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 For some reason, I'm absolutely exhausted today, so you get pictures of things from the farm (very picture heavy!):

More vulture baby:


He/she is getting bigger (the feet, the feet!), and is now much more mobile - and still stinky.  Baby hisses like mad, but hasn't felt threatened enough to throw up at me (a special, special moment that has to be smelled to be believed).  The vulture momma is still hanging about the barn unless she's disturbed, and seems very protective (without being aggressive - they're not hostile animals).  She hung around in the tree closest to the barn until I left:

Bob mowed the "lawn" (more of a hay meadow at this point), so I had a clear route to the vulture barn: 


Well, clear-ish.  The locusts have been growing up and over everything.

We also have lots of wildflowers - butterfly weed is growing everywhere, and I harvested almost a quarter cup of poppy seeds off the wild poppy that seeded itself by the kitchen door (enough for a couple of lemon poppyseed muffins, if I was so inclined - but I'm going to scatter the seeds and try for more poppies next year).  A number of opportunistic plants have sprung up in the disturbed soil, but luckily, a lot of them are attractive.  We have mallows, and also a huge stand of milkweed:


Before we came to Virginia, I had no idea milkweed was so huge.  It also has a really lovely scent, very light and rose-like.  The frittilary butterflies are completely drunk on the stuff, and I managed to catch a female tiger swallowtail on one of the blooms:


The milkweed is a thing of beauty by itself:


I am thinking of trying to grow it as an ornamental, since it would sit very well in the back of a summer border, and attracts butterflies like hippies to a free Dead concert.

We also have wild black raspberries, many, many canes of blackberries (it will be a good year for jam), and blueberries, though they're a little disappointing this year.  

It was a good weekend.


( 21 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jun. 16th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful, peaceful place you have! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos.
Jun. 16th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
The baby is unbearably cute! I'll trade you half a dozen deer for a baby vulture.
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
Re: vulture
Thanks, we already gots some. One of the fawns came within 15 feet of the house a few weeks ago. :)
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Re: vulture
They're very pretty, but I like ours better when they're in the neighbors' yards instead of mine and not on the edge of the highway. . .
Jun. 16th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
Hmm, carrion regurgitated by Momma, and then regurgitated again by Junior. Very special.
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
It's quite something. The first year, Vic and I got a live demonstration from one of the chicks while she was photographing them. :)

Jun. 16th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh! This weekend, I just wanted to be outside all the time, despite the heat and humidity. The honeysuckles are in high bloom here and the whole place just smells so lovely!
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
It is gorgeous - the honeysuckle was out at the end of may, and was almost overwhelming. Fortunately, neither of us are allergic.

I always laugh hysterically when I see pots of honeysuckle for sale at garden centers here - it's an invasive weed! The VA dept of Wildlife tells people not to plant it because it chokes out native plants (as it's doing to some of my persimmons - I must uproot massive amounts of it eventually).
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I know what you mean. We have all this "non-grass" in our backyard that I think would make a landscaper despair: clover, wild strawberries, wild violets, and these little yellow and white flowers that I don't know what they are. Every other week, the yard is a different colour because of what's in bloom. It's really lovely. And yet they're all weeds! You couldn't pay me to dig that out and plant real grass. I mean, whatever for? And the best part is that these "weeds" grow under the trees so we have no bald spots. It's really nice.

There's hardly any real grass in the backyard, and it often occurs to me that this "non-grass" doesn't get any higher than a few inches. If I could figure out how to kill the real grass, I would. We'd never have to mow again!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 16th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
I R stylin'! =)
Jun. 16th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
Our problem is that the interesting weeds in our lawn grow TALL. Given that we have deer, and therefore ticks, in our neighborhood, I'm not keen on tall grass. My goal is to eradicate all but little stretches of it between the borders and islands. My husband, who has to mow the grass and weeds, is in full agreement on the plan.
Jun. 16th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: weeds
We have deer and ticks too. But I'm not going to go cutting down the trees to stop them. I just dose the dogs with Frontline and don't hang out in the trees.
Jun. 16th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: weeds
Virginia is awful for ticks - We're always finding them, even if we don't go into the deep woods. Because we had such a warm winter, they're even worse this year. :(
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Re: weeds
Virginia and PA are similar that way. When I say "trees" I mean that there's a row of them at the top of our property. It's far from the deep woods. But this is the reason we keep the dogs dosed on Frontline even in the winter. They've picked up ticks in February before, but it's been a long time since we've had one attach. Yay!

I wish humans could use Frontline. And while I don't condone the destruction of a species, when I'm Empress, ticks will receive the same amount of scorn as Gypsy Moths. If you do nothing but spread disease, you aren't welcome in my personal universe. ;)
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
Re: weeds
We've picked up ticks even in the areas that aren't under the trees - the deer walk right into our front yard, and the ticks drop off and hang out in the grass waiting for their next host, and I suspect that the smaller critters carry the ticks into our fenced backyard. Keeping the grass (and weeds) shorter seems to be helping.
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Remind me one day to tell you the "Strive for Ambivalence" story. Or better yet, if you ever meet Derbhila from the Windmaster's area, have her tell it.
Jun. 16th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Hee... I love his ickly wings, so fuzzy!

(I am totally of that typical female persuasion that melts and reverts to baby-talk when there are tiny animals around. Alas.)
Jun. 16th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
I do that, too. *sigh* I think it's genetic... I just can't seem to stop myself. :P
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:38 am (UTC)
It's okay - I not only baby-talk to the chicks, I make vulture gestures at the adult vultures. They must think we're complete loons. Harmless, though.

When we first were there, the vultures wouldn't even stay in the highest trees when we were outside - they'd fly away immediately. Now, they'll hang out in the lower branches, sit (and poop) on the buildings, and generally sit and watch us, as long as we don't get too close. Apparently, it's possible to get them to be very relaxed around people (they really don't have any predators, they're just timid and gentle beasties), but it involves the birdfeeder from hell, so I'm not sure we'll go that far. :)
Jun. 16th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
attracts butterflies like hippies to a free Dead concert.

So very true. In florida I use Scarlet Milkweed and the whole patch of it is always alive with butterflies. Great pictures. Especially the female tiger.
Jun. 17th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm actually using the last milkweed picture as my desktop right now. :)
( 21 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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