Sunday, 29 July 2012

Walking the Land

With the hay now bush hogged and cut to some tree lines, my husband and I decided to explore the area and started out with great purpose. He did bring along a stick from the garage and I had my camera in hand. The day before in the evening we saw two coyotes slinking through the rise a little ways out where the deer regularly cross from the tree line to the larger woods. One was a darker grey brown and in the lead. The second was a lighter shade grey and halted momentarily when one of us spoke. We had the window opened and it was calm. He stared and then bolted for the woods. It all happened so fast that going for my camera was useless. It was exciting but also worrisome. 
As we headed out I thought that having a Nikon was a good choice after all. With the steel body it may add weight on a trek, but with the strap would make a hefty weapon if needed. We walked down on the cut area not seeing much action anywhere and entered the tall hay and ragweed wall. It was well up to my head. The farmer hadn’t quite cut to the woods edge as I had hoped. We waded through the weeds stepping down on hefty thorny stalks until we met the tree line. We were dismayed to see the branches and the growth in there. A machete would have been handy. It was another wall of small trees and still the weeds between them. When we emerged on the other side, we were met with another yellow wall of ragweed to counter. We did find a deer path soon and even saw areas where they rested and it was a relief to step into an open area even that small. We decided to head back through some more trees attempting to come out at the creek edge and from there to the driveway. 
As we moved forward, we flushed out three pheasants or partridge. I didn’t see which species; it was such a sudden flurry and flight. We fought the high grasses again and were disappointed that the creek edge was dry from the hot weather and fairly grown over with alders as well. So I suggested we head for the road. I could see the sweat areas on my husbands shirt and I was very hot by then and getting tired. We didn’t think to bring water on what was to be a stroll to the woods. When we emerged onto the drive, he was still determined to find an entrance to some woods so we headed to the back woods where we have been before. It is easier to access and he wanted to find the lot marker there. Once into the woods I found it not so easy as it was in the fall that we had entered before and walked  through the trees. It had flourished with new growth and was a tighter fit to get about. He found the marker and the red ties and placed them on a tree branch above so that it would be easily seen next time. I didn’t get much to photograph on this excursion except for ourselves, a lovely Queen Anne's Lace plant, a butterfly and weeds. My battery ran out as we discovered apple trees and a refreshing shaded, sunlit spotted path through some trees. Note to myself to be sure the battery is charged and to buy a back up next trip into town.
Not discouraged form our attempt to gain access to the rest of our land, we will prepare better and attempt another foray into the jungle known as the other half, again very soon.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Seeing Patterns

bush hogginh

I am starting to get familiar with patterns on the land now. I have been sitting on the deck and watching the birds and the deer peruse their territory. A hummingbird that is very bold or not familiar with people have been visiting me on the front and back decks. It flies right to my face, only a foot or so away, stops and seems to study me, and then zips away again. These strange face to face visits have happened several times but I haven’t been able to lift the camera before he dashes off again.The deer have been almost as evasive of my camera, but I finally got a few shots. We are not encouraging them to stay long as we are protecting our garden vegetables from the many deer that habitant the area. One deer brings her two fawns regularly and there is a lone wolf, which I call him, because he appears by him self in the front area fields. He seems to be puzzled about us and will stare for a while as if trying to figure from where we had sprouted. 
We have two red tailed hawks that also make about seven or eight searches low over the fields in a pattern that is interrupted when it spots and chases prey. We can tell it has something in its sights as it weaves in and out and sharply turns and makes a dive into the grass. 
With the hay cut now, we can see this action much clearer as it doesn’t hide the activity in the fields any more. It will also allow me to investigate the area with some convenience now. I have access to the tree line as well. We haven’t cut all the acreage so some will stay wild and be more of a hiding space for the birds and animals and remain in a more natural state. There is a bevy of birds in the tree line and they zip in and out from the fields and seem appreciative of our recent cutting. We are told that the insect level will go down with the hay cut. We haven’t really been bothered too much with insects here. It could be the breezes that blow through. It can be calm and hot and suddenly a breeze will flow through the trees like a wave and cool the area. 
I enjoy sitting on the deck and listening to the music in the trees as it starts at one end and flows through to the other end of the line. The branches seem to sing as the wind blows in and out and the chorus is embellished with the many songs of the birds. I know we must have many species by the variety of the chirping. The hawks shrill call is most recognizable of them all. I photographed many of the plants before they were cut with the bush hog. I intend to find out all the names of them and know what is growing on the land. Some like the daises and Queen Anne Lace are apparent but I was not sure of many of the common weeds. I will gather some tree leaves as well and make an effort to name the many varieties here. I know the alders as they line the creek running and cutting across the fields which drains the rain water. I will call it Alder Creek. 
Tadpoles getting legs
We are home now with the installation of a rural mailbox. A trip to the near town gave us our address. It wasn’t the one we had assumed but with a check of the post offices discovered the postal area cuts between our neighbour and our lot line. So we are in the next town with a different postal code. That was a surprise and we had to change again some of the address notifications we had sent out.
Momma and fawn

Storm clouds in big sky
We are also getting to know the area better.  The knowledge of the area is coming to us from default. A nail in the tire had us searching out a nearby service station and we had a lovely chat with the owner. He sent us from there after a spare tire change to the next town where we could buy and install a matching tire. So we looked about that town as well and had a coffee in the local shop while waiting for the car. On the way home one afternoon we stopped at the nearby community centre for a strawberry tea. We sat with an older woman who was alone at a table for four , as the other tables were quite full. We received much information about our neighbourhood and met her daughter and spouse. I wish to investigate the older stones in the accompanying cemetery. The daughter seem to be the historian for that cemetery. Meanwhile our daughter signed us up for involvement in the centre, so expect a call one day. Of course we are meeting people like the farmer who cut the hay and other services we have needed. We are definitely feeling more like home here and now visitors are fulfilling their promises to come to see us. A couple have just left and we expect more soon. We aren’t set up fully yet or have the house organized but are managing to receive people. That is making it our home as we introduce them to the house and local towns.