Friday, May 31, 2013

Meet the Mourning Cloak Butterfly

The most amazing little creatures visit us each year and it is so fascinating to learn about each of them. Recently we had this little visitor out in the barn.

Then a few days later there was an invasion of these guys, out near the new garden sight, on one of the Poplar trees. 

Some seemed to have met with a terrible demise and were all shriveled up.
Not knowing who these little creatures were, we went to visit our friend "Google" to get some info and this is what we found ~ The Mourning Cloak Butterfly.
photo from:
Our original visitor is the adult, perhaps even the parent, to the invasion. Not only that, but those little guys that seemed to have met a terrible fate. Well those are not the carcasses of dispatched caterpillars but instead those are the discarded shed skin of the caterpillars that they leave behind as they grow. Mourning Cloak butterflies are the state insect of Montana, however their range includes most of North America and continental Europe.  We feel privileged that they have decided to visit us and deposit their young here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Got Milk?

Recently my friend David was telling me that a good way to help chickens obtain more calcium is to give them the extra goat milk that we don't use. Well, this has turned out to be some very wonderful advice because some days we have quite a lot more milk than we can use. Not only have the chickens begun to look forward to their milk treat, but as an added bonus their egg production has gone up by about 20% and their feed costs have gone down by about 20%.
It is a win win all the way around.
Giving the chickens milk does get a bit messy as they fling it everywhere.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meet our baby Turkey

Meet the newest member of our family. This is a baby turkey. 

This baby turkey is about an hour and a half old. Sugar and Lenny are its biological parents but Sylvia, one of our bantam hens, has been diligently sitting on this little baby's egg day and night. All of her hard work paid off this morning when this little baby hatched. We are not sure yet if it is a male or female but I will keep you posted.
Sylvia ~ a super surrogate mother.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sharp-tailed Snake

This little beauty is a Sharp-tailed snake. If you are into gardening this is a snake you will want living near by as their diet is primarily made up of slugs and insects. They are very shy and secretive snakes and are rarely found in the open. They prefer to burrow into soft soil or live in cracks in the soil or near garden walls. They are often mistaken for worms at first glance as they are quite small. The average length of an adult Sharp-tailed snake is between eight to twelve inches and their color ranges from a grey brown to brick red but occasionally bubble gum pink and peach specimens can be found. They are not toxic and get their name from their sharp tail spine which protrudes at the tip of the last vertebra.

If  you look closely you can just see the sharp little tail spine as this little one disappears into the leaves. How lucky we were to see this little snake. It was just heading across the driveway and we saw it when we were heading out to milk.