The birds have been quite entertaining flitting about in the woods and the fields, feeding on the seeds and berries that are found in abundance around the area. I spent a few hours today clearing the weed shrubs and blackberry stalks in front of a small portion of our woods. The birds didn't appear to be bothered by my presence even though I'm cutting away some of their cover and food.
Cleaning weed shrubs and small trees from the wooded areas of our property is a year round project, but the end result is worth the effort. There are plenty of fallen trees and other parts of the woods that we leave natural so the wild critters don't lose their homes, but clearing the shrubby growth from in front of the tree line helps us control insect, snake and rodent infestations.
Two years ago I wrote about our oldest daughter, Katie, heading off to college. Today is my first day living in an empty nest. Emily, our youngest, moved into her dorm yesterday at East Carolina University. I was surprised to see how much less she carried off to school than many of the other kids. I hope she has everything she needs.
Like Katie, she's on orders to call when she wants to talk or if she needs anything, but not to feel obligated to check in on a certain schedule.
Having my girls away from home is terribly hard for me. I've enjoyed every minute of being their mom and while that relationship hasn't ended, these wonderful changes aren't always so wonderful for mom and dad.
The critters on our little farm have been quite active lately. The other night Max had a spat with an opossum and then abruptly stopped his prowling about as the hawks returned to our woods. Lately, one hawk in particular has been lighting on the roof outside my office and crying out at night. He or she continues crying throughout the night, but moves out to the woods. The cries stop once the sun comes up and then continue once it is night again.
Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather be in my garden than anywhere else in the world. Gardening is the best therapy and I'm happiest when I have dirt under my nails and a well-kept farmer's tan. When I can't be in my garden, I look on the web for tips and tricks to help me do things better or for less money.
I have wanted to raise chickens since we moved out to the country. Unfortunately, they are against the covenants of our neighborhood. That hasn't stopped several of the other neighbors from having chickens, but unfortunately, we have one neighbor who insists that our family obey all the covenants. (Of course, he seems to violate as many as he can!)
My simple pleasure this morning occurred early as I was taking the dogs and cat out for their morning walk. A large number of Hawks call our trees home and they hunt in the overgrown field next door. One in particular likes to perch on our roof and will periodically fly to the commercial height pole one of our neighbors installed for a backdrop net.
As I headed out with the dogs, I could hear the angry chatter of several Mockingbirds. We have a very large number of them living in the yard. They can be extremely bothersome when their babies are leaving the nest. Last year we would have to run from the front porch to the car, bobbing and weaving to avoid the darned birds. I'm sure it was quite a sight for the neighbors!
I was pretty excited when PetsMart invited me to become an affiliate partner. I shop a lot at PetsMart, so it is a great fit for me. I had no idea how much more they have online than in their brick and mortar stores. They are currently having a 25% sale, so spring into Savings Sale! Save up to 25% on thousands of items at PetSmart.com!
Life has been so busy that I am very late getting my tomato and pepper plants started indoors. That doesn't necessarily spell disaster, it just means my harvest will be a little later this year. A later harvest in the south can be a bit of a challenge if the heat combines with a lack of rain to dry out the entire garden.
Last year was the first year I had a poor banana pepper crop. My bell pepper plants were absolutely beautiful, but the peppers themselves were small. I barely harvested enough to make a couple of batches of salsa and didn't have enough for my family's favorite pepper relish. The sad thing is, I'd put 32 pepper plants in the ground.