Actually, this first photo is an evening find. While doing my evening rounds, I walked past the feeding station, and found a family of skunks at the bird seed!
I left them be, since I’d rather they were eating the sunflower seeds than the kibble. On the way back, I startled a couple of little ones. This one went up against the house and just froze, watching as I went by.
Such a cute little baby!
On uploading the photo, I saw the strange dot on its head. Now that I’ve “upgraded” by trading phones with my husband, I have a camera with much better zoom quality, so I was able to get a closer look.
It’s a wood tick. A big, blood filled tick.
Poor baby! Mind you, it probably doesn’t even notice it’s there.
All the kittens have most definitely been moved out of the branch pile. I found one of the mamas on the wood pile (formerly a junk pile), so I brought a tray over and put it at the top for some kibble. In the past, we’ve got kibble trays on the ground near the pile, but with the skunks eating the kibble, and a ground hog still living under the pile, I figured it would be better for the kittens at the top. Not long after, I came by and saw three kittens at the tray. Two ran off immediately, but I managed to zoom in and get a picture of the little calico.
Oh, and that shredded orange tarp on there? It used to cover the entire top of this wood pile. It has been torn to shreds by the groundhogs, who have been taking the strands back to their dens to line their nests.
I suspect we’ll start seeing baby grogs in the not so distant future!
I’ve got some heavy duty tarps I found at Costco. They’re only 8′ x 10′, but that should be enough to cover the top of this pile. The layers of wood at the top had all rotted from years of exposure, but I’ve finally reached wood that looks useable, and I want to protect it. Hopefully, the grogs will leave non-torn tarps alone! If I do that now, though, I suspect the mama will move the kittens again.
The fourth kitten – the little tabby trying to get under Mom to nurse – was already at the laundry platform when I first came out with the morning kibble. The other two are the ones I saw running away from the kibble tray on the wood pile.
Unfortunately, there is no sign of the 6 bitty kitties. I don’t know where the mom took them.
This is another surprise find. The Wonderberries are starting to bloom again! The berries they had when they were transplanted have all ripened and fallen away (those that we didn’t eat), but there are new green berries forming, and new flower buds, too!
Next is a surprise find that shows just how wet the ground still is in places.
As our spring kept dragging on, we had a melt followed by a large snowfall. When our angel with the front end loader cleared our driveway for us, the snow was so deep, he couldn’t see where the driveway ended and the grass on the sides began. There was water under the snow, and when he went off the gravel with one side of the front end loader, the tires sank, leaving a trench several inches deep. I’ve yet to be able to mow that area as much as we normally would, because that side is still so much wetter. As I headed out this morning, I spotted these, growing in the sunken tire track.
Do you see those sprays of broad, flat leaves coming out of a central point in the mud? They are coming up along the entire length of the muddy tire track. Nowhere else along the driveway.
Those are bullrushes. AKA cattails. These normally grow in ponds. I’ve never seen bullrushes growing here before. The nearest bullrushes in the area are in a series of small ponds in the ditch along the road, a couple hundred yards away. Even the low area in the old hay yard, which actually became a bit of a pond this spring, does not have bullrushes in it.
I’m going to leave these be. Bullrushes are something I want to encourage, even if it is in an odd place. We’re not in a position to make use of them now, but we have plans to in the future. The more of them that starts growing now, the more they will spread and increase. That way, by the time we are ready to use them, there should be enough to harvest, without over harvesting. When we finally get to turning that low spot in the old hay yard into a pond that should hold water all year, I want to make sure bullrushes start growing in there, too.
Every year since we’ve moved here has been very dry. With this year actually having adequate amounts of rain, it’s been interesting to see what things are now growing where we didn’t expect.