Photo Friday: a changeling of a day

Yesterday I got up and didn’t have to dress like a polar bear.  I liked that, but it got better!  Due to my increased comfort I felt brave enough to just throw on some jeans, clogs and a sweatshirt to try to take some pictures in the fog.  I had wanted to try this since I read about it in Kerry Mark Leibowitz’ blog entitled Lightscapes Nature Photography.  The particular post I mention can be found HERE  <— (click)  but don’t pass up his other work it is breathtaking!

I will try not to be too wordy today, it will be hard, but I will try.  But first a word about picture quality.  If you want a really stunning view of the more artistic photos here, then please click them to sharpen them up!  😉

Ground fog in the country

I liked the stark beauty of these twisted branches against the muted background.

I wanted to share more of these with you, but this turned out to be the best of the bunch.  So, I will share some others that I took while out on my early morning excursion.


Farmers, being early risers, need a bit of light to keep things running smoothly.

We call these the Walkingsticks, but they’re properly called irrigation and they are huge.

Each section is roughly 10 to 12 feet in length.  This particular string was nine lengths long.  The rest of it is on the other side of the rise in this picture.  Notice the light in the upper right?

Each of the “walkingsticks” is attached to an underground water source.  As it runs, sorry I don’t understand the mechanics involved,  anyway, as it runs it slowly travels on the wheels and in a circuit around the well pipe to keep the crops irrigated.

This new to our area watering system was begun last year.  Trenches were dug, pipelines laid , and submersed pumping stations set up to keep the crops irrigated.  We are fortunate here to have massive underground water reserves to keep things growing even when it doesn’t rain… It’s all that limestone and underground rivers and caves!

A severe drought was the case in this post <— (click)  of August 2010,  and as it will happen, they’ve installed all the costly irrigation and now we have had plenty of rain.  However, better prepared than to do without!

It has in fact rained so much that the soil is saturated to the point that the water collects in puddles now and will not drain away.  Do you see the Alligator in this puddle?  😉

It takes very big equipment to prep all the fields and ready them for planting.  Big tractors, and other farm equipment leave big tracks in the soil.  You may have an opinion about Big Agribusiness and the practices they follow, but I will not get into that topic here.  Suffice it to say that you know my mind on gardening practice here on the Farmlet.

The lake scene above came from this set of mighty tractor ruts!

This compacted area will be like concrete when it dries in summer.  Note to self, when running out the door, take a moment to put on proper hikers, and not your nice expensive clogs!!!

Later that same day…

The sun came out and warmed the air to 76 degrees, everyone enjoyed  the break from the cold and gloom of wintertime.  This rise in temperature caused the sap to rise in the maple trees, which dripped down the trunks from the holes the woodpeckers had made.  It was a sticky mess but apparently, not everyone felt the same as I did.

Do you see her?

How about now?

She is sipping the maple sugar through a straw  her *proboscis.



The leftovers from last years harvest.


*NOTE I know that technically proboscis is correct, but it certainly lacks that alliterative quality of the word straw.  Does it not?

Once Upon a Time in the West: an encounter with tribulous terrestris

Today when browsing my email I read a post from a friend at bdale56, which led me to follow a link to littlesundog  .   I was curious about the blog’s name, as Little Sun Dog is what we sometimes call Tucker.   Therein, she had posted about ‘Damnable Weeds,’ and discussed the Goatshead bur.   That caused me to recall a time from my early childhood…

English: Tribulus terrestris (flower). Locatio...

Image via Wikipedia

The Goat’s Head Bur ~  looks tame, flower is cute, BUT… Read on friends.

Oh, how I remember those goat’s head burs!  My first, and worst, memory was from when I was a child of four.  I ran out into the field near our new house to catch a kitten and got stuck in the biggest sticker patch ever.  It had to be ten feet in any direction and I was right smack in the middle of it before I even registered the pain of my predicament.   With each step the bottoms of my little feet would become  covered in those evil stickers.  It was, as you might imagine, like walking on thumbtacks.  I lifted a foot, pulled them out, took a step and picked up more of the evil seed heads.

Tribulus terrestris L. - puncturevine thorns

Image via Wikipedia

Evil seed heads

Screaming and wailing piteously had  alerted a young teen passing by the field.  He yelled over to me and asked, “Do you need some help?”

To which I yelled back, “Nooooo!” 

Seriously.  My parents had raised me to never-ever talk to strangers, and he was a stranger.

Ignoring my protest, he crossed the field and came to my rescue.   Scooping  me up in his arms, he carried me out of the field, then sitting down, he carefully pulled each and every sticker out of my little feet.  My little face was hot, red, and covered in tears by the time he had finished.  I remember thanking him as he got up to continue his walk on down the road.  You know, I never saw him again, but he was at the top of my Hero list for a very long time!


Now you and I know that pulling weeds is not a chore that is enjoyed by anyone, especially a child,   and as I learned young to hate the weed, well eradication was never a chore!   In fact, I rather took joy in seeking them out and pulling them up as soon as I spotted them, anywhere, any time.


I am so glad that the evil Goat’s Head weed does not grow here.

No Photo this Friday: hankies required

To say that I have a close association with my geese is an understatement.  I have loved geese since I was a little girl.


It all started when I was about seven and a half, and my Mom and Dad brought home two little bundles of peeping, gray and yellow fluff.  They told me they were baby goslings and I named them Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose.   In those days we lived in a little house in the country and all our neighbors owned farm animals of one sort or another.  Some kept cows, others goats, and of course just about everybody had chickens.  But only we had geese, and I thought I was just about the luckiest girl on my road!

Guss-Guss, Goose-Goose and I became good friends over the summer.  They followed me everywhere in our big yard.  I would play my little bamboo flute and they would waddle along behind me peeping to the tune I made.

One morning while we were out playing I noticed the Oltmans looking at me and shaking their heads.  Later that afternoon they came over to talk to my Mom and Dad.  They said, “Mr. and Mrs. Strong we’re concerned about little Lynda, because lately she’s been runnin’ around in the field talking to herself all day!”  My parents had no idea what was going on, and became worried.  They called me to come in, and when I stepped out of the tall grass, out popped Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose!  They all began to laugh at the sight of me and my baby geese.  Then Mrs. Oltman looked back at my parents and said, “We thought she was talking to an imaginary friend!”

Well, by summer’s was end the geese were all grown up, and they still wanted to follow everywhere I went.  One morning I was late for the school bus and had to walk all the way to school.   Guess who came to school with me?  Yup, it was Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose.

When I got there I wanted to share them with everybody, but the Principal told me, “Lynda you can’t have geese in school because it is against the rules.”  He told me to wait outside with my geese.   Disappointed I went over to sit on the bench while he phoned my Mom to come get them.  When Mom got there all my friends were standing around and asking me questions about them.  So I guess, in a way, I did get to share them at school!

The bell rang for class to begin and my friends took off to line up.  I silently got up and walked over to help Mom to put Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose into the back of the station wagon.  She carefully closed the back door and turned to me.  The look on her face was not hard to understand, it said…

“OK this time, but never again.”


And so it is that I now have geese again and I love them.  Even better than my chickens.  (Though I must say that  the chickens will put up with being held better than the geese.)  I have watched, and shared, the hatch of Polly’s goslings with you, and they are growing so amazingly fast!

But, as with all little creatures on a farm or Farmlet, things can and do happen.

I lost one of the ganders (boys) to my dog.  It was very upsetting, but I thought I handled it like “a grown-up.”  I mean,  he’s a dog and the little peeper got over into the dog’s side of the yard.  I could just imagine the dog’s thoughts:  “Oooh, warm fuzzy squeaky toy!”  It happens.

But what happened last night will take some time to get over.

You see, I went out to do “**Chicken-thirty”  and when I got to the barn I saw that Polly had made quite a mess in the nest.  So I turned on the light, added some straw to the nest, intending to do the job proper first thing in the morning.  Then I turned off the light and started shooing everyone back into the nest.

That’s when it happened…

Stepping back in the dark my foot landed on one of the goslings.   I thought I had killed him outright, and in retrospect it would have been kinder to us both if I had, but it was not the case.  I made him as comfortable as I could inside the house while I tried to find a vet to help me.  By the way, there are very few bird vets, and even fewer that will take on poultry.  One ‘small animal’ vet I called was mad at me because I called her during her dinner and she very frankly stated,  ” … if it isn’t a small animal then it isn’t an emergency.”


I did find a bird vet today.  It would have been a 70+ mile drive, would cost about $300 for her to look at the baby and do x-rays, with splinting and hospital time being extra.  I do not have that kind of money.

I called my local vet next and made an appointment to take the little guy in to be euthanized.   He was so kind.  He checked him over for me even though he doesn’t work on birds.  Basically, he told me what I already knew in my heart.  That there was no hope.  But he took the time to explain to me why there was no hope, and he did so with such kindness.

There are some things you just can’t do no matter how much you may want to.  I really wanted to save my little gosling!  I am so upset, but that is principally because, I know it was my own carelessness that  caused the tragedy.

Now some readers will think I am over the edge to get so upset about a baby goose.  OK, perhaps I am.   However, I believe that some of you will understand… and so I’ve shared my feelings with you, because sometimes it just feels better to let it out.

**Chicken-thirty:  My term for that time of the day when I let out and lock up the chickens and the geese each day.