Friday, June 17, 2011

Wild Kingdom

Yes, I am a terrible blogger. With so much going on, I haven't sat down to blog. For living in a subdivision, we have had a spring filled with animals! It has been quite the adventure, and one giant science experiment for homeschooling :). First came the ducks. We had this pair, who we named George and Gracie, hanging around our yard, and swimming in our pond. Our pond is about the size of a large bathtub, so Jeff kept joking that it was their own personal hot tub. They would let us get really close to them, and they weren't afraid of us. They were so cute.

Next came the chipmunks. Though absolutely cute beyond all reason, they were monsters this year. Normally we just have one that hangs around, and lives under our pond (it burrows a hole). It never really caused damage. This year, he or she must have brought friends and relatives. I looked out my window, about 2 feet from my garden, and this is what I saw coming out of a hole....

These cute little guys ended up dining on whatever they could. Thankfully our garden is fenced, but they burrowed under. We bought a live trap, and so far we have caught 10! We take them a few miles down the road in the country, and drop them off at an abandoned house in the field. That way they can still be a family, but not have my garden and plants as a smorgasboard.

Next came birds. Evie was fascinated by this baby robin. The nest had held 6 eggs, but something got to them. We think it was the chipmunks. We read that chipmunks will eat bird eggs. If a cat had got to it, the nest would have been on the ground. Evie spent her days video taping and taking pictures of this baby bird, who she named Birdie. She got to watch Birdie go from this....

To this....

Sadly, Birdie fell out of the nest about 3 days ago. We put her back, but she jumped out. Her parents came for 3 days and fed her on the ground. Today, Evie was watching her try to fly, and she fell as she was trying and broke her neck :(. Evie came running in the house screaming, and has been pretty sad today. It is hard to try and explain why things like that happen.

One of the coolest things we have been able to see is an Oriole nest. It is in our Sycamore tree, way up, and Evie noticed it first. She kept hearing this loud cheeping sound, and she looked up and saw the nest. Both the male and female come to feed them, and I have been video taping it because I had never seen an Oriole nest before. Here is the daddy feeding them..

He is such a bright beautiful orange. I wish I had a better camera to take pictures of them. If you click on the pictures, you can see it more closely.

This has been a hard year for strawberries this year. I planted 50 plants, and only 20 of them made it. On Monday, we bought 5 flats of strawberries from an Amish farmer, and I put 28 packages in the freezer. I kept a flat for eating, and for making jam. I made jam yesterday.

Tuesday, we got our chickens for the year. We always get them from an Amish farmer, and they are always so good. We bought 20 chickens, and came home and cut them up. We do this with Jeff's parents, who also got 20 chickens. It was a long day, but it is so great to have a freezer full of chicken!

I have lots of garden pictures, and more updates, but I need to end this now so I can go weed the garden!


winterwren said...

Hey, Jen,

I am so sorry about Birdie, especially for Evie's sake. That is so heartbreaking.

At our local wild bird store they have these really cool nesting boxes that have clear plexiglass backs and suction cups. You hang them from your window. Then you hang a one way screen on the inside of the window, so you can see the birds but they cannot see you. I have always wanted one, but we have so little space where we rent and my cats look out all our windows (the bird people said that cats would disturb the momma bird by hitting the glass.) That might be fun for Evie, though, if you have a window you can pet-proof.

winterwren said...

I tried to find a picture of what our local store sells on Amazon, but none of the products are the same. One looked very flimsy and got terrible reviews. This is closer to what the store here sells, but still not exactly.

I cannot find any pictures of those screens, either. If you ever did want to do this, I think your best bet would be to go to a local wild bird store, if possible.

Okay, that is all!

April said...

Oh, I like the animals you're seeing at your place more than the ones I've been posting about on my blog! Lol... The ducks really are cute (and I still want to get a couple... maybe next year). The chipmunks are super cute too but I'm glad you were able to move them to a better place. The must've really multiplied, huh? So sad that Evie had to see Birdie die though. I hope she is better today; death is so hard to explain. I'm 60 and still have a hard time with it, even though I understand it. The oriole is beautiful! I don't think we have them around here.

You sound super busy too Jen. I hope your garden it going well. Mine is finally planted and I hope to get pictures the next day or two - and will post them.

SchnauzerMom said...

I'm sad that Evie had to go through that. Sounds like you have been very busy.

Kelly said...

Sorry about Birdie, that had to be tough on Evie. But all the other critters must have made it easy to find home school topics.
Have a wonderful summer.

Jen said...

Winterwren - that nesting box sounds interesting! Evie would love it, that is for sure. I will check it out some more. We found a window bird feeder, which would also be quite fun for Evie. Thanks for the suggestion :).

April - I have been amazed at how many animals we have had this year! We live in a subdivision, but I think living so close to the water helps. I would love to get pet ducks, but there is no way Jeff would let me :). I love seeing all the pictures of your birds that you are getting! When you start getting more animals, it really will be like wild kingdom for you :). The death part is really hard. I guess it is good that we have a hard time with it. It shows that we have a soft spot for God's creation.

Can't wait to see your garden pictures!

SchnauzerMom - Thank you. Evie is doing better now. It is hard losing something you get attached to. And yes, we are BUSY :)!

Kelly - All of this activity really has made for a lot of homeschool topics. We had been following a specific curriculum, and I am ditching in next year so we can study science stuff that Evie likes, like birds, bugs, etc.! I hope you have a wonderful summer too!