Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Look Inside My Boxes

The Chickadees in the White Birch Box are just about ready to take flight. Looks to be 7 healthy birds, but there is one runt on the right side of the pic that probably won't make it out of the box. Mother Nature isn't warm and fuzzy in  real life.
Here's some "just out of the egg" Tree Swallows.
At the next box the mother Tree Swallow was waiting for me.
Inside she had 6 eggs.

The Vernal Pond Chickadee box holds some nestlings. I can't really tell how many. The chicks have somehow worked their way down to the bottom of the box and have no nesting material beneath them. Only time will tell if this is a fatal mistake.
This last pic is from a box in the Home Orchard. Most of my boxes are top opening, this one is a front opening box. The top openers are harder to clean but easier to take pics of the inside. The front and side openers are easy to clean up harder to get a good pic of what's inside. This is a Bluebird hen on a nest.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Wedding Anniversary

Some pics from Bear Rocks in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area of West Virginia where we were married 19 years ago today.

As you can see even on a sunny day in late May the winds are strong and cold on the Sods.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Mornings Walk

Just some pics from a mornings walk around the Back40.

A Tree Swallow on her nest. Wasps had built a nest on the inside of the roof, as I tried to destroy them one fell into the nest. Hopefully it will crawl up the box to the roof again and I'll dispose of it next time I check this box.
As I walked through some tall grass a small sparrow flew out at my feet. With a little searching I found this. I tied a piece of orange ribbon to a stick nearby so I could find the nest again and watch the eggs hatch and the chicks grow.
Some pears on a Staceyville pear tree. A bear had pushed this tree over a number of years ago but enough roots remained in the ground to keep the tree alive and it has started to produce pears for me.
My Ashmead Kernel apple tree has a nice set of fruit on it this year. In an attempt to keep insects at bag I have enclosed some of the apples in plastic ziplock bags. I've read about this technique so thought I'd try it.
The vernal pond is full of tadpoles probably Wood Frogs although I also had Spotted Salamander egg masses in spring.
The Bluebird nestlings have fledged. Here's a pic of them a few days before they left the nest.
And it won't be long before the Chickadees are big enough to fledge too.
I hope you enjoyed this walk around the Back40.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Added another one to the Stable

I couldn't resist temptation and added another hammer gun to my collection. She's a Belgium built 16 gauge with the Jones Underlever design. I've always lusted after a gun with this feature and Mark Larson of came up with a deal I couldn't pass up.

She has 30 inch steel barrels, a horn grip, and a wedge style forearm. Only time will tell how she'll stack up against Colette & The Twigg my two favorite top lever Belgium hammer guns.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Some Tree Swallow Pics

The Back40 Tree Swallows have finally decided to start a family. I found 6 eggs when I checked the box the other day.
The Home Orchard Tree Swallows still haven't started a family, but they are very obliging when it comes to taking their picture.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Good Little Mother

The temps were in the high 40's when I checked this Chickadee nest this morning. The little hen sat tight to keep her little ones warm.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On the Nest

My first nest of Chickadees are soon to hatch and as I went to check on them I tried a different approach to viewing the nest. Usually I would slowly open the top of the box, look in, and always the hen would fly off the nest. This time I slowly opened the box slipped the camera over the opening and took a pic without  looking in. This is the pic I got.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Limb grafts

I limb grafted to some Russian seedling apple trees that I had planted 6-8 years ago. This one is doing especially well. I grafted four limbs with Keegan's Crab scion (a late hanging variety from Northern Ireland) and have growth on all four scions.




Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bluebird Nestlings

All 5 of the Bluebird eggs hatched and their growing like weeds.

Another Chickadee Nest

I have another Chickadee nest in one of my boxes. The hen wasn't too pleased with me snooping around her eggs. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


A number of my apple grafts are "waking up".  With that comes hope that some day I'll be eating a Guyandotte Pippin , Kinnard's Choice, or one of the many other varieties I've grafted this spring.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Front Porch Makeover

 Nothing to do with my Allegheny Mountain Wanderings,  but the wifey wanted them posted and we all know what ever the wifey wants the wifey gets :).


 Makeover courtesy of the artistic talents of Deb Anderson.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Additions to the Back40

Four out of five bluebird eggs hatched yesterday.