You Never Know

We never know what we’ll discover growing at Pine Tar Patch.  Over the last decade we’ve grown a little bit of everything.  We also have a habit of taking our old seeds, dumping them all together in a bag, and spreading them out in the pasture or any other place we think they might grow.  Last year we spread a mix of wildflowers over the top of the raised bed when we were done planting our potatoes.  The result was better than expected.  Lots of wildflowers for us and the bees to enjoy and when the potatoes came up we had no pest problems with the potatoes.  Fast forward to this Spring and we have lots of volunteer wildflowers coming up where that raised be used to be.  The magnificent California Poppy above stands out like bright red beacon in what is now the wildlife garden.

The Circle of Life

We have a number of bird boxes for Eastern Bluebirds to nest in and every few weeks I’ll make the rounds and check them, cleaning out old nests and making sure the boxes are in good repair.  Today as I checked the boxes I found this curled up happily in a nest box that was being used by a pair of bluebirds.

 

“She” is a corn snake that is native to this region.  She most likely ate the baby birds that were in the nest but that’s how it goes.  I removed her from the bird box and sent her on her way further out in the pasture (2nd pic).  It was sad to think that the baby birds were eaten but snakes are an important part of the ecosystem.  This one will go on to eat lots of bugs and rodents.  She’s welcome to all she can eat!

Prickly, But Awesome!

While it doesn’t look like it would be a plant that people would welcome into their gardens, the thistle above is very welcome at Pine Tar Patch.  Butterflies and larger bees love the flowers.  We love to see the seeds floating in the wind later in Spring.  Most of these thistles have unremarkable dull yellow flowers but we get a few each year that bloom in this lovely red/purple color.

Wild!

We’re big fans of the local wildlife and we do as much as we can to encourage them to visit our little homestead.  This year, we’ve allowed some of the local flora to grow to feed the native pollinators (along with our honeybees).  While the pic looks like mostly crimson clover, there is a whole world of plants in and around the clover.  Various bees, wasps, flies, and even birds can be found hopping in, around, and on all the plants in the wildlife garden.