Pick ups have started, crops are coming in, and we are well on our way to months of local, organically grown vegetables. People were out in the fields this week, attending to the pick your own items. Our crew diligently continues to plant and harvest crops. Lily patrols the outskirts of the farm, keeping an eye on spots that we do not. As we all make our way around the farm, we see much wildlife. Our farm is a home, not only to us and our vegetables, but many other species as well.
The killdeer parents successfully nested in Field 3 and brooded two hatchlings. They now walk the fields, eating and teaching their young. If you get too close, the adults will perform their broken wing routine, a trick to distract you away from their babies. The red tailed hawk continues to threaten the smaller birds; it ends up circling overhead to escape sharp pecks on its tail and even its head! The pileated woodpecker calls out from the woods, with its unmistakeable cry and makes passes across our field. Hank, the catbird, who nests in the bush by the wash station, visits us at the picnic tables and steals crumbs of bread when his mouth is not already full of caterpillars—all of it intended for the babies in the nest.
Although we have not seen the coyote since it crossed our field in the early spring, its tracks are visible. I hope it stays around and wards off the deer, who continually threaten our crops. We have only seen one rabbit this season so far, though it looked like a pregnant mother. Luckily, she has stayed away from our gardens, unlike in past years, when it seemed she had signed up for an herb share of her own.
We are also on the look out for the snapping turtle mama, who will search for a safe place to lay eggs. The toads are enjoying their secret hideaways—hidden, damp spots on the farm that only they can find. We have milkweed galore in the flower garden this year (see the photo of one above). That bodes well for the monarch caterpillar, whose only food source is the milkweed plant. We will not pull it out. Hopefully, in the summertime, we will see the monarch chrysalis on the plants and be able to see them hatching into butterflies!
As you wander the farm this summer, be on the lookout for these other worlds that exist with ours. Look and explore, but don’t touch the plants too much. Give the animals their space. They feel safe at our farm and we want to keep it that way. I hope you find the lives of these other species as fascinating as I do!
See you at the farm!