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Archive for April, 2011

Alewife

The herring was running out on Cape Cod at the Stony Brook Grist Mill

http://www.capecodtravel.com/attractions/nature/herring0597.shtml

It was a beautiful day- he we are above the stream. We saw 2 volunteers counting herring coming into this pond and measuring the water temperature.

The Stream was lined with seagulls waiting for an easy snack.

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Salamanders!

The salamanders were out tonight. Very exciting! Here is a yellow spotted salamander crossing Honey Pot Road.

Here is a Jefferson – I believe he has a hurt leg, poor little guy,

The vernal pool was pretty active and I saw lots of eggs.

They come to the surface to breath every so often. They swarm in clumps.

I believe these are the eggs, although these could be frogs I am not 100%

Here is a red fire newt, they are so beautiful:

The pool was a cacophony with these guys:

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March of the Newts.

First rain of spring the newts (salamanders) cross Honey Pot Road to breed in the vernal pools. This is a very exciting event and it is a brief and wonderful occurrence.

With todays rain I am on watch to see if it is going to happen. There is a bit of snow left so I am not sure if it will happen tonight. There are generally 3 types of salamanders that travel down Drake mountain. The first time we found a fire newt I told the kids it was a baby dragon – I mean come on Drake mountain…

These are unmistakable and the most common. Beautiful red-orange. The yellow spotted Salamaders are breath taking – shown here is a rare albino yellow spotted salamader we found in 2009:

The most rare are the Jeffersons a greyish salamader:

Then there a couple million peepers doin’ their thing:

Now if you do come out – please walk down the road if possible. Drive slow and keep a lookout. The hot spot is here:

For more info on the salamanders: http://www.massaudubon.org/printwildlife.php?id=58

I want to look into making a salamander bridge and creating awareness of these wonderful creatures here in Westfield.

http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2011/04/video_amherst_salamanders_make_annual_trek_through_henry_street_tunnels.html

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Maple Syrup

We just got back from Mike’s and he was making homemade maple syrup.

He tapped only a few of his maples. He was amazed how much sap came out of his trees.

It takes 40 gallons of sap makes 1 gallon of syrup. It was a blast to make and man was it delicious!

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Tikimon!

This weekend I made a tikimon water fountain.

With all the pine I have I started to do some chain saw art, since I generally do not like to burn the pine inside.

I like the roughness and un-finshed look especially when they get older and start to grey out.

I want to get some turkey- tail mushroom plugs and inoculate them so they grow mushrooms out of them as well. I am thinking that the waterfall is a perfect place to do this as it will be constantly watered.

Amy says it is getting too cluttered so I will have to move them to a new home.

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Chickens

We recycle all of our leftover food we do not eat to our chickens.

I converted this old shed which I believe was being used as a dog kennel for my chickens.

It has these boxes with latches that open inside that I fill with hay where they sleep and lay eggs.

I covered the entire outside area with all different types of screening. I started with foul netting – thin plastic. The critters ate right though this, Then I laid another, thin metal gauge with the same results and the third layer stopped them, plus an underground ditch covered with wire rocks and buried…

I lost a bunch this winter and I am down to only 4 – still producing 2 eggs a day!

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Mushroom Bounty

Blue Oyster mushrooms.

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