The Purple Martins may have left early this year, due to the drought I would imagine. They come every spring and usually don't leave until August, but I noticed they haven't been around for a couple of days. Just guessing there may not be enough food (flying bugs) to keep them fed as the heat and drought have affected many other things here - like bugs. The grasshoppers seem to be the only insect that is doing well in this heat. They are everywhere and are eating up everything they can.
A couple of momma birds raised their young in interesting places on the place this year. A swallow couple built their nest at the end of the front porch. They raised 5 little ones that flew the nest over the fourth of July. They are beautiful birds and we enjoyed having them around, along with the purple Martin's and hummingbirds that hang around the feeders on the porch as well.
A young Mockingbird built her nest inside the cherry tomato plant in the garden. She raised 5 little ones as well. We didn't pick the tomatoes around her nest for several weeks. Those little ones flew off last week and we hope they all make it. We look forward to seeing them all again next year!
The garden is winding down but still gives us much to enjoy. I've canned marinara sauce and salsa with the yummy, garden fresh tomatoes, as well as enjoyed Gazpacho several times during these warm summer weeks. Last night I canned several jars of new potatoes from the garden. Hopefully they will taste good this winter. I've never canned potatoes before! We've put up dozens of quarts of green beans, squash, and zucchini in the freezer, along with bell peppers and green chilies. Dozens of onions and potatoes are drying in the shop along with cayenne peppers, sunflowers, fennel and many other herbs and spices. We still have flowers blooming in the garden and the bees and other insects are loving the garden as much as I do.
The equine are doing very well, even with the heat. They spend much of their time dozing up by the barn since they have no pasture to munch on.The cows are goats are doing good also. They get up early in the morning and walk around the pasture for a couple of hours finding something they like. Then they spend the rest of the day munching on a round bale or sleeping in the shade of the trees during the heat of the day. They rouse themselves again in the late evening for another bite when the goats come in to get their feed and get put up in their pen. Everyone seems to just be taking it slow and easy during these dog days of summer. Hope you are too!
Russell Ranch is located in beautiful NE Oklahoma, just a few miles from the Illinois river in Green Country. There are lovely rolling hills, lots of wonderful lakes and rivers, and forests full of wildlife.