Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Big Day!

Today is significant for a couple of reasons -
#1. It's my dear husband's 60th birthday, which is enough in itself a cause for celebration,
but then there's......
#2. He has finally, after many long, tiring days, finished planting 60 acres of field corn. Phew!
Plowing was started on April 15th. Then came rock picking...a job no one in their right mind likes. Before the corn planting began 8 days ago, he planted 10 acres of oats and new seeding (grass for hay).

Yesterday, while planting, he had a pleasant surprise....

The Killdeer is a bird that lays its eggs in fields, and these often become casualties when field work begins. While slowly driving the tractor along, watching the row, he saw a flash of color - a female Killdeer with wings and tail fanned into a circle, protecting her eggs. The brave little mother didn't fly away until the tractor had almost passed her. Hubby climbed off the tractor to inspect the eggs, and thankfully, the wheels had missed them.

Back at the house a little later, he told me about finding the eggs and suggested it might be a good opportunity for photos. Well yes! And here are the eggs, amazingly intact. This field had been dragged in the morning and it's truly a miracle the eggs survived that!

Have any of you ever looked for a Killdeer nest? As you can see in this photo, they're so well camouflaged that it's almost impossible to spot them.
I couldn't get a good shot of the mom or dad at that time because they try to lure you from the nest by calling shrilly and flying away. They also do the broken wing thing...running away while dragging a wing, but I didn't see that this time. Posted by Picasa

Later I rode on the tractor with my husband, at his suggestion, camera in hand, and while the bird will fly away from a person who is on foot, she stays put on the eggs when the tractor approaches. We drove to within a few feet and I took several photos, after which we backed away and left the poor, vigilant little mommy alone. Click any of these photos to enlarge for detail if you'd like.

Here's Hubby dragging a plowed field...

....and here's our good friend, Nancy, disking. She used to have her own farm and still loves to do field work. She finds riding around on a tractor relaxing...when it's not too bumpy, which some of these fields were, leaving her 'all shook up' by the end of the day :) Posted by Picasa

It's so lovely to see the trees green again.

The Canadian geese like to feed in the fields ....

.....and down by the river, but I only saw a couple of muskrats swimming there this day because the geese were over in another field. Oh, and we saw a beaver swimming in the creek as we came across the culvert! That was a happy surprise! He flipped underwater and disappeared into the culvert when he saw us, so I wasn't quick enough to get a photo. I keep hoping to see him again, but so far no luck. Posted by Picasa

I explored the river and stalked the geese while Hubby plowed.

It's very pretty down there.

I found some geese over by a little creek.

On and on Hubby plodded, hour after hour, day after day. He couldn't get the old 4-row planter fixed without waiting for expensive parts to come from overseas, so he used the 2-row planter, which of course took twice as long....

.....but today he finally finished! Oh happy day!

Finishing up with a couple of shots of the view looking past our front yard, taken with the zoom lens from up on the shale bed over by that first field I showed you.

Those red leaved trees are the crab apples on our front lawn, which are just about finished blooming now, unfortunately. Posted by Picasa

Happy big six-0 dear Hubby!

You deserve a rest!


Susie said...[Reply]

Dear Kerri,
Happy Happy Birthday to Ross :) He's just a few months older than Bill and I (Sept & Oct)
He's such a good blogging assistant to come get you for a ride on the tractor :)
Your farm is just amazingly beautiful. Simply a little piece of heaven right here on earth.
Thanks for sharing your always beautiful photos.
Much love!

jellyhead said...[Reply]


Those photos are so lovely Kerri.... the one with the geese with just their heads & necks showing above the green grass is especially beautiful. I'm with Susie - you live in such a glorious spot!

Alice said...[Reply]

So where is the blushing BIRTHDAY BOY? Have a wonderful day, Ross, even if that cruel wife did make you work so hard!!!!!

I'll check out the photos (and drool over them), and comment, later.

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

Happy 60th Birthday Farmer Ross. He looks quite the Gentleman Farmer out there on his tractor. The Killdeer are mighty lucky that their nest wasn't smashed. That Mommy Killdeer is very brave.

Tina said...[Reply]

Happy B-day to your hubster!
Isn't it nice that everything is looking so much greener - even though there's snow in the air. Ugh!
We have a Killdeer that lays her eggs in the gravel at the side of the road every year. So funny when she panics and plays injured, but where she decides to nest really stresses me out. She's a slow learner as she's lost eggs many times from the tromping feet of joggers.
Glad your hub got done planting - it's been so cold up here that they've only gotten as far as the plowing. I don't think there will be any seed hitting dirt until later this weekend, at the earliest.

Pam/Digging said...[Reply]

Your farm life seems so different from my urban suburb, Kerri. Whenever you post about the fields and streams and hills surrounding you, I just linger over the photos. It looks like a beautiful vacation spot to me!

Elzie said...[Reply]

Happy belated birthday!!! I'm so glad your hubby managed to see the eggs. Here we have deers kids in the fields sometimes and many of them gets killed. It's a pity.
Those Canadian geeses are a true pain in the neck. They come to our lakes and makes it a mess. We certainly don't like them LOL.
Hope you're having a great day.
Love Elzie

John said...[Reply]

Happy 60TH Birthday, to your husband.

Barbara said...[Reply]

Happy birthday to your husband, Kerri! And tell him, he did a great work and really deserves some rest now....and a wonderful, big birthday cake!

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

The killdeer photos were wonderful - now that's something few of us will ever see in real life, Kerri! How funny that she didn't care when you were on the tractor but would flee if you were on foot... maybe that's similar to neighborhood dogs barking at pedestrians while ignoring vehicles?

Happy Birthday to Ross and tell him I said welcome to my side of "the Hill", but remind him that doesn't mean OVER the hill!

Was the 60 acres/60th birthday thing purely coincidence or did your husband arrange the corn planting fields with that number in mind?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Cris said...[Reply]

Happy 60th to your husband!!! What a coincidence 60/60. xoxoxo

Amy said...[Reply]

Happy Birthday to your husband! Wow, what a lot of work getting those crops in - makes my efforts feel pretty puny! :) You took such wonderful pictures of it all.

Giddy said...[Reply]

Happy Birthday to Ross! He's just one year younger than my hubby. So nice of him to take you on the photo shoot on the tractor.

Your area is so lovely - makes me want to take another road trip!

Linda said...[Reply]

How I love visiting your beautiful blog Kerri. I always feel as though I've had a little visit back home.
My husband will be 60 in a couple of weeks. Don't the years go by quickly.
Praying you have a blessed and happy weekend.

Debbie said...[Reply]

Happy birthday to your hubby and congratulations on a job very well done.

We also live in farm country, but the man that farms across the road had lots of help from sons and grandsons.

We also hear the Killdeer, but often wonder how successful they are with after the plowing. The field is planted with a silage mix this year instead of corn, so maybe she will be fine.

Wonderful pictures!

em said...[Reply]

What a fine post! (Happy birthday to you hubs.) the killdeer photo is fantastic! i had to blow it up to see all the detail. how close were you? i love the eggs. when will they hatch? thanks for a great post.

Kylie said...[Reply]

Happy Birthday Daddy. You look very handsome in the tractor photos. I don't think I've ever seen a killdeer before. Pretty bird and pretty eggs too. Amazing that you spotted them!

Sue Swift said...[Reply]

Happy birthday Ross! Hope you have time for a rest before the next job ...
Hadn't come across the killdeer before. It looks similar to European plovers so I guess it's related. But what a strange name. Do you know he origin?

Artsy Etc. said...[Reply]

Happy Birthday to your dear hubby. He's been busy!! I love your photos and they make me wish I had a farm. How lovely!

We have killdeers here and they are so interesting. The fake injuries to draw the attentions from their nests. I'm glad the eggs were spotted and spared.

Have a great day, Kerri.

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...[Reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...[Reply]

Happy birthday to your hubby. D|oes he get a rest now? Or does he have lots more work to do?

Zoey said...[Reply]

Happy belated birthday, Ross. My hubby will be 60 next year (he's waaaaaaay older than I am ! :) )

It's amazing that those eggs were not broken. How sweet of Ross to think of us and take you out there to get pictures.

How close is your nearest neighbor, Kerri? It looks like you have a lot of land. So beautiful!

judypatooote said...[Reply]

Wow Kerri, it looks like you live in Heaven....I am so overwelmed with the beauty of nature....if I lived there, my camera would never leave my side....your photo's of the eggs, and bird on eggs are gorgeous....You say no one in their right minds likes to rock pick.....well strangely enough, my husband and I use to love to go out for a drive and look for rocks on the side of the road....the farmers would push them all in a pile....we would gather them up the ones we wanted, bring them home and he would put them in our garden, that was how he relaxed (not me)....he always half planted them into the earth, because he figured that was how mother nature wanted them...LOL I really did have fun rock hunting. I miss those times.....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your Hubby. 60's not a bad use to sound old, but now that I'm pushing 70 (2 more years).... even that don't sound so bad.....

I never realized NY was so beautiful....I think of NY as a hustle and bustle place....thanks for sharing your beauty with me... judy

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...[Reply]

Hey Kerri,
Your farm is absolutely beautiful! I love the gently rolling hills, streams and valleys. Your land reminds me of where I grew up in Pennsylvania.

Happy belated birthday to your hubby!

I'm so happy that the kildeer and her eggs survived the plowing and all. I saw a kildeer at the nursery a few weeks ago. She was circling around in the gravel by the lavender display and the fruit trees. We tried to tell her that we would put more tables and carts and stuff there, so it wasn't a good place for a nest. She did fly away after a little while. She was certainly lovely.
-- Wing Nut

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...[Reply]

I've never seen a killdeer before. How interesting they are. And what a miracle that those eggs survived. Like Annie I was wondering if the 60 acres was to mark the 60th b-day. Happy belated birthday! And like Pam I too was struck by the rural/urban differences. Your farm is all green and full of vibrant color now Kerri!

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

Farming is really hard work. I can't imagine working and planting that much land! I just have a tiny veggie garden and it's all I can do to care for it! As for all the flower gardens I planted when I was younger and stronger, they still bloom, but amongst the buttercups and dandelions! LOL
I think we may have killdeer here, but I haven't seen them.
Your photos are great. Thanks so much for sharing.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

Oh happy day for sure to be finished with planting. It must be such a satisfying feeling for both of you.

Oh how I remember walking the fields and picking up rocks. We were certain that the rocks were having babies over the winter months. Ha!

So glad that the Killdeer eggs managed to escape the wheels of the tractor. I love how they play the injured game when someone approaches. Very clever.

It is so nice to see all the green again. It all looks so serene.

Happy belated birthday to your hubby.

Jeanette said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri, Happy belated birthday to hard working Ross.
Lucky bird, glad hubby was able to get you to take photo for all to see.My daughter had aa simlar looking bird Red capped plover that nested in the middle of her drive (Crushed Rock)in Oz and the eggs were very hard to see the 1st time someone accidently run over them the 2nd time we were aware of them and all 3 survived,,

Rachel said...[Reply]

Gosh, I haven't been here in awhile. Don't know what happened with that. Your husband and I share the same birthday! (I was 54). Belated Happy Birthday to him!

I so enjoyed seeing all these pictures!! I grew up on a farm so seeing farm life is wonderful. The area you live in is lovely!!! I used to see killdeer while riding my horse in the fields and I was careful never to disturb their nest but I would dismount and look at the eggs! Once I showed my brother a nest and he rode the mule around and around mashing all the eggs. I was so mad at him and I never showed him another one after that.

Thankfully he grew out of his meanness!!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...[Reply]

Happy Belated Birthday Ross!

Kerri...You & Ross live in paradise, but Ross works much too hard. I guess that's what keeps him young.

We have Kildeer here and they are usually found in gravel parking lots or bare ground easily because of their broken wing technique. You'd never know a nest was near until you see the Kildeer making such a fuss and acting like it's got a broken wing and leading you away from her nest. Those little birds always amaze me as they run along the ground.

JunieRose2005 said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,

Happy Birthday to your husband!

WOW! I didn't realize your farm was so big! You have a hard working husband to do all that!

My husband would LOVE that kind of farm!

Your place is so pretty_ I just love visiting here!! :)

Hope you're having a great day today>


Layanee said...[Reply]

You live in a truly beautiful place! Happy belated birthday to your husband!

Yolanda Elizabet said...[Reply]

Happy birthday to your hubby and happy escape to those eggs. Thanks for taking all those pics of the eggs and their Mommy. Hopefully they will hatch.

Thanks for all the lovely pics of that gorgeous countryside you live in!

clairesgarden said...[Reply]

hard work done and the farm looks beautiful!
many birthday blessings!!

Apple said...[Reply]

Wishing Ross a Very Happy Birthday! with my sincere apology for being a week late!

The farm looks great but what a lot of work! I'm happy the planting is done. How kind of Ross to worry about the eggs.

Susan said...[Reply]

A big day indeed! Happy Birthday to your DH! What will happen to the nest? Will he abandon that section of field until they hatch?

Thanks for all your comments on my vacation! It was great fun, and now is hard to get back into the routine.

Have a great day!

Isabelle said...[Reply]

Happy belated birthday to Ross! My Ross was 60 a couple of weeks ago. How strange it is to be married to such an old man... (!) Still, at least you're grandparents, unlike us (sigh).

As usual, when I look at your pictures I want your life. Please can I be you? Please? You can be me if you like - I have a huge pile of exams for you to mark and a tiny little city garden with no views. Come on, you're tempted, aren't you? I have a Ross for you too! He's a bit elderly but you can't have everything.

Barbee' said...[Reply]

Kerri, your photo of the river is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. Pretty enough to frame and hang on the wall!

I used to play in the field as a child and played among the killdeers and probably drove them nuts. I look back and see that it was a wonderful place to be a child.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...[Reply]

How cool, you got to see muskrats! I love them, but haven't seen any at the pond in several years. Thanks for posting the Kildeer nest. I've never seen one, but there are a lot of Kildeers around here (there's even a town named for them). You & your not-yet-over-the-hill hubby live in such a beautiful place.

Judith Polakoff said...[Reply]

Happy belated B-Day to Ross! :) These photos of your place are just gorgeous, Kerri. I especially appreciate the photos of the killdear and her eggs. Another friend just happened to be telling me about one and I didn't know what it was or what it looked like. But now, thanks to you, I do!! Isn't this weather just heavenly? I'm soaking up every glorious minute outdoors as I possibly can, and I can see that you're doing the same. Enjoy! :)

kate smudges said...[Reply]

Your farm is so beautiful Kerri. I love when you show shots of the countryside beyond. It's always a momentous occasion when the seeding is done. Many good wishes to your husband on hitting 60!! Hope you had a good birthday cake.