The Homestone

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid November on the Meadow

 Some mid-November Meadow moments.  Welcome! 
Our dear Whiskey Jacks looking a little bedraggled today.  First real snowfall of the year. Hopefully the treats at the feeders warm them up a little.

Just before today's Whiskey Jack snow fall, David and I took a wander round the meadow and got some pics of our almost winter white world ~ that transition day when fall is almost a memory under the first brush strokes of winter.

  Looking up ~ way up.

   The days are short now.  Sunsets sneak up on us.
   Welcome to Winter on the meadow. It's a beautiful time of year!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Whiskey Jack on the meadow ~ a post from David

The Canada Jay lives here all year round, and like the Raven, Pine Siskin, Chickadees and Juncos, his cheery company can be counted on even in the coldest weather. At this time of year he is busy stashing food spruce trees mostly from what we have observed. Larger spruce have naturally peeling bark that provides shingled crevices, perfect places to protect and hide the stash.

They eat and stash a wide variety of food ... meat, eggs, insects, fruit, sunflower seeds, suet, (left over turkey chopped fine saturated with bacon fat ...) and etc. We have to wait till the bears hibernate before we put suet or bacon fat in our feeders or we will have unwelcome guests ...

Grey Jays are adaptive and intelligent, naturally curious and friendly. A bit of patience will get one feeding from your hand and coming back daily for more. They do have natural predators and so they are very alert, keeping one eye on the sky. Most hawks eventually migrate, so the winter skies are much safer.

Their vocabulary varies from chatter to whistles, and they can imitate other birds. They are territorial and monogamous, and yes they do find a new mate if an accident befalls their partner. They nest in April, which is a cold and barren time of year here, so they depend on this food stash to feed their fledglings.

All offspring from the current year except the dominant male are pushed out of the territory before winter, and the remaining young male joins Mom and Dad for a year till he matures, helping feed the young by retrieving caches. He eventually pairs with a female pushed out of another territory and the gene pool is protected.

The name "Whiskey Jack" is the oldest name we have for this widespread North American bird. It is a derivative of the Cree and Inuit ...Wee-sah-ka-shat (many spellings). Wee-sha-ka-shat, along with the beaver, otter and muskrat, is responsible for the order of things.

The Canada Jay or Grey Jay by modern definition....

well feathered everywhere, this bird is equipped to handle forty below ....

Sometimes called Camp Robber, the Canada Jay is omnivorous and an opportunist.

He is curious and interactive and will come to your voice.

His rounded tail and wings provide a silent and stealthy flight despite his steady wingbeats ...

He keeps one eye on the sky watching for hawks or the shrike.

He can carry a tremendous amount of booty away from the feeders, reminding me of a chipmunk as he stuffs his crop.

That tail acts as a flag to signal when the mouth is too full to talk.... lol.

The winter would be a lot quieter and less cheery without this little bird. They are such good company.

by David Finch

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Last days of Summer and the First day of Fall

I invite you to take a walk with us around our 48 acres.  
We'll wander through the last days of summer and into the first day of fall.



One of our four legged friends

Today is the Autumnal Equinox in our corner of the world. 
The wheel turns and the time of balance returns.

And seven words from the wisdom of Wendell Berry. 

“Be joyful because it is humanly possible.” 

Till next time ~ thanks for coming along.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer visitors on the meadow

 Some of our summer lovelies
of the four legged and winged varieties.
 Pine Siskins
 and the occasional hummingbird :)
 Evening Grosbeaks
Our Doe and her Fawn

 Great Blue Herons

 Rusty Blackbirds
 Red-winged Blackbirds
Right now there are lots of babies on the meadow.
The Grosbeaks are bringing their little ones to the feeder now, introducing them to the
never ending supply of sunflower seeds.  The Red Winged Blackbirds have little ones and of course it's flight school for the swallow babes.
A truly delightful time of year...
Well,except for the hungry mosquitoes!!