Monday, July 26, 2010

Wild Life and Farm Life

Granddaughter Grace roamed the farm with my camera the other day while I was working on peaches. Here are some of the things she found interesting enough to photograph:

Billy BB (for Bad Butt) the Rooster struts his stuff in the chicken yard. Originally named Trampoline Man because he was found on Derek's trampoline one morning, he's taken to trying to flog any small people who enter the coop. The grandchildren love to collect eggs so his ornery new habit is a problem. Our solution is to arm them with a bucket of water which he does NOT like. He goes around fairly soaked when the grandkids are here. I believe I'll be looking for a new, nicer rooster in the future.

In the turkey pen, the turkeys are growing like crazy. They are now about 2 months old and are already half-grown.

Unlike the rooster, these hens (they are supposed to be all hens and so far that seems to be holding true) are calm and tame. Except: they hate going back in their house at night. Every night Larry goes down and has to catch each one and put it in the pen. We've never had this problem before with turkeys. These girls are just stubborn. But pretty, in their turkey-ish way.

Grace was able to catch some good photos of one type of butterfly currently inhabiting the flowerbeds. This year it is not at all unusual to see five different kinds of butterflies at one time on the flowers. This one, we believe is the Great Spangled Fritillary. These butterflies have no claw on their front feet and are called "brush-footed butterflies. If you enlarge Grace's photo you can kind of see the fuzzy front feet on this one. We also have Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Zebra Swallowtail, Black Swallowtails and Sulfur butterflies (those small active yellow ones that are so hard to photograph).

I believe the reason we have so many swallowtails is because of the coneflowers which they seem to love, and the abundance of Queen Anne's Lace in the meadow. This is one of their favorite foods.

For a long time, I thought these were Monarch butterflies, but closer inspection with my sister Theresa a few weeks ago identified the Great Spangled Fritillary. Monarchs, it seems, disdain our ridge and prefer the lower ground along the creeks.


Jaime said...

Gracie captured some pretty photos. I think your right about the swallowtails and the coneflowers. I have them too for the same reason. The only problem is the 3 kittens from next door are killing them. They lay in wait for one to touch down on a flower and then its all over.

Granny Sue said...

They're everywhere this year, Jaime! I need a bumper sticker that says I brake for butterflies :)

Tipper said...

Great job Grace!

Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

Your grand daughter did a great job taking pictures around your house! I love the last picture with the butterfly! That is a framer!

Jill said...

These are beautiful pictures of the butterflies. I found your blog off Jessica's. It is so wonderful to see that you do the library programs. My daughter's and I are there at least twice a week in our area, we have one tonight to go to as well. I love to support our local libraries. You have a beautiful blog and I will certainly be stopping by again.
Blessings, Jill

Twisted Fencepost said...

Grace got some great pics!
Especially that last one.
But I love the one with the butterfly in motion in the background, too.

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