Monday, February 26, 2018

First Woodcock

Thicket found one woodcock on our run yesterday at the Old Biddle Place.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

February Pictures

A rainy Saturday gave me an chance to catch up on my blog.

A Golden Russet before pruning.
And after pruning. Although it looks quite sever the tree will put out plenty of new growth this summer.
 The Bluebirds are back and claiming their boxes.

A Mockingbird posing for me.
I spent several winter days building birdboxes. I built about a dozen to be scattered about the Homestead for Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and Chickadees. Although Titmice and Nuthatches will also use a  birdbox I haven't been able to lure any to my boxes yet.
I had to evict some mice who spent the winter in some of the boxes.

I cut scion wood from my apple trees in February. Scion wood is the one year old wood that grew on the tips of the branches last summer. This is the wood that I graft with. After being cut into lengths that fit in a gallon freezer bag I dip the ends in wax to keep the wood from drying out until I use it. Then it is stored in the refrigerator. Some of this scion will be shipped to grafters across the country that I have met through internet boards and I will in turn receive scions from them of trees I'm not growing yet

 The ice melted off the vernal pond a couple of days ago and the wood frogs have come looking for mates.
Our Black Pussy Willow bush says it's spring.

Several sunny days have the bees out and about.
Hopefully next week Thicket and I will be in the woodcock coverts looking for returning birds.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Pruning the Apple Trees

With over 100 mostly young apple trees my pruning chores aren't too over powering yet.  Here are some before and after pics of a Williams Pride apple tree. I grafted the scion to a "volunteer" apple tree in 2014 and hope to get some apples from it this year.

This pic shows the graft union.  I had cut the tree off at about chest height and used a "bark graft" to graft two pieces of scion to the trunk.
It was a dreary rainy morning and the pic didn't turn out very well, but you can see some of the unruly growth against the sky.
After pruning many of the limbs more air and light can get to the center of the tree promoting better health and hopefully some nice apples to enjoy this fall.
Although it takes time and work I enjoy pruning apples trees.  Choosing which limbs to cut and which ones to let grow you shape the tree into the form you want it to grow into.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Snowy Morning Pics

Just some random pics I took this morning as I did the chores.

The squirrels were out having breakfast in the snow.
Some of the Cochin bantam coops.

Thicket and Emma enjoying the snow.

The old Sinkhole apple tree still holding some fruit for the wildlife.

The #5 crab. I've been knocking off apples since early fall for the deer and it's still carrying a load of fruit.
Thicket says "what do you mean it time to go inside".

Sunday, November 26, 2017

One Last Hunt

Emma and I returned to the Shawnee Creek Covert on the last day of the season.

We found splash but only a few birds.

Emma on point.

Several birds gave me no chance for a shot, but I did manage to down a big hen woodcock with my left barrel.
And so ends another woodcock season. The birds seem to be migrating late this year. I found native birds early in the season, then mid season my coverts were empty as the natives had moved south and the northern birds had yet to arrive and now at the end of the season I'm finding the big hen woodcock who start south before the smaller males.
As I get older the seasons get more precious and the experience of walking through a lovely covert is in its self a wonderful memory, with the birds being a special bonus.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Flight of Woodcock

My friend Russell and I hunted the Shawnee Creek Covert with Emma yesterday and had a wonderful hunt. The birds were there and Emma was at the top of her game.  Three of her points resulted in double flushes with Russell and I both downing a bird on one of the points.

Russell was shooting  his grandfathers 16 gauge Model 12.
"The Twig"  the little Belgium 16 gauge hammergun did her job today.
Emma making a retrieve.
After a season of mostly empty coverts the woodcock seem to be moving south.
It was a hunt that Russell and I will recall for years to come.