Friday, April 29, 2016


The Mallards have been back for quite some time already, but until this week I wasn't able to get a good picture of them.  They were always too far away, or were frightened away when I opened the back door.  This year we see them walking along the driveway behind the house or pecking their way through the landscape there.  I don't know where their nest is located this year.

One year they nested on the little pond near the road out front and raised a whole brood of twelve darling little yellow ducks there, and in the dugout to the south of the driveway, and even took a side trip across the road to the dugout there.  She's a very good mother, quite calm and very capable.

As they walk through the landscape, it's generally Mrs. in front and Mr. a few paces to the rear.

Our place is also the summer home to a family of Canada geese.  There seem to be three in that "family" which quite surprises us as Canada geese mate for life.  What's the third one doing there?  With the ducks the male/female differences are very evident, but not with the geese (unless there's some trick to differentiate them that I haven't heard of.)

It's always so interesting to watch the bird life here.  Our acreage is a true bird sanctuary because of all the trees and shrubs we've planted.  Many of the shrubs are fruit bearing.  On the north side of our shelter belt we have four long rows of Saskatoon bushes, which are just so very attractive to robins.  If you walk among those rows when the berries are ripe, flocks of robins wing out ahead of you.  Robins also really love strawberries.  We used to cover our strawberries with netting, but so many young robins would get tangled up in the netting and either perish or have to be cut loose.  Now we have large wooden framed screens in place to both protect the berries and spare the birds.

We also have fruit trees, apples and pears, and many berries: raspberries, gooseberries, Saskatoons, Nanking cherries, Schubert chokecherries, pin cherries, Evans cherries and Mountain Ash.  There are sand cherries (bushes with thorns), red currants and black currants; all besides the strawberries in the garden beds.  There are also Seabuckthorn (very tart orange berries) and high bush cranberries (also very tart).

In addition there are spruce trees, larches, poplars, Russian olive, Maydays, and oaks and elms, Ohio Buckeye, Butternut and White Birch.  Nonfruiting shrubs include junipers, lilacs, and willows.  I may have missed a few!

I haven't mentioned the merely decorative shrubs, including MockOrange, cottoneaster, Alpine currant, Amur maple.

When we bought this place (20) acres in 1997 the only trees on the place were a three rows of small spruce and four rows of Saskatoons as a shelter belt on the north.  All the rest we planted.  I'd like to call this place "NewEden" but then we might get a few snakes!

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