Wildlife galore!

I left my game camera up for nearly two months, and look at what it captured: a cougar!
M2E1L0-0R350B320
M2E1L0-0R350B320
M2E53L155-153R399B383
M2E53L155-153R399B383
M2E53L155-153R399B383
M2E1L0-0R350B320
M2E1L0-0R350B320
M2E1L0-0R350B320
M2E1L0-0R350B320
An elk! You can tell by size and by the markings on his behind. You can compare it with the deer behinds seen later in this blog.
M2E35L45-46R350B320
M2E35L45-46R350B320
M2E34L88-92R391B360
M2E34L88-92R391B360
M2E34L88-92R391B360
Deer
M2E36L95-95R390B367
M2E35L91-90R387B363
M2E27L63-64R385B335
M2E32L36-36R350B320
Where’s Bianca, says the coyote.
M2E54L158-158R399B382
M2E54L158-158R399B382
This little gal and her friends triggered a lot of photos.
M2E35L90-90R391B362

Hot, hot, hot!

Despite the heat (near or at 90 degrees F), I managed a little weed whacking near the barn/big garage.
Sid cut metal roofing material with his saw, suffering a multitude of tiny cuts in the process.
Always lots of mowing to do.
Sid and the tractor trying to scoop up the remaining rock so that this area can be mowed.
Maybe a two person job!
This strategy worked.
Loading up the pickup for a dump run.
No, they weren’t putting it back. I just reversed the order of the photos.

Late June chores

The dark purple row of blooms next to the fence along the cow lane is an invasion of purple vetch. It will choke out everything in its path, given a chance. Mowing or weed-whacking its blooms will not kill it, but will control its spread. I chose to weed whack the couple of patches found fairly close to the house.
My weapon of choice.
Because it is a vine, the Vetch has a nasty habit of winding around the weed whacker, rendering it inoperable.
Sid and Bill mow while I weed whack.
More vetch!
It’s hard to tell, but the field is full of the tiny blue flowers seen in the close up photo above.
Bianca found something dead in the woods. It was like catnip to a cat!
Bianca, watching five deer cavorting in the field.
Sid and Bill moved our extra pallets to the landing where we stack firewood.

Walking the fields with Paul

It is always a treat when butterfly scientist emeritus, Paul H., walks the fields with us. During our two hour stroll, he pointed out invasives as well as precious prairie grasses and flowers worth protecting. Here are a few:

Meadow checker mallow
Cow parsnip, a member of the carrot family. Can cause contact dermatitis. Many carrot relatives are seriously poisonous … like hemlock.
Blue-eyed grass, a relative of Iris
Paul among sedges and rushes, common in boggy areas like this one.
Monkeyflower
A huge patch of wild onion (and ox eye daisy) in a patch of prairie that has high diversity – a rarity.
White owl clover (the ones that look like Indian paintbrush and are yellow and green)
Paul and Bill look over a field white with ox eye daisies.
Mule ears
Yarrow
The bright green grass is the dreaded false brome that we MUST try to control and keep out of our prairie. It will take over otherwise.
“With seedheads that can reach 4 to 5 feet in height, blue wild rye is one of the biggest native grasses in the Northwest. Its wide blue-green blades and thick fibrous root systems can put on a lot of biomass, yet, it usually does not form large single-species monocultures in nature. Rather it tends to pop up in small clumps in open meadows and forest edges among smaller statured species such as tufted hairgrass, California oatgrass, meadow barley, and yarrow.
Blue wild rye does not form extensive rhizomes, but it can spread short distances with stolons and through re-seeding. Mostly it maintains a clumpy growth habit which provides valuable insect nesting and overwintering habitat for species such as lady beetles and ground surface nesting bumble bees. Additionally, the foliage is palatable to livestock and decent for grazing, and is a preferred food source for elk.
We like blue wild rye for its value as an erosion control plant, and its ability to muscle into grasslands, ditches, and forest edges without taking over and crowding out other grasses and wildflowers. It’s also an ideal utilitarian plant for reforestration and agroforestry projects, providing useful shelter for seedling trees and tolerating partial shade as those young trees mature.” 
Oregon sunshine
White and blue clusterlilies
Heal-all

Peacock larkspur art … at last!

I have searched far and wide for art depicting our fragile and rare Peacock larkspur. I finally found a print of a painting by a local artist! Here it is, hung with great ceremony near the wood stove. Our farm art collection reflects the species that live on the farm, both plant and animal: Fender’s blue butterfly, Cutthroat trout, and now, Peacock larkspur.

City water pump

The City put this pump in for the farm because the gravity system no longer provided the requisite water pressure. The pressure gauge under the grey-colored cylindrical thing is the house pressure gauge. The gauge in the upper right hand corner is the City pressure. When the pressure to the house is too low, the pump (the rectangular machine under the electric plug) kicks in. The red handles are for workers only. They turn off the water when work needs to be done. The interior light is on a timer.

Men at work

The clearcut is covered in fern.
On our tour of forest roads, looking for downed branches and trees, we found a nearly hidden cache of … Scotch broom!
Narrowleaf wyethia (yellow flower) aka narrowleaf mule’s ears.
Hard to see, but there are a ton of mule’s ears to the left of the tree.
Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) is highly poisonous when ingested by humans or livestock.

Misc. deeds on a lovely day

Buckets of rock from the Bark Place.
The rock filled a hole or two Bianca dug.
This is the inside of the mower where two belts operate the mowing blades. One of the belts came off and Sid discovered it was almost completely torn in half. The other one was only slightly damaged. We picked a replacement up and Sid somehow figured how to wind it all back together.
See that insect? We thought it might be the killer bee from Washington, but it wasn’t. In fact, it is not a bee at all. It is a robber or assassin fly (laphria vulfur). They lurk near bees nests and prey on the innocent little bees! Awful!
We found a new place for the game camera.
Pacific ninebark, a native shrub.
Bianca went to a lot of trouble to roll in cow dung only to have her master give her a bath. Sad!