Find the frog(s)
The wildlife visiting my pond is different every day. We get way more birds than I did when I tried feeders, plus we attract a few other critters. Right now I have a vole that is making the pond edge his home. I wouldn’t mind just staying there, but he has decided that the flowers need to be harvested. They are barely done blooming and he snips some of them off. Since we are short adult cats right now he has free range. Oh well, he’s just part of the wildlife in my yard. For now I’ll have to live with him.
Filed under: Farm, Minnesota, Soybeans, Wildlife | Tags: aphids, farm, field soybean, insect damage, lacewing, lady bugs, Minnesota, scouting soybeans, Soybeans, spider mites, weather, Weed control, wildlife
I’ve been out scouting soybeans for some time now, but today was the first day that I took my camera. I’ve been out looking for weed escapes, insect damage and yield potential. So here’s what I’m finding in our Minnesota soybean fields.
This is from our last planted field of soybeans. There are not as many pods here as I’m used to seeing, but there is still potential as there are flowers and smaller pods at the top of each plant. These are seed beans that are planted in 30 inch rows.
We’ve got a lady bug on this leaf. This is a good bug. The problem is that when you see good bugs, there are lots of bad bugs. This leaf has both aphids and spider mites on it. Most of the insects will be on the stem or the bottom of the leaf. To find them on the top of the leaf usually mean there are a lot of them.
Here’s some soybeans that were planted in 15 inch rows. They were planted earlier than my other beans and seem to be doing better. Although the plants are shorter, there are more pods on them. The tighter row spacing allows the plant to canopy sooner and help hold moisture. That should mean that we will harvest more soybeans from this field.
Soybean flowers are very small and usually self pollinating. They grow at the top of the plant and keep putting pods on at each new node as the plant grows. you can have large fat pods at the bottom of the plant and new flowers at the top. This helps the plant add seeds when ever the conditions are right.
Soybeans are rarely all the same height. This patch is showing some moisture stress. You can also find shorter beans when there is lots of insect pressure, a wet spot or compacted soil. Soybeans tend to grow taller if there is competition from other plants also.
So there you have it, that is what I’ve been finding in my soybean field.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, genetic modification, GMO, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather, Wildlife | Tags: Corn, drought, farm, Genetically Modified, GMO, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather, wildlife
I’ve been spending time out in the field checking on crop conditions. Despite the dry conditions in our area of Minnesota the crop looks really good. If we had not had the heavy rains this spring, and a few well timed rains this summer, I’m sure it would have looked a lot worse.
This is pretty typical of what I see. Every stalk has an ear on it, and they all seem to be well filled out. Some are even starting to tip down, which means that they are nearing maturity. The stalks are mostly green top to bottom, but areas that had more stress are showing some dead leaves on the bottom.
If you peal the husks back you see that the ears are well filled out and most kernels are dented. Some are filled to the tip while others are missing some kernels at the end. This is potential that could have been corn.
Sometimes you will find an ear that insects, raccoons, mice or deer have damaged the ears. This photo is mouse damage. These instances are rare, but there. In a good year this would not be a problem. It seems that in a dry year you have more of these problems.
Raccoons and deer can destroy large areas of corn if they are thick enough. Mice and insects usually settle for a few kernels on the end of the ear, their damage is hidden, but substantial.
Even the moisture stressed plants in sandy areas will try to produce corn, and some will succeed. We do not have many areas like this, but most field have them. The amount of grain loss will depend on how large the area is.
So how big will our crop be? I really could not tell you. I do know that with out modern crop technology we would be looking at a lot less yield. The ability to get by on little water that is part of the newer genetically modified crops is really making a difference between having a crop and not having one. We’ll see what is out there when the combines roll.
I can tell you that we will have one of the earlier harvest in our history. Maturity has been hastened by all of the heat we have had this growing season.
Filed under: birds, Farm, fish, house, pond, water garden, Wildlife | Tags: animals, barn swallow, farm, garden, goldfish, Koi, plants, pond, raccoon, raspberries, robins, wildlife
We’ve had a few animal visitors lately, some we want and some we’d rather had stayed away.
I was delighted to see this frog sitting on a lilly pad two days ago. I had lots of frogs in the pond early this spring, but very few since.
My mom had been harvesting about two quarts of raspberries until the robins found them. Now every time she approaches the garden a dozen or more fly off. They don’t even let the berries get ripe, but eat them just before they are ready.
I heard a splash in my koi pond two nights ago when I went to look at it before going to bed. In the morning a few pots had been dug in, but not much to worry about. This morning my goldfish pond looked like this.
Water lilly’s had been torn up and hyacinth and water lettuce were upside down. Worst of all, four 10 year old goldfish are missing. I suspect a raccoon, but have no evidence to prove it. With my sweet corn about ready for harvest, I hope I am wrong.
Some barn swallows built a nest on a roof bracket over the kitchen window. Although I like barn swallows since they eat insects, what they do to the side of the house has my bride upset. The word is out, they need to move soon!
I really do want animal visitors, but sometimes i wish they would not be so messy.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Soybeans, tillage, travel | Tags: Agriculture education, Corn, farm, machines, outdoors, Planting, pond, rain, Soybeans, travel, trees, Weed control, wildlife
Watch a farmer drive across country and you would think his head was on a swivel. Checking out first one side of the road and then the other can give you whiplash, but for me there is so much to see.
What do you see as you travel farm country? Those not involved in farming see very little, but farm folks see so much more, an example: It rained Sunday, I took a trip today and had to see how the area was doing. Because of all the rain I was checking out where water had eroded hillsides, where water was ponding or had ponded, where a deer had walked across wet ground, where geese were congregating in a ponded field and where the wind was starting to blow dust. I do that every mile when I travel, it is continuous. I also check out how tall the corn is, if the soybeans are coming up or not in planted fields and how the weed control is or is not doing. I also check out farming methods and how they are effecting water movement.
It’s a wonder I get to my destination all the things I find to look at on a trip down the road. The fact is that most farmers are the same. Driving to another state where farming practices are different can really get the head moving. We look for crops we do not plant, and different methods of planting those we do. We study irrigation and tillage methods, look for cattle (or bison) on the hillsides in ranch country and notice trees around building sites and rivers. We’ll look for wildlife and farm machines, tillage practices and building sites, there just is so much to study. Farmers look for so much when they travel.
The next time you travel through farm country, take a look at all there is to see. If you only see green fields you are not seeing, but only looking. Travel the country with a farmer if you really want to see the countryside.
Filed under: fish, Ice, Minnesota, pond, snow, spring | Tags: frogs, Koi, Minnesota, pond, snow, spring, water plants, wildlife
Our pond has awakened from it’s winters sleep. The real clincher was seeing frogs sunning on the shore.
Our weather has turned warm with highs in the 70′s and lows staying much above freezing. The pond has responded with new leaves on underwater and shore line plants, and increased activity from the koi. To see frogs out of the water was a real delight. I’m hoping that we will see one of our baby turtles emerge from their winters nap soon also.
After the partial die off of koi in early winter I have watched for activity in the pond when ever the ice melted a bigger hole in the pond. Once in a while I would see one of the small orange koi in the depths. Now that the sun is getting higher and reaching into the depths of the pond it is easier to see the koi in all parts of the pond. Having several black or grey koi, I do not often see them unless they come to the top. Now that the sun is reaching the bottom of the pond I can get a bit of shadow on the dark bottom that betrays their presence.
All of this is all the more exciting because for the last two years this part of Minnesota had temperatures below freezing at this time of year and large piles of snow. This year we are expecting record or near record high temperatures. Most of the fields and lawns now are devoid of snow. Only in the deepest shadow, where the snow piled deepest, is there any snow left. The warmer weather has me ready for spring.
Filed under: birds, Farm, Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, weather, Wildlife, wind, winter | Tags: ash tree, colorado spruce, farm, Minnesota, mouse track, rain, snow, trees, wildlife, wind, winter
Scenes such as this where snow is perched on top of ice-covered branches are really rare.
Trees such as this young birch that were flexible enough to bend but not break will weather the ice quite well.
This Colorado Spruce has lost its top and had its other branches are pushed down. It will now be at a disadvantage in its search for sunlight.
Not all branches broke off cleanly. This branch was twisted as it broke and is still hung up in the tree. Since it is well above the reach of any of my equipment, I will have to do some creative thinking to get this branch out.
Many trees are still bent over from the weight of the ice and could break yet, as the top of this ash tree already has.
It is not only trees that have been put under stress. The birds also are looking for food since most need seeds and tree buds to make it through the winter. Ice covered trees and grasses are now locked away from them in most areas and they are congregating in areas the ice did not get to as can be seen by these tracks left by a flock of Juncos.
Also in evidence in the new snow were these mouse track which were only a few feet from the Koi pond. It shows that my cats have not eliminated all mice from the area.
If the wind can stay away for a while, we are expecting some warm weather in a few days and many of these trees and grasses will be relieved of their extra weight. Some damage may not show yet and could result in breaking branches later in the year as new leaves are forming. Looks like I’ll have a bit of cleaning up to do when the weather improves.
Filed under: birds, garden, Minnesota, pond, rain, water garden, Wildlife | Tags: birds, deer, farm, frogs, Minnesota, rain, screen porch, summer, weather, wildlife
Our pond is under siege by an invasion of frogs. It’s not unusual to see three or four, but this afternoon we had 11 that I could count and there had to be more hiding in the plants at ponds edge. That tells me I did something right.
Here’s some more.
There are six frogs hiding in the picture above.
The weather has been dry lately with not even a dust settler for this month. This morning we had a thunderstorm roll through and it didn’t even leave a tenth of an inch.
Our ponds also has drawn deer for a drink. I’ve not seen them at the pond, but have found them leaving when I step out in the morning. With the only open water source in some distance we are drawing quite a few birds also. It sure can make dinner in the screen porch an interesting time.
Our not so friendly Kingbird is back.
Last year we had a Kingbird decide that he did not like the windows on the south side of our house. Day after day he would attack the window. Then as weather cooled he left. We came home from our family reunion in Colorado to find him back at it. Beak first, right into the window. When will he stop.
There he is, right above the flash reflection, at it again.
Filed under: birds, Farm, frost, Minnesota, rain, snow, spring, weather, Wildlife, wind | Tags: cold, farm, geese, Minnesota, rain, snow, spring, weather, wildlife, wind
With the cold of the last few days the ducks and geese have paused their northward migration to take advantage of flooded fields in our area. Although the rivers are open, many lakes are still ice covered so going further north is not going to work too well. Gleaning spilled grain from farm fields will help them get some energy to complete their flight.
Our local geese have claimed their nesting spots, although there is still ice around them in the ponds and lakes, and rivers are at forcing the geese further away from normal riverbanks. Two days ago when the winds were so gusty out of the north some of the geese were having a tough time holding their spots on the ice as they were pushed down wind.
All rivers are well out of their banks, although the cold has allowed for a slowdown in the surge. Some were predicting historically high water levels, but the lack of frost in farm fields this year means that most water is sinking in rather than running off. A few bridges have reappeared, but that could change when the warm weather returns. Mother Nature is still in control.