Jack ThumbnailBy Jack McShane

Spring has arrived here on the farmstead in Bussey Hollow. All the bluebird boxes and the wood duck boxes have been cleaned and bluebirds are building nests; as to the wood ducks I don’t know, my fingers are crossed. The turkeys are at the bird feeder gleaning whatever they can with the hen, as usual, ignoring the tomfoolery of the strutting toms. Woodchucks are in Nancy’s garden and a couple of cottontail rabbits have also survived the winter, how, I can’t imagine. I have only found the remains of one deer. although I am sure there are others as yet undetected. There are seven painted turtles sunning on a log in the lower pond with no sign yet of the snapping turtles

This is the third year that a male cardinal has made an appearance. I call him ‘Blood Red’ as that is a true depiction of his coloration. The good news is that this year he has a mate in her drab feathers typical of females. Please stay calm; I am speaking of birds not humans. Hopefully they will nest nearby so that ‘Blood Red’ can be enjoyed through the season. The regular pair of Canada geese are again nesting on an island in the upper pond. They have never had a successful raising of young as the nest is raided early on by either a raccoon or a mink, or, if the eggs do hatch and the goslings are out and about, they have been taken, it is my guess, by coyotes or bobcat. Such is nature.

As for other chores, we have pruned the apple trees. The clearing of downed trees across the trails is still a work in progress. The lawn tractors are being serviced at Romo Machine and Nancy will attack the grass as soon as it reaches 2 ½ inches in height. Today, two new logs have been towed into the lower pond for the expanding turtle population.  This is caused by natural reproduction and my alertness for road crossers. I quickly grab and bag them and release them into one of our many ponds safe from the hazards of the road. Nancy is somewhat upset that the two hen turkeys have found that her newly raked garden makes for an excellent dusting bowl. This dusting practice does have merit as the fine dust suffocates and kills their body mites. So Nance lets them dust; the garden will survive. Finally what we call Pearl’s pond (the one along the road) is in the process of being cleared of fallen trees and thorn apple and will eventually be a lot more attractive.


“Bag Ladies” Ann Roberti (above) and Nancy McShane (at right) collect rubbish along Route 28


Some may have noticed the 30 filled clean-up bags along Route. 28 from the town line to the Andel Inn; that’s one mile, both sides. Well, the bag ladies were at it again; four hours of hard labor. Ann Roberti, Judy Garrison and Nancy McShane, not shirking what they see as their civic duty, did a major clean up and are planning another along the Tremperskill Road soon.  Other volunteers are more than welcome. Thank you, ladies, very much!

Enjoy our Andes countryside where a Picture4keen-eyed and patient naturalist can find endless opportunities to stimulate the mind and feed the soul. ~