Category Archives: Wildlife

Our little visitor.

IMG_2459Long story short: still no fox, but we had this little guy who was the nicest skunk I’ve ever met. He didn’t spray me once while I was uncovering the cage of all the hay and sticks we had hidden it with or while I was trying to open the thing. He made a mess of the cage digging up underneath it trying to get out though. Needless to say, he was very happy to be “living free and in the wild.”

Parsnip anyone?

A couple weeks ago, Joe was weedwacking around the wood piles and the apple tree. The next day, he broke out into a rash that blistered. We thought that it was poison ivy. It turns out the culprit was something known as wild parsnip. Wild parsnip is a very interesting, and beautiful plant that can grow up to eight feet tall.

Look at all those wonderful, happy looking yellow flowers! I love the looks of them, and given that they have edible roots, am very happy to know that we have an abundance of food in our backyard that we didn’t even have to think about growing. (Too bad neither of us really care for parsnip.)

From what research I’ve dug up this morning, wild parsnip was brought over by the settlers as a main staple crop. When it was “traded up” for the potato, the plants began to run rampant and now inhabit all but four states of the US – Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Hawaii. Like most plants that came over on the ships, it’s considered invasive, but very little has been done to help eradicate it as local plants are not directly harmed by it.

We have even more over in the area across from the main garden!

While the roots are edible, the plant itself is horrendous. Wild parsnip plants contain furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis, which in a simple way means that the chemical combined with UV rays creates a chemical reaction that will burn. Theses burns will blister in a matter for 24 – 48 hours and dissipate, leaving behind dark spots and lines that somewhat resemble freckles. These markings can take anywhere from two months to three years to go away. If you get the sap on your skin at all, it’s recommended to wash with cold water and stay indoors. Sweat will exasperate the process, as will heat and sun. Some folks suggest seeking treatment from a physician or pharmacist as this is technically a chemical burn, which makes me very glad I had Joe doing a baking soda paste on his arms to help combat it.

The only way to really remove the plant is to mow or wack (with protection obviously) consecutively, pull the plant up roots and all, cut the plant off at the root with a spade, or own a cow. A little area in my mind is now trying to figure out the possibility of owning a cow on such a tiny plot of land…

Cell phones and bees…

Recently, there has been some information circulating around the internet about cell phone and their frequencies causing part of the driving off and dying off of bees. While this is by no means the only source of Colony Collapse Disorder, there’s a good chance that it might be part of it, especially given that cell phones are still a relatively new technology and one that we’ve discovered may also be doing damage to humans.

Regardless of what your individual stance is on cell phones and their interaction with your own personal being, I think it might be time for this family to put a ban on cell phone use in the yard.

Snow, Turkeys, and the Great Blue Heron

I know I promised an updated picture of the “after” of the snow storm, but I think that might have to wait until later. Between locking myself out of the house yesterday and shoveling this morning, I need a few more cups of tea before I venture into the cold again. That being said, I have not been wasting any time this morning! While I’m not the greatest photographer, I have been taking plenty of shots of the wild life around here.

I’m proud to say that the turkeys are back! I know that this isn’t the best photo, but it was taken through the kitchen door window so as not to disturb them. It seems that the tom has increased his flock. This past spring there were only three hen, now there seems to be three more; a flock of seven! Here’s hoping that they stay around. This is the second day so far that they’ve come by.

When I looked out the bedroom window, after noticing the flock, I thought that there was another turkey playing in the stream. Them I noticed how long the legs were; definitely not a turkey.

Here again, the picture was taken from my window, so it’s a little fuzzy. Joe was a little worried at first as to why this youngin’ was wandering around out in the snow. The great blue at his parent’s house has never been seen during the winter. Well, after some searching, they are considered year-round birds, but some of them take off for Central America during the winter. Apparently this little guy likes the snow.

It did take him a while to get over to his fishing spot, though. The turkeys, specifically the tom, was staring him down for close to twenty minutes before he decided to scoot across the lawn instead of wading in the stream. Regardless of their differences, all eight birds are still out back enjoying the beauty of the morning. For this alone it is worth it to live and the dead-end of a road unadulterated by traffic and neighbors.