These warm spring days have been long in coming and its no wonder why we enjoy them so. These are the days when we get dirt under our fingernails from working in our gardens. Itís time to plant a few rows of spinach, radishes and kale with the thought of fresh garden salads in a few weeks.
Itís also time to move some of those perennials to a few new places in the yard. I canít ever have too many flower gardens so each spring I divide some of the plants from one place and move them to another place in the yard. Itís a good time to do this with hostas, phlox, beebalm, coneflowers, ferns and many other flowering plants you would like to see more of. To me, itís simple math. The more flowers you have the more butterflies, hawk moths, bees and hummingbirds you will see.
A good flowering tree to plant in the yard or near the house is the flowering crabapple. This small tree will provide a glorious show of blossoms in the spring as well as some shade through the summer. In the fall the small leaves will turn a lovely shade of yellow.
When it comes to pruning trees and bushes or raking up leaves and sticks, I like to wear gloves. These days my hands are prone to blisters and slivers so the gloves save me a lot of grief. After turning the soil with a shovel, off come the gloves and I like to get my hands in the cool dirt when planting.
From across the road in a plantation of large white pine trees, comes the soft hooting of a great horned owl. Hidden high in the pine boughs is an old crowís nest. When the crows returned a couple of weeks ago to use their nest, they discovered the owls were using it.
These large owls donít build a nest of their own but would rather just move into a crow or hawkís nest from the year before. The crows or hawks will be upset that the owls are there but donít mess too much with these large powerful owls.
The pair of horned owls took over the nest back in February and the female laid two eggs. The chicks, now 2 or 3 weeks old have lost much of their warm fluffy down as the marbled brown and tan feathers grow in. The adults keep the youngsters well fed by bringing rats, mice, voles, small rabbits and squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, frogs and who knows what else.
The owlets may double their weight nearly every day until full grown in about 3 weeks. They wonít leave the nest for another couple of weeks after their flight feathers have grown in.
On quiet summer evenings the call of the fledglings can be heard in the woods as they beg to their parents to bring them something to eat. "Reeep!, Reeep!."
Farmers, especially organic farmers can really appreciate these and other birds of prey as organic pest control on their farms.
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