Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Who Turned Off the Bird Channel?

L-R--Tempe, Trinity, Verity & Noah

..That would be me, and you would think the world ended.

Here's what happened. Over the summer the volunteer millet patch really exploded and took over. Normally I let a dozen or so plants mature for the 'free' self harvested birdseed in the fall. This summer after my tomato starts failed to thrive the garden spot went to seed as it were. The end result was that there was virtually a field of millet beside the house--some of it right outside the windows.
This was a bird paradise. Hence also a birdwatcher's paradise.

It had to be dealt with eventually as it really was messy looking. I let it go as long as I could, but it was time a few weeks ago. First I went through and cut off the seed tops. Some of them I wired up on the fence for the birds to help themselves. The rest went into a bucket to dry. I then chopped down most of the larger stalks. Finally I went over it all with the rider mower. My yard has been reclaimed!

The sheep enjoyed picking through the stalks, first eating off any missed seed heads, then eating the dry leaves.

While I was on that side of the house working, I went ahead and cut off a some Virginia creeper vines that had twined up the side of the house. This was a double whammy on the bird front as they were using those to hang off of while preparing to land in the millet patch.
As you might 'glean' from the title it was the cats that were most disappointed. They were used to the bird channel from sun up to sun down. Sometimes it was quite wild out there. There is still lots of seed out there on the ground that the birds will eventually start working on. And I'll soon be feeding the birds again, so the show is only on hiatus.

There were a bunch of these odd looking sacks on the millet stalks and the house. Not sure what made them. Any ideas? I hadn't seen any of these before. Hopefully they aren't Alien Seedpods.

This little project was done a few weeks ago when the weather was sunnier and very mild. It is not that way anymore, although so far we've missed the snow. The bitter cold though has found us. I spent this morning doing last minute winterizing, trying to get the critters set before the temperatures dropped this afternoon. The wind is suppose to get really gusty tonight so wind chills will be terrible.

Now, just for a minute let's revisit that first picture...this time with commentary:

1. Windows smeared and smudged by kitty noses and paws.
2. Current tied up out of the way, so it won't get in their 'way'. (i.e. I would rather them not tear the curtains down in their bird watching impatience)
3. Old tattered comforter covering the couch to keep it from getting hair covered and nail sharpened.
4. Screen on cockeyed because certain kitties keep hanging from it.

The world of a multi cat household! Have a great weekend.

"Now I'll have to entertain those brats!" says Sage


Kathy said...

Those odd looking bubble sacks on your stalks are (I'm pretty sure) Preying Mantis egg sacks. Each one will eventually produce a hundred or so baby mantids, so place them in a thick bush or something to give them some protection for the winter and when they hatch.
I'm planning to plant some millet next spring. I love how it draws the birds in, and so do my kitties!

Pat in east TN said...

Kathy's right ... Preying Mantis egg sacks. I always love when I find them around and make sure not to destroy them when I trim bushes and such.

Kathy said...

I just hung a "birdseed bell" up in the crabapple tree to "entertain" those who may be interested. This morning, in the sunlight, I saw all the nose prints, rub marks...well, you get the picture, on the windows. Guess they're wanting me to actually clean the windows for them!
And good onya for having mantis in your garden! They are great to have and keep the insects in check!

Michelle said...

I love both your new header picture and the first photo of the cats. It's really a lovely decorating touch, those cats! ;-) Will have to forward this to my friend Debbie, so she can see the latest Boone photo....

Kati said...

Mantis sacks. OOOOOOHHHH I am so jealous! Glad to see it is not just me who searches out your blog for Boone picures. You have inspired me to look for new beds.