Monday, June 28, 2010

Squalls, bear traps and tiger lilies

We've been getting an extraordinary amount of rain. When we bought this place, we were most concerned that the water well would support us. We've only had once instance in the twenty or so years that we've been here where that's actually materialized as cause for concern.

Yesterday we got another 18mm which we did not need. The lawn is very soft under foot. The gardens are struggling to drain and support a reasonable growth rate and the chicken coup is soup.

I love how this short clip shows the squall as it gets up to speed.

This morning I clipped the last of the garlic flowers so those bulbs can hopefully plump up with their entire life force. The good news is that for whatever reason, I didn't need insecticide to get the job done. Maybe it's the cooler northerly flow that is providing some stunning blue sky this morning. That blue sky seems so exotic. I haven't been supported in my need for ultraviolet exposure much lately. I'm craving some brightness to the days.


In bear news, the bear trap is in place, but I don't think it's going to catch a bear.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bears and garlic

It's been a bit hectic here. A week ago last Saturday the hungry bears made a bid to feast on chicken feed and continued to hound us through the middle of the week. That feast included the chickens themselves. Once again we'll be a little short of layers than I'd like. It's not quite the devastation of the crazy dog killing 19 that was the last blow thankfully. We've been here since 1991 and I'd venture the bears have never been hungrier. With the lush forest one might think that food would be plentiful, but that's not the case. I believe the ants struggle to find dry ground to multiply in the wet and ant hills seem to be popular with the local black bear population when food is scarce.


The vegetation is often flush with water in the spring and very thin on nutrients and food value of any kind. This year the vegetation is floating. The ground is so soft just now that the wide tires of the riding mower are leaving tracks in the yard. Apparently it was a little slick where the truck was parked too.


I didn't get any images of our black visitors, but neither did I end up with a bear skin rug. Both are regrettable. It's interesting how my views on living with wildlife have changed since coming here. I'm much more willing to defend myself against the wild pressures now and completely guilt free too. Whether it be mosquitoes or larger life forms the pressure is significant here and that's the way I like it. I wonder how many ecosystems are affected by the spraying for mosquitoes in the city? How many birds die each year due to spraying?

I've repeated this next bit many times and it likely won't be the last. Bite me. I'm not a fence sitter and you all know it.
I'll likely never forget the evening years ago, enjoying a leisurely after dinner conversation with Pierrette one fine summer in Montreal. The music was wonderful and the windows of the restaurant were wide open. There were no bugs attracted to the street lights. There were no birds to enliven the day. I'll take the bugs every time. Like the prairie cold, I cope well enough and it keeps lotus land at bay. In fact, I was surprised to find I could get both double rows of garlic trimmed of their flowers without the help of insecticide. Maybe the growing swallow population is helping.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Prickly Pear blooming

We've been battling bears ineffectively for a week. I'm short several chickens. I took some time yesterday to get to Margaret's and capture a few of these prickly pear blooms while they were still fresh. I would love to have a huge bed of these. I wish the light had been better, but there were things to do to help the cause at home that had nothing to do with frittering away more hours taking pictures.




Thursday, June 17, 2010

Manitoba wild flowers

It's a wonderful thing living in the wild. Yes there are bugs, but those bugs feed a plethora of other critters that I would not care to be without either. Bring the bug juice and come marvel at Mother Nature's beauty.

I've been trying to find time to get out between cutting the grass and the rain storms to take some images of the field across the road from us. It's spectacular in it's wild flower display. I hear there is a tour coming through this weekend, but I'm not sure if it's a local entrepreneur or a visit from the Manitoba Orchid society. It wouldn't be the first time the M.O.S. was out to enjoy the display.



There was a decently hot fire through this field earlier in the spring and thus it's been spurred to life in ways that only fire can provoke. One of the local elders stopped by yesterday (Big Bill) to re-live some of the memories of how this land has changed and what it was like when he was a kid. We sat in his truck gazing over the flower filled field and enjoyed the sun, silence and extraordinary air. Rare treats of extraordinary quality.