Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New and improved Fireflies

Same post, new video. The other was too hard to see and it was really bothering me so I took a new one and posted it on YouTube first (Blogger didn't want to load it).This one is only marginally better. I am mainly publishing this for our daughter, Nicole, who is currently living in Southern California and really missing the good old Midwest. Doozy, we'll see you in a couple of weeks : ).
Don't you just love Bioluminescence????

Thursday, June 17, 2010

There is a fungus among us.

I am still here! I haven't floated away! It has been raining, and raining, oh yeah, and raining here for an eternity. My garden is water-logged and looking a little bedraggled. The weeds, on the other hand, are looking magnificent.  Another big winner in this moisture bonanza are the mushrooms. I have an odd conglomeration of interesting fungi that are growing very nicely in my lawn-too bad I can't eat them.
I like to call this one "Sombrero."
Since it has been too wet to work in the garden, I spent some time trying to get the sheep barn organised and noticed lots of disgusting bits and pieces of bird parts littering the floor as I barn cats are ruthless. I wasn't able to identify some of the remains and I hoped that my little Barn Swallow friends were not amongst the casualties. Usually the Barn Swallows are safe because when they leave the nest they are capable of full flight, whereas sparrows...not so much. I decided to check anyway. The two nests that are accessible each had five tiny speckled eggs nestled safe and sound in cozy beds lined with wool, chicken feathers and horse hair.
I went back a few hours later to try to get a better picture of the eggs (it's kind of hard to hold a camera, balance on a ladder and take a GOOD picture of a nest that is crammed against the rafters). In my quest for better egg photos, I got a much more interesting surprise. I caught the babies in mid-hatch!

Welcome to the farm!
Also, on a totally unrelated subject, I can't say for sure, but last weekend there may have been an accidental acquisition of some chicks. If this alleged incident did in fact happen, it clearly wasn't my fault.  Who could pass up Black Copper Marans? They lay the darkest eggs of all the dark egg layers, and it is the only kind of egg that James Bond character will eat ( I don't care about that, but my husband is a huge Bond fan so it makes it easier to justify to him.)

If that were to happen, this is what the hypothetical chicks would have looked like. I better go, I have chicken math to study....I think I skipped a chapter.."subtraction?"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Koi shopping-it's not for sissies.

Typically on Friday, I watch the weather forecast closely to determine whether or not I should proceed with baking and preparation for Saturday's farmers' market. I generally attend market every Saturday unless the weather is truly horrid-if there is too much rain baked goods and yarn just don't fare very well for some strange reason. Last Friday, the weather guessers were calling for rain on Saturday. Initially, the rain chances looked small so I wasn't very concerned, but as the day progressed the rain chances increased with each new forecast. I checked the radar for the last time at 2 AM Saturday and the predicted rain chances for the rest of the day Saturday was 100%.....100% all day...that didn't sound like great market weather. I made the decision to skip market.

When my sister, Marie, discovered that I would be playing hookie from market and would be free for the day, she asked if I would like to go along with her to get some Koi for her new pond. There was a shop located in Burlington, Iowa that she discovered on the Internet and she thought it might be a fun trip for us. Would I? Well, duh! Drive an hour and forty minutes to go and buy some fish? Of course! I am in!

I would just like to take this opportunity to point out that I am not just a slacker skipping work, we have indeed had a LOT of rain in Iowa. We don't grow rice here, so this field really shouldn't be this wet.
When I told my husband, Gary, what Marie and I were planning-we were going to Burlington to get fish and probably coming right back. He looked a bit sideways at me and chuckled, "You and Marie are going off together and you are only going one place and coming right back?" "Yes, well...probably" was my response. He laughed and said, "Well, I guess I will see you later tonight then." Why would he say that? It isn't like Marie and I ever get sidetracked on our adventures. Notice that in my original statement I did add "probably" as a qualifier.
We left my house around 7:30 AM. Marie wanted to get to our destination,Tender Top Water Gardens and Nursery, right when the shop opens for business at 9AM because she wanted to make sure she would get the best selection of fish.
When we arrived, we were surprised to find a beautiful old barn converted to a shop. It was surrounded by lovely gardens, water features and original wood, iron and glass artwork designed by the shop owners.
The gardens and ponds were so quiet, peaceful and serene. In retrospect it was probably so quiet because we were the only fools looking for plants and fish in the pouring rain on a Saturday morning..but still, it was quite lovely.
Something new to see around every turn.
Sue Kershner, the owner, was very helpful and friendly, but we also had lots of assistance from Salem, the Kershner's kitty.
Who doesn't love a poly dactyl kitty?
After spending an hour or so at Tender Tops, we pointed the car in the direction of home and hit the road again. Notice that I said, "pointed the car in the direction", that in no way implies that we were actually going straight home....after all, Marie was driving and she is given to bouts of A.D.O.S. (attention deficit....Ooooohhhh, shiny!). So, a few miles down the road I noticed a sign for a greenhouse, and it was right on the way soooo, why not stop? OK, admittedly I have a small case of A.D.O.S. myself.

We stopped at Barnyard Blooms. This is an adorable shop with antiques and gifts scattered about inside the two story barn and a nice selection of plants and flowers on the grounds.
I found this awesome enamelware colander hiding on a display in the shop. I am a bit obsessed with enamelware and this piece was one of my favorite colors, but I resisted the urge to buy it since I have sworn off shopping for a while...especially since I had skipped market for the day and was missing out on that income, but my very thoughtful sister surprised me by buying it for me : ). This was only the beginning of our unscheduled adventures along the way. There was a need to stop at Lowes-they have a large garden center and always have a sale rack in the back with plants that just need a bit of TLC....similar story with Menard's and Farm & Fleet. From the Farm & Fleet parking lot we noticed a sign across the way for Ritter's Garden Center...had to stop there too. Then there was Mairet's. "Hey didn't that used to be Hoop's Melon Shed? I wonder what is in there now...we better check it out!"
"Huffman's Farm Store?" "Sure, why not?"
By this point in time we were starting to get a little hungry, but we were having a hard time finding somewhere to get lunch. We passed a cute place in Wapello, Iowa and, as charming as it seemed, couldn't bring ourselves to eat there. Maybe it was the sign, "The Honey Hole Diner, Bait & Tackle". Call us crazy, as inticing as that sounded, we opted to pass.

We decided that it was probably time that we head for home and call it a day. By the time we got back, it was 4 PM...yes, we left at 7:30 AM and were "Just going to pick up fish." I later pointed out to Maire that: A) It took us longer to go to a town that is normally an hour and a half away than it takes to drive across the entire state of Iowa. B) We passed a couple of shopping malls along the route and never even thought of stopping at one, but we didn't miss a single garden center, farm store or greenhouse in our travels.

Oh, and we did actually find some Koi.
Here is Marie with some of her new little friends. Sorry for the misty picture but the camera lens was a bit foggy since, well, we were out in the rain all day....coincidentally, the 100% chance of rain here at home apparently never materialized into more than a few brief showers...looks like I could have gone to market after all...but look at all the fun I would have missed.

Copyright info

Creative Commons License
The content of Crosswinds Farm blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.