19 October 2014

Ashes to ashes

The Emerald Ash Borer beetle is munching its way towards us from southwestern Ontario. On Friday I was talking to an arborist who works to the west of Toronto. He told me that he is spending nearly all his time now cutting down dead ash trees.

Since most of our area of woodland is ash, I spend a lot of time thinking about how this pest is going to impact our landscape when it arrives here. At this time of year, when the ash trees have lost their leaves, I wander through the woods to see what other deciduous trees there are: they're easier to spot when the ash are bare. We have some birch and oak trees, but very few compared to all the ash.

On the bright side, we won't be short of firewood in the future, but I think I'd rather have the living trees.

It has been a spectacular Fall this year. Some years the colours are over in a flash, but this year they seem to have lasted for weeks.

05 October 2014

Changing colours

Autumn brings its usual changes to the scenery: morning mists and gorgeous reds and oranges.

And for us, it generally brings a dearth of eggs in the henhouse, as the chickens take a well-earned rest from laying. I've been getting one, two or zero eggs each day in the last week or two.

Today's egg harvest was two, and it wasn't until I'd got into the kitchen that I noticed one of them was not the usual Buff Orpington palish brown.

The new hens have started laying! Well, one has, anyway. The eggs either side of the bluey-green Ameraucana one are the normal range of colours that we get from the Buffs. In the dimness of the barn the Ameraucana egg looked a lot like the paler Buff eggs.

I'm very pleased that the new hens are beginning to lay. From being a position of scarcity, I suspect that very soon we might be in the position of being over-egged!