Sunday, July 3, 2011

Backyard Wildlife Sightings - Forest Chickens and Wood Frogs

Chickens at 2-1/2 months chasing mosquitoes
We've been doing a lot of work around the house this weekend, and have been letting the chickens free range while we are outside to keep an eye on them. They love it, and it's really a lot of fun to watch them.

They really like to hang out in the "comfrey forest" in the side yard, as comfrey provides cover and also a tasty snack. I think this must be something like chicken heaven - a nice, leafy lunch buffet where you can hang out, socialize, scratch in the leaves, and take a nap.

The beech grove right behind the barn is also a popular spot, as there are a lot of insects and worms in the leaf litter. I hope that the girls get to work on the tick control - I've found two ticks on me in the last two days from wrangling the chickens back into their coop.

I raked out the side yard this afternoon. This is one of those chores that falls to the bottom of the list and stays there - permanently. The side yard is shady, damp, full of mosquitoes, and is not visible from the road or most of the house - and thus, I have neglected it for at least a year. Neglect has not improved the situation.

Rana sylvatica - Wood Frog
Unless you are a wood frog - then you think my neglected side yard is pretty fabulous. I was really, really surprised to unearth this little guy while raking, and even more surprised that I could catch it. Wood frogs range in color from pinky-brown, like this one, to tan to brown. The best way to tell if you've got a wood frog is by its black bandit mask around the eyes.

I just updated the 2011 harvest log, if you'd like to see what I've been pulling out of the garden, other than loads and loads of weeds. Click on 2011 Harvest at the top of the page.

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