Spring is in full swing here at the farm. The primroses, daffodils, narcissus and hyacinths are all blooming. It must have been a fairly mild winter compared to the winter before last. I do remember some bitterly cold weather in December of 2017 before we got snow cover. The flowers were not so impressive last spring as they are this year. The bulbs are strong and both the star magnolia and the forsythia are in full flower. Last year there were only about a dozen flowers on the forsythia. This year it’s gorgeous.
One of the two baby mountain ash trees I planted last spring survived the winter. It’s looking pretty happy about its spot on the side of the hill that supports our driveway. Luckily the voles and field mice did not nibble the mountain ash over the winter. The same can not be said for the expensive crabapple tree I planted two years ago. Even though I wound a plastic tree protector around it last fall, after giving it a good covering with white paint, the voles still got at it. They pushed the plastic out of the way and gnawed off large amounts of bark from the first 2 feet of trunk. I don’t think the tree will live.
Last year we suffered from an over population of field rodents. They attacked grown apple trees, killing a couple dozen, and chewed up large regions of grass roots in the hayfield leaving bare patches. I read that painting the lower parts of the fruit trees with white latex paint will repel rodents. This past winter the rodent population must have been down. We’re not seeing grass damage like last year, nor as much tree chewing. But several apple trees that I sprayed white with paint were chewed. Looks like the rodents just scratch away the bark until the paint is gone then proceed with devouring the tree. They sure devoured my crabapple. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the old adage, but I spent over $100 on paint for the trees, plus my time and effort to apply it, to no avail.The horses, Vista and Maddie, are happy to see green grass! Especially since their hay is almost gone. The weather has been quite chilly, slowing the growth of grass and causing us to use more hay than usual. It’s great to finally have enough grass to sustain two hungry horses.
Vista (on the left) is now 30 years old. It is possible this is her last summer. She is really beginning to show her age. We may have to put her away in the fall to avoid having to deal with a down horse next winter. A sad time for me. Vista has been with me since she was 10 months old. She has always been a loving, loyal, hardworking and willing animal. A wonderful saddle horse, we have spent many memorable hours together including two trips to the carriage trails of Acadia National Park. I will sure miss the old girl.