passed away on April 4th. Sud­den­ly. It was all a bit dra­mat­ic and unpleas­ant and, well, unfor­tu­nate. So I wrote to Susan to let her know. And then it all hap­pened. There were pup­pies. And one male unspo­ken for. And Jim and I talked about it and… and…

in the words of my friend S. Pup­py, pup­py, pup­py. She’s also the one who said, omg _eyebrows_

So here we are with a pup­py in-bound and I gave away all of my baby gates to peo­ple with actu­al­ly babies and the ex-pens last held sheep and the crates are bro­ken down and stored in the barn and the old lady dog will not know what hap­pened to her qui­et, order­ly, bor­ing life.

We vis­it­ed last week­end. They were 712 weeks old and goofy and adorable in the way that Bou­vi­er pup­pies are. I have pic­tures and video to prove it.

 

 

The Things You See in the Woods

For Christ­mas this year we got our­selves a cou­ple of game cama­ras so that we could get a bet­ter look at the ani­mals ( includ­ing neigh­bors) who are using the net­work of trails that goes through our woods. (Peo­ple out here in the West usu­al­ly call what we’ve got for­est. But I’m old school and from the East, where the 20 acres that we’ve got would be called a Woods. So Woods it is for me.)

The cam­eras are a pair of Brown­ing Strike Force (BTC-5). We got a two pack on sale. They take day­light col­or pho­tos and night­time infra-red. They can also shoot video but we haven’t exper­i­ment­ed with that yet.

Each pho­to comes with a bunch of data at the bot­tom. Tem­per­a­ture, moon­phase (use­ful at night) date and time, as well as a set­table cam­era name. We have one that’s unnamed and one that’s named BDF TWO.

Pret­ty typ­i­cal in the day­time pho­tos are the deer. This was tak­en at the inter­sec­tion of the two main paths to the imme­di­ate south of the log­ging road.

This spot at is at the intersection of two main paths.

Typ­i­cal Deer Shot

We also get oth­er people’s dogs. Any­one know this fel­low?

run, run, they're coming

Run­ning Dog

The night pic­tures can be pret­ty —  shots of the deer brows­ing or trav­el­ing to sleep­ing spots. I’m think­ing that the next time we move the cam­eras I’ll try to find a fre­quent­ly used sleep­ing spot for one of them.

This spot is off of the path back to the garage. It’s at the junc­tion of two deer trails that can’t eas­i­ly be walked by humans.

Maybe she stepped on a slug?

Tiny Steps

Who's there?

Look­ing Up

A few min­utes lat­er anoth­er deer comes by.

Yummy fern shoots

Night Brows­er

Late in April we had a new night vis­i­tor.

It’s the first sight­ing of the bob­cat that we thought might be hang­ing around. (Look at the low­er cen­ter of the frame.)

well hello kitty.

Bob­cat!

Note the short tail with the dark tip.

padding along in the night

Cat Butt

bye!

Part­ing Shot

We’ve had no sign of the bear that was here last win­ter. Maybe he and the bob­cat aren’t amenable to shar­ing turf?

Well, we did find this Bear.

Jim on a trials bike.

The Papa Bear Out Rid­ing

And here Jim is walk­ing the dog in the morn­ing before it’s light enough for the cam­era to switch to day­time. (Yeah, it says 8:45 but I think the cam­era missed day­light sav­ings time — besides it stays dark in the woods.)

hurry up Dad

Are You Com­ing?

For some rea­son (cam­era tim­ing?) we get lots of butts.

tails up!

Lots of These Butts.

Jim on the trials bike.

Moto Butt

The two most com­mon butts in the woods. Me and the Big G.

oof, not flattering.

Let’s Go!

 

In the Woods

We moved the game cam­eras to new loca­tions two week­ends ago.

This one we thought was a sleep­ing area.

1150:060515:59F:BDF ONE   :5

1150:060515:59F:BDF ONE :5

But a cou­ple of weeks of obser­va­tion reveals noth­ing.

The oth­er cam­era was placed at the south end of the sep­tic field. An open area sur­round­ed by for­est and home to at least one bun­ny colony. Which explains the pres­ence of this fel­low.

1207:060415:54F:BDF TWO   :5

1207:060415:54F:BDF TWO :5

He gets a close up.

1207:060415:54F:BDF TWO   :5

1207:060415:54F:BDF TWO :5

We’ve also got the required butts. This one is espe­cial­ly graph­ic.

1905:061315:59F:BDF TWO   :7

1905:061315:59F:BDF TWO :7

And a nice shot of the neighbor’s dogs hav­ing a bit of a romp. Giv­en the time stamps I’d guess that they had pur­sued the deer from their own yard to our woods.

1911:061315:59F:BDF TWO   :7

1911:061315:59F:BDF TWO :7

Game Cameras in the Late Winter and Early Spring

It’s been a while since I’ve post­ed any of the game cam­era pic­tures. Even when we are ignor­ing them they sit in the woods and on the dri­ve­way and qui­et­ly go about their busi­ness.

Most­ly we get shots of deer. A few of which have iden­ti­fi­able traits. There’s Torn Ear.

wonder how it got that way

Torn Ear

and one that I call Short Neck.

plays football?

Short Neck

We see lots of butts.

the big predator goes for a stroll

Night Time Walk

going off road on the way home?

And the Big Bike

back to the short bus

Back of the Defend­er

We’ve seen a coy­ote a bunch of times. For a cou­ple of days at a time about every month. Both in the woods and on the dri­ve­way. Giz­mo tracks something/someone up the low­er pas­ture road most morn­ings. I think the coy­otes are around more often than they end up on cam­era.

going for a stroll

Coy­ote Walks Down the Dri­ve­way

And sur­prise! We spot­ted a pair.

are you coming with me or not?

Two! Coy­otes

We also get occa­sion­al sight­ings of Bob the Cat. Only in the sep­tic field nev­er on the dri­ve­way. I can’t fig­ure out how he’s get­ting onto and off of the sep­tic field.

looking for something

Bob the Cat

Occa­sion­al­ly the cam­eras get arty.

arty, no?

Game Cam­era Art

We’ve pulled that cam­eras in for down­load­ing and bat­tery replace­ments. They should go back out this week­end. We’re going to move the one from the sep­tic field to down at the oth­er end of the pas­ture near the manure pile. See who’s using that low­er pas­ture road. More pic­tures next month. (maybe)

More from the Game Cameras

June was a bad month for game cam­eras. One of the Brown­ings died — no idea why. And the replace­ment Bush­nells are tak­ing some time to get set up the way we want them. Still there were a cou­ple of inter­est­ing sight­ings and good pic­tures.

Things we see dur­ing the day:

two up on the huckleberry

two up on the way out

We’ve seen both the res­i­dent does —  skin­ny neck and ragged ear. There’s also a lit­tle buck­ling but he’s not show­ing up on the cam­eras yet.

skinny neck

skin­ny neck

ragged ear

ragged ear

There are two coy­otes:
We’re still learn­ing to tell them apart. One has very dis­tinct col­oration on his face. The oth­er is not so dra­mat­i­cal­ly marked.

coyote #1

first there is this in the sep­tic field — blur­ry as heck

coyote number 2

30 sec­onds lat­er on the pas­ture road (the female?)

wiley

this is the male — I think.

Things we see at night:
The deer of course.

deer in the night

deer in the night

and our only shots of the coy­ote pair togeth­er.

two fer

coy­ote pair going up the dri­ve­way

scary eyes!

coy­ote pair com­ing back down the dri­ve­way

Equal­ly flashy but not so scary.

to up on the way back from Lyle Lovett

That’s some flash gear.

trash night in the sticks

not so wildlife

after concert stroll

an evening walk in the rain

Game Cameras Early Fall 2016

or… What’s Doing on the Farm

We’ve had a bit of a fail. One of the cam­eras was hors de com­bat due to a mis-for­mat­ed card. The cam­era locat­ed in the sep­tic field took no pic­tures dur­ing Sep­tem­ber and Octo­ber.
Mean­while — here’s what’s been doing on the pas­ture road and dri­ve­way at the begin­ning of fall.

Our bear has not left the area. Though by now (ear­ly Novem­ber) he’s like­ly denned up and tor­pid for the win­ter.

tromp, tromp

Back and cruis­ing up the dri­ve­way like he owns the place.

We’ve seen this bob­cat twice, about three weeks apart, near the pas­ture. I sus­pect there would be more pic­tures of him (her?) on the sep­tic cam­era if it hadn’t failed. It’s inter­est­ing that the coy­otes are nowhere to be seen since the cat has been around.

IR is magical.

Bob­cat sight­ing

still hanging around

A sec­ond sight­ing of the bob­cat 3 weeks lat­er.

Then there’s this night crea­ture.

evil stalks the woods.

Rarely sight­ed. The land­shark by night.

In ear­ly fall we’re still mow­ing the verges and road­sides. Jim often com­bines tak­ing the trash cans to the road with a quick pass along the sides of the dri­ve­way and around the pas­ture fence.

shorter grass!

Mow­ing hap­pens in the fall too.

And the cam­era con­tin­ues to cap­ture the occa­sion­al arty shot.

does that look like art?

The trac­tor doing its week­ly chores.

The big news around here for Octo­ber was Jim’s new knee. He had surgery on the 11th. For the two days that we were at the hos­pi­tal and the first cou­ple of weeks after we had a lot of help from friends and neigh­bors. And because we’re kind of creepy like that we’ve got pic­tures. 😀

happy dog has friends

Shas­ta and Jack walk­ing Giz­mo.

more friends, more help, more gratitude

Yoav head­ing home after help­ing with the farm chores.

Jim is start­ing to get back into the swing of things. One of his big accom­plish­ments was to get out and walk around the pas­ture.

progress is measured in footsteps

Jim takes his first walk after the new knee install.

Life goes on and the sea­sons turn here on the farm. Bucky has reap­peared — with a nice set of points in vel­vet.

nice rack

Bucky is back!