Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse
I finally got the grouse drumming on his log, which is located just behind the salt block shed about fifty yards or so.  I have been trying to capture this grouse for a year now.  It started short after moving onto Prairie Home.  Each time I would setup on the log for a photo session, I would have to wait at least a half hour before the grouse would return to the log.  If anything was a-rye, off he would go again.  Last year I did have one session where all I got to do was to watch the grouse drumming from a distance of ten feet, because he lined up behind a tree no photos were taken. Typical!    This year I have been out three times now, sitting, waiting in my portable blind.  Each time he failed to return and I had other things to do.  For example; yesterday I sat for an hour without his reappearance.  I returned to my chicken coop cleaning chores, and wasn't in the yard more than fifteen minutes when I heard the sound coming for the drumming log.  This morning, he started up well before sunrise, so after a few cups of java, I left the warmth of the house to sit in the thirty degree temperature Popular laden woodlot.  It was about forty minutes before he returned and immediately started drumming.  I was able to get some good shots while he was in action.. The only problem, the sun was coming and going as clouds drifted by, covering all my natural lighting.  None the less, I got him and now he can drum in peace.  I wish him many mates!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Goslings are coming!

This morning as I was checking on the week old chicken chicks, I heard movement inside the incubator.  So, after tending to the chicken chicks, I checked the incubator to find a new gosling had hatch and another getting ready to come into this world.  The second one has created a breathing hole in the egg shell and will work on enlarging it as the day grows long.   This little guy/gal just wanted to snuggle under my chin.  Trish thought it was just too much to pass up, so the camera came out.  I know! I know! Why would anything want to snuggle next to those old whiskers!

You can read Trish's comments and see more photos of the new gosling on her blog.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New life has come forth!

New life has come forward to the My Prairie Home farm.  Back on March 22 2011, I started gathering eggs for hatching.  At this time of the year my chicken had really shutdown their laying and a cold snap had made us aware the winter wasn't done with us.  So, I gathered what I could and often so the cold wouldn't get to the egg.  In many cases, I was reaching under the hen to gather her eggs she just layed.  As I placed the few eggs I was able to gather into the incubator I would label with the day gathered and an X on the opposite side.  Why the X?  Well, each day required at least two rotation of the eggs, the train of thought is so the embryo doesn't stick to the shell and interferes with normal grow of the chick within and so the X is just an aid.  After all the hen is doing the same thing many times as day.  The temperature inside the incubator needs to about 101 degree and the humidity 50-60 percent during the 21-22 days of development.   After a few days in the incubator I did my first check on the development of the embryo.  It is called candling and one is looking for the embryo starting to show up as a shadow. 

Look close, you can see the embryo showing up as a shadow towards the top of the inside of the egg.  Now, moving ahead we are at  twenty four days after starting and we have life coming forth.  Yesterday morning around 6am I did my first check to make sure all was OK.  Then around 7am while in the room that is acting as a nursery, I notice a slight peep.  Well, if you know me, you know I have a hearing problem due to being a military small arms weapon instructor.  So, to check out what I thought I heard I looked into the incubator and sure enough one of the first eggs had a small hole.  I didn't notice any other eggs at this time with cracks or holes, so it was just this one for now.  After about an hour I checked again and the hole was much larger and two other eggs now had cracks in their shells.  By night we had four of the five eggs that were first placed into the incubator.  Did the fifth not make it or is it just late. 
Fifth in the group!
This morning I have four fluffy chicks look up at me and peeping... So damn cute!  And the fifth eggs is working on hatching as I write this blog.   The chicks have been moved to a homemade brooder so they can get up and move around and interact with climbing over eggs, eggs shells, etc...   They are all responding to my voice and my hand as I reach into the brooder.  I have to say it again.. they are so damn cute.

First born!
Family shot

Saturday, April 2, 2011

On the wing!

America Woodcock
Spotted a Woodcock yesterday evening flying low over the popples and willow brush. Soon the whirling sound of the Snipe's mating dance will soon be on the wind. I love this time of year as Mother Nature allows the northland to wake up from its long sleep and renew.