15 August 2008

Mysterious Hole in the Woods

Last year we had a professional forester walk through our trees and make recommendations to us on best practices to improve its health and commercial value. We knew that our trees were overdue for thinning, and one of the primary recommendations he made was to thin our existing stands by 20% in order to provide some more growing room for the remaining trees.

To that end, we recently spent several hours walking through one of our oldest stands, marking a total of 200 trees to be removed. We walked up and down each row, looking up trying to identify the weakest trees (split or broken tops, dead branches.) In the process, I almost stepped right into a hole in the ground!

I immediately called Corinne over (okay, first I backed up several feet.) This was probably the most comprehensive survey we've made of that forest section, so at first we thought the hole could have been old. Further inspection, however, revealed that the dirt in front of the hole was devoid of needles or sticks and was distinguishable from the forest floor surrounding it. This was no small hole, either. If one of us were to stand with our feet in the mouth of the hole, the forest floor level would be slightly above our knees; the diameter of the opening looked to be about 15-16 inches. These are estimates, of course, as it took a fair bit of fortitude for me to get close enough even for this photo.

We passed this photo around to a few wildlife experts we know - Jim, forester and Bill, wildlife biologist. At first the best guess was that it was a badger den. Although we've never seen a badger on our property, they are native to our area, and since they feed on pocket gophers they would have plenty to eat! However, after doing further investigation we now believe that this was a coyote den. Apparently coyotes dig dens such as these in which to raise their young; after the pups are old enough, the den is abandoned, either permanently or until the next breeding season. Since we had 2 pups frequent our yard this spring, we now assume that they were born and raised in this hole. We haven't seen the pups in some time, so hopefully they have now moved on to another area (although just as likely they have learned to stay out of sight.)

We still have many more stands to mark, so who knows what other exciting discoveries are waiting for us out there!

- Mike (& Corinne)

11 August 2008

Another Bat in the House

Another bat got into the house recently. We're still not 100% sure how it got in; unlike the last bat that got inside, this time we didn't have the doors/windows open for nearly as long. And also unlike the last bat, this one stayed closer to the floor than the ceiling. I was able to get some pretty good closeup shots and a video.

We used the same trick we did last time to get him outside: open the windows and remove the screens and hope that he finds his way outside. If we find another intruder in the near future - three strikes - we'll have to start looking for possible cracks or holes that they could be using to get inside. But for now we'll assume they took the more straightforward open door/window approach.

- Mike (& Corinne)

10 August 2008

Countdown to Rocket: Name Contest!

We’re looking to YOU to suggest names for our girl! Prizes will be awarded for:
  • Most Creative (First+Middle Name)
  • Most Creative (Last Name)
  • Most Likely To Be Used (First+Middle Name)
To enter: Send an email with your suggestions in the above categories to namethebaby@ilvedson.com. All entries must be submitted by Wednesday, September 17st, 2008. Winners will be announced the following week.

Participants may enter as often as they like. Be creative! Be entertaining! Help us out so that we don't have to continue to call her Rocket after she's born (though who are we kidding - we probably still will.)

Rules & Disclaimers:
  1. Winning names will not necessarily be used.
  2. Winners consent to the use of his/her name, photos and likeness for publicity and commercial purposes without further compensation unless prohibited by law.
  3. Void where prohibited.
  4. River Ford Farm, LLC and its employees are not responsible for and shall not be liable for:
    1. late, lost, delayed, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or unintelligible entries;
    2. pen, pencil, paper, telephone, electronic, hardware, or software program, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties;
    3. any condition caused by events beyond the control of River Ford Farm, LLC that may cause the contest to be disrupted or corrupted;
    4. any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind caused by a prize or resulting from acceptance, possession, or use of a prize, or from participation in the contest; or
    5. any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the contest.
- Mike (& Corinne)

09 August 2008

Countdown to Rocket: T minus 9.5 weeks

Here's Corinne with her ever-growing belly - 9.5 weeks left! Everyone is still healthy and doing well; the doctor reports that Corinne is on track for size/weight, blood pressure, etc. She is getting a bit more uncomfortable in general. Sleeping is not nearly as enjoyable as it used to be (for either of us!) I guess that is Nature's way of preparing us for Rocket's arrival.

Her belly is big enough now that it can act as a shelf on which Max can perch, although he's never interested in having his picture taken.

- Mike (& Corinne)