Jake the Turkey Gets Trapped

Another turkey figured out how to get the best seeds from under the bird feeder in the far corner of the patio:

Turkey tracks on the patio
Turkey tracks on the patio

Jake, our affectionate term for whichever turkey is having trouble, eventually walked from right to left closest to the house, down the patio steps, and rejoined the flock. The tip of his “arrow” tracks aims backwards, because all three toes point forward.

It turns out turkeys panic when they’re behind a barrier and see the rest of their flock moving away. A panicked turkey makes a lot of noise while rushing back and forth, the rest of the flock contributes what must be advice, and the resulting tumult suffices to wake the dead.

That would be me, in the bedroom off to the left, but my cold-boot sequence takes long enough that I missed the action.

Some years ago, we discovered how distressed a trapped turkey can get when the flock descended from trees in an adjacent yard, with (a different) Jake landing in the garden, on the other side of the fence from the flock. Over the course of the next several hours, Jake ran back and forth along the fence while the rest of the flock alternated between sympathetic honking and disinterested feeding, until eventually he remembered his wings and managed a short-field takeoff over the fence.

Never a dull moment around here …

Rodent-Approved Carrot Crop

The final garden harvest included several carrots minus their leafy tops:

Rodent-approved Carrot
Rodent-approved Carrot

I sliced that top from a rather rotund carrot and the broad tooth marks suggest a large rodent. Mary found and blocked a tunnel under the fence, so we think it was a groundhog, rather than a rabbit, but we’ll never know the rest of the story.

The rest of the carrot was fine, so the unknown critter had mmmm good taste. Unfortunately, it sampled far too many root crops as it toured the buffet, leaving Mary’s root-cellared stockpile unusually low for our winter meals.

Squash Frog

Mary persuaded the squash vine to run along the top of the garden fence, where it would get good sun, stay out from underfoot, and produce what we call aerosquash:

Tree frog on squash - overview
Tree frog on squash – overview

That bright green spot is a misplaced tree frog:

Tree frog on squash - detail
Tree frog on squash – detail

Well, maybe it’s the same frog we’ve seen elsewhere; it’s hard to tell with tree frogs.

Not everything green is froglike, though:

Green stink bug on squash
Green stink bug on squash

That one got dealt with … harshly.

Red Oaks Mill Eagle

We spotted a large bird on a walk to the Red Oaks Mill dam:

Red Oaks Mill Eagle - A
Red Oaks Mill Eagle – A

Despite the crappy image (Google Pixel 6a, digitally zoomed as tight as it’ll go), it’s a second-year juvenile Bald Eagle. It followed ahead of us along Rt 376, landing atop successive utility poles as we walked toward the intersection:

Red Oaks Mill Eagle - B
Red Oaks Mill Eagle – B

It sometimes perched on the (presumably) live primary wires, so a few kV of electric field doesn’t ruffle its feathers enough to worry about.

Its duties included keeping an eye on us down by the creek:

Red Oaks Mill Eagle - C
Red Oaks Mill Eagle – C

It eventually decided we needed no further supervision:

Red Oaks Mill Eagle - D
Red Oaks Mill Eagle – D

Earlier this year it swooped along our driveway and landed atop a utility pole in our yard, causing great concern among the songbirds and rodents.

Having an eagle in the neighborhood seems like a good sign …

Tree Frog Season

This year brings an abundance of tree frogs:

Tree frog - on dahlia stem
Tree frog – on dahlia stem

Despite the snappy green color, they’re Gray Treefrogs:

Tree frog - on patio step
Tree frog – on patio step

Their camouflage works better in the wild than atop a trash can lid:

Tree frog - on trash can lid
Tree frog – on trash can lid

They are much smaller than you’d expect from their voices in the night:

Tree frog - on trash can lid - thumb for scale
Tree frog – on trash can lid – thumb for scale

We think the drought brings them closer to the house in search of water, as Mary collects rainwater in the trash cans where the frogs easily walk up & down the inside surfaces.

Onion Maggot Flies vs. Sticky Traps: Round 2

Mary decided the second round of sticky traps had collected enough Onion Maggot Flies (and other detritus) to warrant replacement, so this season will have three sets of cards.

The two sides of each card after about a month in the garden:

  • VCCG Onion Card A - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card B - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card C - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card D - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card E - 2022-07-17
  • VCCG Onion Card F - 2022-07-17

There are many flies that look (to me) like Onion Maggot Flies, in contrast with the first round of cards which had far fewer flies after about six weeks in the bed.

Some could be Cabbage Maggot Flies, but my fly ID hand is weak.

One of the frames screwed to a fence post suffered a non-fatal mishap, so I made and deployed a seventh trap. We’re pretty sure the garden has enough flies to go around.

Lawn Chair Re-strapping: Countdown Hold

I planned to replace the vinyl straps on our set of (salvaged) lawn / patio chairs and made a pair of rivets for one long-missing strap:

Lawn chair strap rivets
Lawn chair strap rivets

The overall project is on indefinite hold, as a Steel-blue Cricket Hunter (*) has decided at least one of the chairs is an ideal place to start a family:

Lawn chair - wasp nest under construction
Lawn chair – wasp nest under construction

The patio under the chair is littered with blades of grass and twigs that didn’t quite fit through the 5 mm vent hole in the tube, but that long stem went in just fine:

Lawn chair - wasp nest grass stem
Lawn chair – wasp nest grass stem

We have seen the wasp airlifting crickets near the chair, so provisioning has begun. The cricket seemed not only larger than the hole, but also larger than the wasp; we assume the wasp knows what she’s doing.

The new wasp will hatch this year, pupate over the winter, then hatch and emerge next summer, but I plan to replace the straps after the construction season ends.

I have no idea how to clean out whatever’s accumulating in there …

(*) I learned them as Steel-blue Cricket Killer, but the crickets are just paralyzed, not completely dead.