Monday, August 29, 2011

Deer Freinds

 Baby deer looking to mother for guidance.

After pulling the weeds out the ones that stick in the hair of everyone it turns out it's a nice place to hang out. I had just watered the area so it was a little damp and cooler because of it. I've pulled out more so the none native grasses since then and the native plants are making it look green.

Forest friends

 Blue Jay on the railing having some scratch. I am that close. The jays and other birds will keep a bit of distance from me and I can see why seeing this large animal coming around them, it's just a size thing. I do get to stand in one places as they fly over to me and as long as I'm relativity still they continue eating until they can't put any more in their mouths. They have to be the stunt fliers of the birds. I'll see them what almost looks like them dropping from the sky and land. I found that they will eat their fill of food then continue packing their mouths and take that off to a stash place where they hide what they have picked up. I believe crows also do that. Seeing them holding a larger seed with there feet and peck at it then eat the insides is amazing to watch. It's great to watch them in the morning. Soon as I walk out the door I'll hear calls from one jay to the others. They will see me putting out feed and call their buddies. No matter how cold it is I'll see them at the water splashing in it getting clean. Nothing like a bath in the morning to wake one up. Wonder if they would like coffee too. My railing has gone from that red to green now. Two coats of green enamel and a good sanding. Just have a little bit more to go one the front porch and it will be done. Was thinking of painting the roof a corrugated steel I put up last year or the year before. I reinforces it so it's strong enough to stand on. I figure a white or light color would reflect sun light and heat away. This might make it cooler under the roof.
 Kitties on the plank. I've made a sort of playground for the kittens and they really like climbing on things. I've never seen cats do as much climbing as these guys do. It's follow the leader all the time.
 Don't take my picture! Not the flash! My eyes. My big buddy didn't like flash photography. He's cool George from my first two skunks, George and Martha. He's very friendly and comes up to me when I call "Buddy." He also lets me pet him and I pick off the burs in his fur and tail. The cutest thing is when he stand up to get closer to me. Some time putting his hand on my leg. He's been here 6 or 7 years now and was this big when he got here. He's the largest of all the skunks. If I get up early and go up the hill I'll find him laying out in the sun watching the sunrise. Skunks do come out in the day time and do like the sun. They just don't like it when it's real hot. Out of all the skunks George is mister mellow and walks around with his tail almost dragging. It amazes me how clean they keep there hair. It's always clean and mostly bug free. I don't see flees here. I noticed that I did see flees north across the American river where it's much dryer. I've only seen a couple tics here in all the years here. Yellow jackets everyone hates besides the big house flies which are starting to show up this time of year. Since it's so warm out I'll find the skunks laying on the concrete or in the yard cooling off and cleaning. They lay at the edge of the porch with their heads poking over the edge looking out at the yard. Each skunk's got a unique personality too. I remember when I first started seeing them come around, their hair looked so soft. Then I heard companies back east raise skunks for the fur trade. You can also buy de-gland skunks in pet stores. Since they have bread them in captivity they now come in many colors beside black and white. PBS.ORG has a Nature show about skunks and it's worth watching because it will give you a different insight into them. There's a teacher that was doing show and tell about skunks and the kids were just amazed. She had a sling like shoulder bag on and at the end of her talk she pulled out a skunks, a full functioning skunk. The kids at first looked with wonder hearing it had it's glands and could spray them. She held the skunk and asked the kids if they would like to pet her. Of course the kids did and came right up. I think the first things out of their mouths was it's so soft.  The ferret like face looking at you really does grip you. They can have a meek look I found as they come up and a more happy look once they feel safe. It's real sad that people think skunks are carries of rabies because they aren't. They can get infected just like anyone else. In the forest they are the clean up machine. They eat bugs that people don't want to have around. Also get gophers and moles eating your gardens and making tunnels all over where when you step your foot goes into the tunnels and you almost break your ankle. I did that many times here until I had raccoons and skunks coming around then my gopher and mole problem went away. I still have what I think is someones escaped hamster tunning around here. I had a rat and mice problem but they seem to go away too with the owls moving in. I have two types of owls here. I don't know the types just that ones a big one and the others are small.
It's baby turkey with mom out walking and learning where the foods and water is. They come by every day walking the same route around the yard. They come down the hill stopping by the picnic table where bird seeds has fallen on the ground. Then it's a few feet more over to the water. They like going through leaf piles. They scratch at the leaves revealing the bugs below. There's one type of grass with a long center section where the seeds grow. The turkeys will grab the stalk and pull it tight until they get to the seeds and get them as they pull it through their beaks. Momma turkey makes little peeps and she walks ever so slow with her baby. As the baby grows mom with teach the babies where the best dry dirt is for a dusting of dirt to get rid of insects. I'm not sure why they lay in the sun, sort of one their side with one wing open. Then they flip around and do that to the other wing. They spend a lot of time taking care of their feathers. Little baby learns from a young age it needs to follow moms lead and start mimicking mom and taking care of it's new feather.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Looking out the front door

 A look from the porch down at the road where the Sunny Boys are eating grasses.

Sitting at the computer with the door open and a visitor comes up to see me. She will walk right up to the doorway on the porch after climbing the stairs.

Close up of tiny bugs

 Tiny white insects on a blade of grass.
Seeds have fell off where I was feeding some birds until the kittens got to big. Just one of these seeds made this large plant about 2 feet tall. Seeds are about an 1/8 inch across. Going to try to grow more of these plants around the yard for the birds and deer.


Now that's a moth. The vertical metal bar is 1/2 inch, 12mm -13mm. The eyes reflect light back out and with UV light they light up. They blend in with tree bark which fits the area. I've seen only one bug bigger then this one that hit the screen door one night. I thought it was a bird when I looked. Looking closely at it I discovered it was a very large insect and happened to be one of the types of bark beetles. As the year goes by, different insects come and go. There's a small stingerless wasp about the size of a somewhat large ant that starts coming out this time of year.  They are very annoying because you will find them crawling just about everywhere when you decide to relax. Under the eye glasses is really the most annoying. Birds show up at different times of spring and summer depending on the type of insects. Worms are a favorite treat for the robins. If the ground is wet in the morning the robins show up. There are several other bird I see bathing in the morning at the water. They have to get the little bugs out of their feathers. Turkeys on the other hand take dirt bath and choke the pests away. It's so interesting to see mother turkey teaching baby bird how to do this. Long lived animals have so much teaching they do. For a male it's several years before he moves up to a leader. The seven girls a group from one family of turkeys didn't mate but stuck together for two year and mated on the third. This same group of girls chased off a black bear, charging at the bear wings flapping and crying out. The bear took off running cross the road, down the bank of the creek and up the other side disappearing into the trees of the forest.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Looking Up

So, what's out there. Lots of things like this the Andromeda galaxy. Something the size of the moon across but real faint on the sky. There are more then one galaxy here. The two in the foreground and the smaller spots in the background. M31 the main picture and M33 the lower center galaxies. Then there are the globular clusters groups of stars in a group. It's amazing how big this is and because of light pollution had to see without a telescope. You can see the ghost star at night if you know where to look. There's a lot of free star programs that are open source free to download and have. It's amazing what the space telescope Hubble has shown us. Now NASA is making a new telescope to replace Hubble, The Web telescope will be 80 foot across and be stuck away from earth. It's amazing to thing that a rocket will put this telescope out there where it unfolds and becomes a mirror with in wave lengths of being perfect. Unfortunately the tea baggers said you went over budget and we are going to cut your funding to punish you. This is a one of a kind telescope something never made before and boneheads that don't understand anything about science or economics are making judgments about what NASA's doing.  So the parts are made and now it need to be put together in a clean room a real big clean room. Shall we give the Chinese the telescope parts so they can finish it? Remember the tea baggers were ready to crash the economy to prove their point. What that point was is their heads are very pointy.

Herd of Quail

Was driving slowly up the road when I saw the quail on the side of the road. I've seen them here a couple times before in the low brush. It's real good cover for them. When I first saw them they were a lot smaller. They are growing fast. I've had a couple quail coming by over here and would let out a whistle to tell them where I was. This let me walk right by them without them flying off. They seem to sense whether your going to harm them or just walk by.

Lady Bugs

I was looking at this orange color and wondered what it was so I got closer and discovered it was moving, it was Lady Bugs. Thousands and thousands of Lady Bugs on the roots of the tree near the creek.

I first was shown the lady bugs a couple months ago when they were cutting down the grass in the park with weed eaters. One of the guys brought me over to one side of the creek where they covered the ground. I was heading to town at that time and by the time I got back it was dark out. I forgot about it thinking they would be gone. At that time there was millions of the lady bugs covering the ground in an area about 50 by 50 feet. I looked across the creek to see if they were still there in the grass after it was cut down but they weren't. They must have been feeding on the grass that was growing there before it was cut down. I've noticed that some plants will grow in only one spot. It might be just the right amount of shade, right amount of water, right amount of sun. Also some plants will grow under other plants and you never see those plants because of the taller plants cover the smaller plants. When you cut the taller plants away then the plants under the taller plants will die off because they can't handle the harsh sun light. It's like having pine trees and under them ferns growing in the shadows. There are wild flowers here that only grow under some trees. I have wild lilies that grow only under one spot of pines. There's a blue flower and a white flower that hangs downward like a lantern that only grows in one area around here. There's one flower that grows near the apple trees and no place else.

Kitties on the Fence

Little deer looking at the little kitten. It's a new face running around. The Sunny Boy wants to make friends with his new found friend. I've noticed the deer come up to all the babies no mater what kind of baby they are.

When I moved in here the fence was falling down. I used screws and wire to hold it together and covered that with this rope like material that was from an old rug I found here. Since then moss has started growing on the cord. I was more motivated back then and my back was in better shape so I was able to get around a lot better.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Warm Cloudy Night, Full Moon and Meteor Shower

Was a full moon and the clouds rolled in yesterday. I could hear thunder miles away up the mountain where the clouds touch the ground along with the lightning. There's that annual meteor shower going on but the moons like takes that away to a point. If you face north with the moon to your back you should see them. It's not just one night if you hear it on the news but a period where it goes from a few per hour to many per hour as we pass through the debris of a comet that has gone by.

Was out on the porch with my little friends when I saw one buddy that walked a was to get here and was covered with the Velcro like seeds. I got a hair brush and started brushing her. She didn't mind and sort of backed into the brush. I could tell as I pulled the seeds out it was pulling on her hair and she would make a little sound but didn't run away. She didn't like me brushing her tail and would drop it away from me. I resorted to picking them off one at a time. It's amazing when the wildlife sense your helping them they don't get upset at all.

I'm not sure how to get rid of these plants from growing here. I haven't found any wildlife or insect that takes advantage of them. I've been pulling out the none native grass hoping that would cut down them from growing next year. In the past I've mowed them down but that just seem to reseed them. I don't like the idea of using Roundup early in the year because there are plants that the deer eat. There are also tree frogs everywhere. A little 1.25 to 2 inch frog that you never see but hear at night. I've seen what Roundup does to yard, you end up with dirt. I have enough erosion that I don't need any more. It's like slow moving mass in motion over time.

Having tall grass helps out the baby deer hide and keeps the baby turkeys out of sight. I've been watch a mother turkey and it's only baby walking around getting seeds and bugs. There's horse flies going after everything big standing up mainly the deer. There' another bug that's black and flies around like a bee. Getting a lot of yellow jackets this time of year. I put out traps for them and there has been dozens of the yellow jacket that flew inside them. I see a lot of termites swarming at night around the light. One of them I think is a queen termite flutters around and if they get close to the raccoons, they are chewing on them catching them out of the air.

They cut down a lot well many acres of trees in the park next to me. Now it's about 10 degrees hotter here in the hot summer months. The Manzanita trees kept the sun from hitting the ground which now dries out in summer. It had a whole ecosystem going on there but a guy from the USDA came out and said he knew what was going on. So they ran over the trees and ground them up with a dozer and grinding machine on the front. The only thing growing back is poison oak bushes so far. The guy at the park was saying all the trees would grow so fast but it's been 5 years and it's still a void. No animals go there because of the heat. The deer don't cross the waste land because they are afraid of breaking their legs. Even with my big boots on, these are boots for rock and mountain climbing and still it's hard for me to walk across. They didn't seed the place so I don't know how pines and oaks are going to grow there. Any seeds that may find there way up there soon die because of lack of water and heat. It's going to take a century for the hills to be covered again. When you get someone that doesn't know the place come in and say he's going to return it to a natural setting  you have to wonder what good he is going to do. It was covered in natural plants and now it's not. I think they did this for the homes on one side of the park to prevent fires mainly the houses burning up at the expense of the forest and wildlife. There are still scars of hydrolic mining done over 150 years ago. They still haven't recovered.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Dear Deer Friends

 Deformed antlers. Just a way to much bone growth. It's like this on both sides of his head. This is the most radical version. I don't know what is causing the abnormal growth but it sure must weigh a lot. There's only a few deer like this and the others are all normal.

 My newest little friend who is so small. The little round head is an indicator on how young it is. All the deer like the baby and mom likes showing the baby off.
One of the twins which is a bit older then the new baby. Mom hides the babies until they can run with her. At the first sounds of anything different the babies are the first to run off. Today they were out testing their legs running around the yard as fast as they can. Up and down the hills and around the trees. They looked like they were having so much fun. They seen the new baby today for the first time. I think that why they tried to get the new baby out running with the twins. The baby is a bit to small for fun like that right now. It's a real joy watching the babies grow up because they are so full of life. They are always happy it seems. They want to check out everything they haven't seen before like any child. The twins have only seen me a few times but with moms help looking on the twins will come to me when I call to them.  Mom gets a rest while the kids play here. She on none stop watch for danger. Here it's safe for them to run and play. They get to learn what plants to eat and sample everything around. They walk up to flowers and smell them. After pulling a lot of the weeds it's given the deer a lot of places to lounge around. Been running the rain bird to green up areas and the natural grasses are all that are green and that's the plants they like to eat. None of the dead European grasses are green right now and only are in early spring. They die off as soon as it stops raining and turn brown with in about a month because of the hot weather. Sun light like they aren't design to get being so far north in origin. I've read about Pearl Grass which is a grass that is resistant to drought and has roots that go down a foot. Native grasses go down ever further up to twelve feet. Unfortunately 95% of the grasses in California are none native. Deer also like leaves of plants and look for ones that are sweet just like early humans found foods too. The nursery here is just fine with me, I get to know the deer through their lives. There are two family groups that sort of except each other at time. For the most part they are real good but I'll have to keep the peace at time.

Things I've found out about deer: They only have bottom front teeth and back teeth top and bottom. So when they eat an apple that's too big they will take a bite out and chew that until they get the size down where they can fit the whole thing in their mouth. Then they chew on it rotating it in their mouth until they can chew down on it. The deer need to be taught what to eat over the first two years of life.

Deer that have spent up to two years with mom with squat to go to the bathroom. Deer separated from mom early won't do that and stand up doing the business. One follows what they see mom does this and it's in males and females. The other deer I believe were separated from mom at an early age and are a bit more feisty. The ones that grew up longer with mom have better manners and work with each other in the herd. They show more affection towards each other, It's nice to see an older deer take a young one in and show him or her affection when they are scared.

One night when I first moved here it was raining and it was real dark, new moon time dark. A young deer came up where I was feeding the birds and started eating the bird seed. He was shaking and didn't look like he was along like this before. Big Biddy my first friend and best friend ever came up to the young deer. He pulled him in close with his neck and started like him. It was raining so I don't think he was trying to dry him off. That was the first demonstration of affection I saw. I don't know anything it else could be,

Big Buddy was so good with the young deer. It was late in fall so the velvet was off the antlers. A young meek deer came up to Big Buddy and was trying to challenge him. Big Buddy pulled him back and then let the your one push him and Buddy back up. Buddy pushed him back gently making it look hard like he was really trying. The little deer pushed back after Buddy let up and Buddy back up letting the little guy win the push off. The little deer with his head held high was so proud of himself. I gave him some self confidence something the young deer only get by picking on younger deer. It was a very health exchange by a caring leader.

During the year there are different plants the deer need to take advantage of being in season. Buddy would take out the boys and bring him to the edge of the forest pointing out the plants to eat. He paced back and forth watching them making sure they were eating off the right plants. He surely was leading them and showing them what he has learned. I can do only so much but miss the days we would go foraging together. He would point out apples he wanted and I'd get them for him Playing hide and seek aways was another thing we like playing. When I could find him he would pop his head up to let me know where he was. He could always find me no matter how much I tried to hide.Buddy was such a good friend and my biggest loss. He really held the herd together too. One time I said no more food for you guys until the girls get to eat. The guys waited in the field and even pushed the females forward. They waited there until the girls all ate then I told them it was okay to come up. They all looked to Buddy to find out if it was okay to go. Buddy would get me out side when I was having a hard time getting out of bed because I was so sick He would stand at the door looking in the front window until I got up and came out. Then he would go lay down under his favorite tree and watch me work around here. I'm so sorry he died trying to make it here while to coyotes were chasing him. He would have been safe here if he could have been able to cross the creek. He slowed down because of those big antlers to get under the trees. That's when they got him. If only I could have came when he cried out. At that time I was new here and my hearing wasn't as developed like it is now. Now I respond to the sounds of the babies. I'll be inside listening to the radio and hear the little sounds of the babies and come running out.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Got a tooth stuck in my head

Little girls got a tooth stuck in her head. You can see it going in on a slight angle but doesn't get her down. She's still nice as ever. Has those nasty Velcro like seeds stuck in her hair too. Every day they clean all the burs out of their hair and every day they get more walking around here.

Too hot to move

Too hot to move. Kitty lounges on the cedar fence. Been real hot here and it's effecting everyone.