Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts from Harvey

Hey Harvey, you look like you're thinking about something.  What could be on your mind?

I'm thinking about how this is my favorite time of year!

It is, eh?  And can you tell us why it's your favorite?

I finally get to visit some of the ladies on their side of the fence!

It's that time already?  Jeez, it feels like I just got done bottle feeding, here it is time to start working on creating next years kid crop!  I guess I better finish up working on the breeding schedule.

You do that, and I'll continue practicing my lady-killer moves. *wink*

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What a Pest!

One of the important aspects of being a farmer is attention to details.  Especially little details.  Noticing the little things, or I should say, the beginning of a problem, allows you to get a handle on things before they turn into big problems. 

This evening, as I was walking by the grape vines that are (hopefully) destined to someday provide shade to our deck and some fall fruit, I noticed something "off" about one of the vines.

Hmmm. Sudden defoliation.  In summer.  Nope, not normal.

Look a little closer, and aha!

Was trying to get a clear view of both caterpillars, but what is clearest is the damaged leaf!

These are either tobacco hornworms or tomato hornworms.  You could probably tell if they were in focus, but the light was funky, and I was in a bit of a rush.  What is strange is that I don't think we have seen these on the tomato plants, which are only a foot or two shorter than our apple trees, and here they are on grapes.  Grapes are not one of their favorite foods, so that makes it especially weird that they aren't in the forest of tomatoes, but on some rather small vines where I was able to spot them relatively easily.

What can I say?  We live to be outliers.

"Head"-on view of caterpillar noming away on a grape leaf.

These are very fat caterpillars, with front ends that remind me of some sort of alien, or possibly hagfish (so gross!).  Those little feet-like appendages are very grippy, and when I tried to pull the first one off the vine, the front end whipped backwards after my finger in attack mode.  When that didn't get rid of me, it squirted some thick green goo out of it's head...unexpected, sure, but not enough to keep me from adding it to the bucket destined for the chicken house.

Hopefully, catching these now, before they burrow into the ground, to emerge as reproductive adult moths in the spring, has helped to nip this problem in the bud.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Phriday: Siblings

Given the opportunity, siblings born into our herd will hang out with each other on a regular basis.

Our border collie taught them how to stare

Sometimes though, we wonder if they are conspiring to do...something...


So far though, neither of them are talking.

Oh no, we weren't talking about you at all. Nope. Definitely not...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo Phriday: Farm Visitors

Having a farm means you get visitors.

Sometimes, they just show up, unannounced.

And they bring a friend

Or two.

They tend to hang out and poke around for a little while,

and the best ones show themselves out.

For the curious- these are wild turkeys, of which there are several flocks in the immediate area, though we don't see them all that often on our farm. While we've not had any problems with them being aggressive towards us, when I lived in Contra Costa County, some of the flocks at the base of Mt. Diablo had a reputation for being quite aggressive. I was never sure how much of this was actual aggression versus people just being very unfamiliar with wildlife.