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marlingardener's Blog

Farm living and laughing

Night Sounds

Category: Nature | Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:40 pm

There is an old Scot's prayer that says: "From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties, And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!"
We don't have ghoulies and ghosties, and the "long-leggedy beasties" (coyotes) stay away from the house, but we do get the occasional bump in the night.
With the unusually cool spring we've had, our windows have been open at night. Laying in bed and listening to the wildlife serenade, argue, and seek a companion is lovely night music.
At dusk we get the frogs in the pond croaking out a chorus. I don't know how many frogs we have, but they are all baritones! We also get the sleepy peeps from the birds. We have nests in most of the trees, and at night everyone goes home and nestles down for the night, but first they have to call out a goodnight to the neighbors .
When it's good and dark, we hear the coyotes yodeling. Yes, they yodel, they don't howl. Coyotes often hunt in packs and they keep in communication with each other with a series of yodels and trills. Then of course the cattle on the surrounding farms have to have their say. They bellow, moan, and make a gulping sound. If a heifer is about to drop a calf, she can keep you awake all night!
Toward morning you get the nighthawks swooping and calling. Their wings make a sound like a bull-roarer, which is their other name. A bull-roarer is a racheted noisemaker that makes a terrific rattling sound. Coupled with their high-pitched calls, you might thing that some "ghosties" are around!
One night we heard a sniffling, scuffling sound just outside our front door. A skunk was examining the premises to see if there was a den possibility. Thankfully, turning on the outside light discouraged her. She later moved under the workshop and had three kits. Now we get little skunk tracks through the flowerbeds.
Early in the morning, and I do mean early, we get Lonesome George the mockingbird doing his imitations of squeaky wheels, other birds, and whistles. He is trying to attract a mate, but if she hasn't shown up by now, she ain't comin', George! I'm just very glad he hasn't heard any rap music to imitate. The squeak of the wheelbarrow wheel imitation is bad enough, thank you.
The Eurasian Collared doves take over when George runs out of repertoire, or steam. Their gentle, if somewhat mournful cooing is a relief, at least for the first hour. After that, it gets a bit monotonous.
When full dawn arrives, we get the chickens. Our girls just discuss the coming day and make plans. However, a neighbor's rooster feels obligated to announce that the sun is up and we are burning daylight! Of course, he makes the same announcement several times during the day. Wish someone would get that boy a wristwatch.
Since all the birds, amphibians, and mammals have had their say, we two-leggers get up and start our day after listening to the night sounds.

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A little rain, all the difference

Category: Nature | Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:47 pm

Last Sunday night we got 1" of rain. That was the first rain we had received since late June, and it made all the difference in the gardens (and my attitude!).
The culinary sage that I thought was a goner has started to put out new growth. The oregano and mints are also perking up, and looking less like they ought to be in ICU. The rue still looks awful, but there is new green at the base of the plants. I'd hate to lose all our rue--the butterflies love it so!
We have Bishop's Weed blooming in the pasture--it's much like Snow-on-the-Mountain, and the tiny low Ruellia has blossoms on it. You can't kill that plant!

low blue ruellia ( photo / image / picture from marlingardener's Garden )
Getting up in the morning and seeing mist over the pasture; being greeted by bird calls as they gather around the feeding stations; and not hearing the grass crunch under your feet sure makes a person have hope that the fall may bring relief!

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What don't you understand about "Barn"?

Category: Nature | Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:56 pm

As y'all know, we love birds, bugs, snakes, mammals, and all critters. However, there are a few that try our patience.
Barn swallows! Why on this good green earth do they insist on building their nests over doorways, on ledges over the patio, and on the carport? Can they not understand they are to build nests in barns?
They are NOT tidy birds! Their nests are made of mud and some other unmentionable stuff, which drops on any surface below it (like a new car). Airplane chassis could be held together with barn swallow nest ingredients.
They also have absolutely no plumbing problems (as evident on aforementioned car). A doormat that says "Welcome" isn't all that welcoming with a pile of white deposits on it. "Oh, just step over it, the barn swallows have a nest above the door. Would you like an umbrella?" Sure cuts down on visitors.
We have inside-out circles of duct tape on the patio and carport lights; our front door is festooned with Christmas tree tinsel (I read this repels birds, but I suspect the barn swallows think it's the latest in home decor). My husband goes out at 11 pm in his underwear to squirt the little birdies with cold water (we keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator for that purpose and pray we don't have to explain to any guest rooting around in the fridge).
We have a barn, a welcoming, clean barn with lovely rafters just perfect for a barn swallow's nest. They ignore it. Can't lure them into the barn. My husband is threatening to get a butterfly net, swoop up a swallow, and tie it to a barn rafter until it gets the idea this is it, no other choices. I just hope he isn't in his underwear when he does it.
Barn swallows are pretty little things, though . . . .

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Sounds of early morning

Category: Nature | Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:29 pm

We get up early, between 5 and 5:30 a.m. We get to see a lot of stunning sunrises, but one of the best things about being up and about so early is what we hear.
This morning we heard the white-crowned sparrows twittering in the juniper trees. They are small birds, but loud! They spend the night in the junipers for cover and warmth.
The farm across the road from us has cattle, and we heard several of the heifers complaining about the cold. They don't "moo" but rather give out with an "aahh" sound. The bull, on the other hand, blasts!
Killdeer fly over, and it seems a killdeer in flight has to cry. Silence is not their forte! A few ducks came into the pond, and we heard them discussing the fishing possibilities.
Getting up and getting outside brings a symphony of lovely sounds. We enjoy the view, but we also enjoy the sounds!

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