For the Love of Critters

What have we been up to? Well, if you’re one of the boys, it likely involves some sort of critter. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of snakes but it seems my boys are budding herpetologists. Thankfully the only snakes we’ve seen around here are garter snakes which are at least harmless and they do eat a lot garden pests, like snails, which we have in abundance. While we are a little break from officially homeschooling we have been been learning a lot about garter snakes- what they eat, how to distinguish a male from a female, that they give birth to live young (often a lot of live young), how long they get, and so on. We’ve even begun measuring the snakes the boys catch.So far the longest has been a 25 inch long female- we’re guessing she’s about 2 years old since she’s not quite as long has females can get when they reach full size at 3-4 years.

It’s quite wet around here, due to the almost daily rain and the slight downhill drainage of our hayfield/backyard, so we also have some frogs- which the boys are quite adept at catching- mostly peep frogs who serenade us to sleep, and this green frog fellow.

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A peep frog.

DSCN2647 DSCN2655Luckily snakes and frogs aren’t the only fascination. We’ve also been observing butterflies and moths. Quite fittingly we just observed 5 painted lady caterpillars transform into butterflies.

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A virginia ctenucha Ezra caught.

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A little friend joining us for some pineapple juice breakfast.

Of course, the kittens are still favorites.

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And there’s always fun riding our buck Manson.

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What will they find next?!

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Springing Ahead: Around Fried Farm

As seen in previous posts this spring has brought us: bees, kittens, chicks, baby goats (1) (2), and oxen! Thanks to Struggling_along for struggling along Fried Farm has its first fenced pasture and a garden is under way. It feels late to be just starting on the garden but around here the cold temps linger – not even a week ago we had an inch of snow!

Sadly not all news has been good news. Yesterday we had a vet out to turn the oxen bulls into steers. Turns out one of the oxen (Will) may end up in the freezer due to testicular issues.

A few photos:

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Struggling_along working on projects. Stacked in front of him are some beams from the barn.

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Megan- never more than 10 feet from my side.

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Chevy rooting up each square inch of pasture he can get his nose on.

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La la Bianca enjoying some time out in the field with her mama (Rita).

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A quick! peek into the hive.

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The trees are blossoming and everything is turning green, fast.

There’s a lot to do!

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