The activity on the ranch this week has been in the barn and in the various types of life and death around the barn.
Andy has been making huge progress in removing a variety of unnecessary and dubiously constructed shelves, tables, and platforms from the barn, as well as clearing out massive amounts of sawdust, regular dust, and quite a few previously-vacated mud and paper wasp nests.
Here’s Andy’s work in progress:
All that work in the barn has surely rattled the local ecosystems, bringing us to the theme for this week, in which we ask:
What kind of wasp is that? As noted above, we’ve got paper and mud daub wasps (and a bunch of their old nests), but by far the majority of wasps on the property are yellow jackets. After speaking with a friendly bee keeper, and generally poking around on the internet, we want to leave the mud and paper wasps alone, but will be deploying some yellow jacket specific traps since they’re not only aggressive to humans but to honey bees as well.
What kind of rodent is that? A large deceased rat was left not too far from our trailer, we think by one of the cats that has been roaming the property. Unfortunately for the classification attempts (but fortunate for the readers of this blog) we didn’t take a picture, so we can only guess it was a wood/pack rat based on the length of body vs length of tail, the blunt rather than elongated nose/face, and the overall rotundness. It did look more like a giant hamster than a rat (a characterization I read somewhere online). We’re not too worried about a rat infestation since there’s no longer anywhere for them to live in the barn, and the house will be gutted anyway. And, we’ve got some feline rat hunters around.
What kind of spider is that? I’m pretty much fine with dead rodents, and I’m trying to live and let live with the wasps, but we’ve also got black widow spiders around. If they stayed outside I wouldn’t mind, but one was spotted in my trailer bedroom – it was being menaced by Sinbad the cat when it slipped away into a gap in the trim that surrounds the slide-out. The slide-out that I sleep in. I’ve read all the stuff (I have to recommend this here website which has great info on all kinds of insects) so I know the black widow doesn’t want to be living in the trailer with us, and does not want to hurt me, and hopefully made an exit never to return.
What kind of bird is that? Ah, birds, so lovely to look at and non-threatening to have around. We’ve seen hawks, vultures, something like a jay or jays, something like a sparrow or sparrows, doves, and chickens from an adjacent property – we also heard an owl! I really like the sounds the chickens make, but they seem to be terrified of me so I keep my distance.
Did we just see a bunch of turkeys in that front yard? Yes, we did.