A more normal mullein head would be like the following.
Although it is a couple of months late, the new double jug bird feeder has finally arrived. During the cold weather I put feed out on a board for the birds to eat. They quickly discovered it and started coming by when they saw me adding more feed. The following bird feeder is designed to fit over a t-post. It is made from cedar wood and plastic one gallon jugs. After finishing it I already recognize a flaw, so, this version is numbered 0.1.
Here are some pictures of the double jug bird feeder:
Since some components of the feeder are made of food grade plastic, I wonder how long it will last out in the direct sunlight.
On February 28 the first greenery of flower leaves poked up above the leaf mulch along the fence line. Then on March 15 the first Easter flower bloomed.
And many of its neighbors were about to bloom.
Many of the other flowers along the fence are awake and growing.
In addition to regular maintenance of the field trees, again this year I sprouted some some pecan seed nuts and Chinese chestnut seed nuts and grew them in pots. In November I transferred the potted trees to a straw bale fort and covered them with mulch to protect them during the cold winter months. I should have taken better care of them because some died during the hot weather.
Although I did not get around to putting up new fencing along the road, I did paint the roof of the metal building again. And, of course the weeds had to be mowed a few times.
During October and November I planted 52 trees and bushes into the fields as follows:
18 black walnut trees(4 grafted)
8 Chinese chestnut trees(4 grafted)
3 shellbark hickory trees
13 pecan trees(2 grafted)
2 persimmon trees
2 paw paw trees
2 chokecherry bushes
2 hazelnut bushes
2 nanking cherry bushes
During the last couple of years I have planted various types of seeds in an effort to learn more about cover crops. The cereal rye that I planted in the Fall of 2016 grew up to six feet tall and produced very large amounts of bio-mass that when rolled down blocked out weeds for many weeks and some straw still remains on the soil surface. The vines of hairy vetch were very thick but they decompose more quickly after dying. During last Summer I also planted some test strips of buckwheat, pearl millet, sunflowers, sudangrass, and flax just to see what they look like and how they grow. One of my goals is to improve the soil by trying to generate six feet of topsoil around the growing trees.
Also during the Summer I planted some mixes of covers composed of a grass, a legume, a broad leaf. The grasses were sudangrass and pearl millet, the legumes were cow peas and black soybeans, and the broad leaves were sunflowers and buckwheat. I did not get very good stands. I need to do a better job of uprooting any fescue before planting. In August I sowed some Daikon radish seeds close in around the pecan trees. Interestingly, around the young pecan trees the radish grew well and produced one to two inch diameter roots, but, around the older pecan trees the seeds barely sprouted.
In the Spring twin fauns were apparently born on my property. Over the Summer as I was out and about, I would often rouse them from their daytime hiding places. This Fall while I would be planting trees in one rather isolated field, they would come out of the adjacent woods and browse the Winter rye that that I had planted there. One time when I looked up from digging, one of the was about 60 feet away. While I rested, it walked up to about 30 feet from me. Although I saw them in mid-December, I wonder if they will survive through January.
Various seeds were sown in test strips to see how they grow. In the following picture the strips from right to left are:
– Buckwheat (already dropped blooms)
– Pearl Millet
– flax(hidden behind the sudangrass)
The shorter flax is hidden by the row of sudangrass. Here is a picture of the pretty blue flax blooms:
All test strips were sown on July 12. The buckwheat started blooming after 30 days. After 59 days the sunflowers were in peak bloom.
and the butterflies, bees, etc were all around
Here is the strip of pearl millet.
Here is the strip of buckwheat after the blooms are gone.
In the Fall of 2012 I planted some fragrant sumac bushes on a hillside. Every year since then the local deer insist on pruning the bushes without asking me first. Here is some of their handy work this Fall.
I place three foot diameter fencing rings around the pecan and chestnut trees to discourage them from helping me prune. Yet despite the efforts of the deer the sumac bushes have come back every Spring to play the game again.
Whoa! What are these vermin feeding on the pecan tree leaves?
After removing hundreds of caterpillars that were feeding on the tree leaves by crushing them between my fingers, here is what little foliage remained.
The caterpillars had almost completely defoliated the tree before I noticed it. So far this is the only affected tree that I have found. And, here is a closer look at what the caterpillars leave behind after feeding.
There are lots of birds that feed on the insects in the trees and leave their poop on the leaves and protective fence that encircles each tree. Sometimes they even land on the limbs and break some off. So, why did the birds not find and feed on the hundreds of caterpillars that were on this tree?