More Bobcat Images from Trail Cam

I’m slowly catching up on a backlog of game camera photographs from last winter. Today I’d like to share new bobcat images from January 2017, though I’m not 100% certain when the handsome cat prowled our meadows because I failed to reset the time/date stamp when I installed the camera. (Note that the default date shown in the images is incorrect.)

Unfortunately these more recent bobcat images didn’t turn out quite as nicely as those from last winter’s bobcat sighting (see best photo below), but the cat sure does look robust and healthy.

Bobcat from January 2017
Bobcat captured on a game camera, January 2017

It fascinates me to think that these toothy predators occasionally visit us, and yet I’ve never laid eyes on one in person. Some day…

2016 Bobcat Visitor

If you missed last winter’s bobcat sighting, then here’s the highlight photograph.

Bobcat Sighting (January 2, 2016)
Bobcat Sighting (January 2, 2016)

This handsome bobcat (Lynx rufus) was photographed with game camera in one of our meadows… I can’t believe that this sly feline has been slinking around in our back woods/meadows, and yet I’ve never one spied him/her. Not even a footprint. (Source: Bobcat Sighting)

More Local Bobcats

Wildlife Trail Camera: Bobcat walking through snow (Credit: John Davis)
Wildlife Trail Camera: Bobcat walking through snow (Credit: John Davis)

Bobcats in our area like rocky hills for dens and sunning places, woods and meadows for hunting rodents and rabbits, swamps for hunting Muskrats, and frozen ponds, for patrolling edges where small rodents may appear. They can live fairly near people but generally avoid getting too close to us. Perhaps because they’ve evolved a fear of tool-wielding bipedal mammals, they are most active at night and dawn and dusk…” (“Lynx rufus: Our Resilient Bobcat”)

Wildways scout John Davis has written multiple articles on the Essex on Lake Champlain blog about local wildlife, including these two about bobcats: “Lynx rufus: Our Resilient Bobcat”and “Why Bobcats Should Be Protected.” If you want to learn more about our wild neighbors read through his accounts!

There are also some other local bobcat sightings depicted on the Essex Blog including this “Adirondack Bobcat Sighting” and a “Chimney Point Bobcat.”

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Posted in Adirondacks, Champlain Valley, Nature, Winter | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Apply Tanglefoot to Trees

How to Apply Tanglefoot (Source: Geo Davis)
How to Apply Tanglefoot (Source: Geo Davis)

It’s Tanglefoot time again. Actually, we’re late — really late! — due to this rainy, soggy summer. But better late than never, especially since I’ve begun to spy the first tent caterpillars of the 2017 season.

First a quick refresher. A little over a year ago I explained how to use Tanglefoot and I explained why holistic orcharding benefits from this goopy ritual.

It’s a messy installation process, but it seems to work pretty well… Applying Tanglefoot to fruit trees a messy but relatively straightforward task. Better instructors have already explained application, so I’ll defer to their able guidance rather than overlook something important. (Source: How to Use Tanglefoot (And Why Fruit Trees Need It))

That post includes the excellent advice of “better instructors”, but I wanted to follow up with a quick visual instructional to show you how to apply Tanglefoot. Consider it a supplement. Quick tips.

How to Apply Tanglefoot

In the previous post I discuss using plastic film to wrap the tree trunk, but four years into our Tanglefoot adventure, we’re still using paper/cardboard wraps.

Following is a quick video / slide show intended for orchardists, fruit tree hobbyists, or basically anybody who wants quick and easy instruction for how to apply Tanglefoot on young (i.e. slender trunk) trees. Many thanks to Jacob for letting me photograph his hands during installation.

I hope you find the video helpful. We’ve been extremely satisfied with the results year-after-year, and we’re happy to recommend Tanglefoot (and confident in our recommendation) for other fruit tree growers. Good luck!

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Posted in Adirondacks, Champlain Valley, Essex New York, Gardening, North Country, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holistic Orcharding: Fruitful and Deer-full

Holistic Orcharding: June pears (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: June pears (Source: Geo Davis)

I’m excited to report that we may finally be able to enjoy Rosslyn peaches, nectarines, and even a few pears and apples this summer. For the first time since we began planting an orchard, several trees have matured enough to set fruit.

Fruitful Orchard

Those bright red mulberry will darken as they soak up sun and begin to sweeten. They’re still pretty mealy (though the birds don’t seem to mind at all!)

The photograph at the top of this post shows a couple of small pears. A couple of pear trees set a pear or two last summer, but they dropped (or were eaten by critters) before I ever tasted them. Most of the pear tress are still fruitless, but a couple small green and red fruit are looking promising.

Holistic Orcharding: Young peaches in June (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Young peaches in June (Source: Geo Davis)

For the first, our peach trees are setting fruit. Heavy winds and rains have resulted in steady fruit drop, but I’m guardedly optimistic that we may actually be able to sink out teeth into a few fuzzy, nectar-sweet peaches soon.

The peaches are the most fruitful of all the trees at this point. In fact, a couple of trees are so laden that I’ll probably begin thinning fruit as they grow larger, culling the runts and least healthy fruit and leaving the best.

The photo below on the left offers a wider perspective on a fruitful peach, and the photo on the right shows a young and almost equally fruitful nectarine tree.

The three nectarine trees are 3-4 years younger than the peaches, so I’m curious why two of them are already setting fruit. The third nectarine tree has never been very healthy. Dwarfish and sparsely branched, leafed, I’ll try for one more summer to help it along. If it doesn’t begin to catch up, I’ll consider replacing it next year.

Like the apricot that I replaced this year…

Holistic Orcharding: Transplanted apricot tree (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Transplanted apricot tree (Source: Geo Davis)

We’ve struggled with apricots. Few of our apricot trees are thriving, and one died last year. We replaced it this spring with the Goldicot Apricot above, the only variety that seems to be adapting well. I can report good new growth so far on the transplant, but another apricot has died. Both are lowest (and wettest) on the hill, so I plan to address the drainage this fall. Perhaps the heavy clay soil and high spring water table is simply to much for the apricots to withstand.

Deer-full Orchard

Unfortunately it’s not all good news in the orchard. We remain committed to our 100% holistic orcharding (thanks, Michael Phillips!) mission, but we’re still playing defense with Cedar Apple Rust and other pesky challenges. I’ll update on that soon enough, but there’s another frustrating pest that provoked my frustration yesterday.

Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)

Can you see the munched leaves and branches?

Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)

Another munched branch (and early signs of Cedar Apple Rust).

Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Apple tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)

Ive you look just below center of this photograph you’ll see where a large branch has been snapped right off. It was laying on the ground below. Also plenty of smaller branches and leaves chewed.

The two apple trees which were targeted by the deer were planted last spring. They’d both established relatively well, but they were short enough to offer an easy snack. We keep the trees caged during the fall-through-spring, but we had just recently removed the cages to begin pruning and spreading limbs (see red spreader in image above?), so the trees were easy targets.

And there’s worse news.

Holistic Orcharding: Young persimmon tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)
Holistic Orcharding: Young persimmon tree browsed by deer (Source: Geo Davis)

That’s a young persimmon tree that we just planted a couple of weeks ago. It was a replacement for a persimmon that arrived dead from the nursery last year (another drama for another day…)

Not only did the deer browse the persimmon, but it ate both leads, presenting a serious hurdle for this transplant. Not a good situation. I’ll pamper this youngster in the hopes that one of these blunted leads will send up another lead, or—more likely, but far from guaranteed—a fresh new lead will bud and head skyward. Fingers crossed.

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Posted in Gardening, Seasons, Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friend or Foe: Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetle (Source: Geo Davis)
Colorado Potato Beetle (Source: Geo Davis)

This morning I spied a Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) or three in the vegetable garden. Here’s a fuzzy snapshot of one Colorado Potato Beetle contentedly munching away on young eggplant leaves.

Colorado Potato Beetle on Eggplant Leaf (Source: Geo Davis)
Colorado Potato Beetle on Eggplant Leaf (Source: Geo Davis)

Do you see the yellow striped beetle? It’s approximately center frame.

Here’s a closeup of another Colorado Potato Beetle once I flicked him/her onto the ground.

Colorado Potato Beetle (Source: Geo Davis)
Colorado Potato Beetle (Source: Geo Davis)

Despite the fact that these pests are aren’t questionably distractive to the vegetable garden, I find it difficult to kill such a beautiful creature. Somehow it’s easier to squish a slug that it is to crush this handsomely striped beetle.

Despite my aesthetic misgivings, I dispatched each Colorado Potato Beetle and made a mental note to doodle or perhaps watercolor one. Or two. (See above.)

Colorado Potato Beetle

Here’s what you need to know about the Colorado Potato Beetle. (Many thanks to Sally Jean Cunningham whose book, Great Garden Companions: A Companion Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden, informed this and many of my gardening posts.)

  • Description: The mature beetles are around 1/3″ long and their hard, rounded shell (think modern VW bug) is yellow with black stripes (body) and orange with black spots (head). Although I haven’t seen any yet, the Colorado Potato Beetle larvae “are plump orange grubs with two rows of black dots on each side of the body.” (Source: Great Garden Companions: A Companion Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden, Sally Jean Cunningham)
  • Damage: They defoliate potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
  • Prevention: Straw mulch and row covers. Remove and crush larvae and adults.
  • Enemies: According to Cunningham, the Colorado Potato Beetle appeals to lots of predators including: “ground beetles, spined soldier bugs, and two-spotted stinkbugs, as well as birds and toads.” She offers plenty of additional options for gardeners interested in introducing/encouraging predators.
  • Companions: Bush beans ostensibly discourage Colorado Potato Beetle infestations, as do garlic, horseradish, “tansy, yarrow, and other Aster Family plants…”

I’ll start by hunting, doodling, and crushing. And then I’ll hustle up on installing our straw mulch (we’re WAY behind!) and adding some companion plants. Fingers crossed.

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Posted in Gardening, Seasons, Summer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

After the Rain

After the Rain: Rosslyn Waterfront (Geo Davis)
After the Rain: Rosslyn Waterfront (Geo Davis)

Just when a couple of dry, sunny days had begun to feel familiar, even normal, the rain returned. It came down in waves upon waves. Streams and rivers swelled, the driveway became two coursing torrents, and the vegetable garden turned to soupy mud.

Spirits slipped.

And then slid deeper.

But… as cocktail hour yielded to dinner hour, the deluge ceased, the fog lifted, and the setting sun bathed Vermont’s Green Mountains in alpenglow.

This is what it looked like.

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Spring Dance: Coyotes and White Tail Deer

Spring Dance: deer crossing trail camera during spring 2017 (Source: Geo Davis)
Spring Dance: deer crossing trail camera during spring 2017 (Source: Geo Davis)

One trail cam. One location. Three months, give or take. Deer. Coyotes. And the transition from winter to spring in the Adirondacks’ Champlain Valley.

Spring Dance 2017: coyote crossing trail camera during spring 2017 (Source: Geo Davis)
Spring Dance: coyote crossing trail camera during spring 2017 (Source: Geo Davis)

The perspective, situated near a fence opening at the transition of scrub forest and meadows offers a glimpse of the dance between ungulates (white tailed deer) and native canids (Eastern coyote). From awkward youngsters to healthy adults to slightly mangy elders, this short series of photographs taken with a relatively unsophisticated trail cam illuminates the springtime interplay of two increasingly ubiquitous species in our local ecosystem.

I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

Oh, yes, there are a couple of human spottings in the video (slide show) above. Who are they? Unfamiliar to me. And unclear what they were were doing wandering this fence line…

Nota Bene: If the video / slide show above was too benign for you, here’s a fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) video of a small coyote (or two?) attacking and eventually eating a mature buck.

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Posted in Nature, Spring | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Soggies & Blooms

Spring Soggies: first hint of sunshine on Rosslyn's carriage barn after rain, rain, rain... (Source: Geo Davis)
Spring Soggies: first hint of sunshine on Rosslyn’s carriage barn after rain, rain, rain… (Source: Geo Davis)

The rain has stopped. At last!

It’s a misty, moody morning, but the sun is coming out, and the rhododendrons are blooming.

Life is good.

Spring Blooms: rhododendron blossoms after rain, rain, rain... (Source: Geo Davis)
Spring Blooms: rhododendron blossoms after rain, rain, rain… (Source: Geo Davis)

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Posted in Carriage Barn, Lifestyle, Nature, Seasons, Spring | Tagged , | Leave a comment

George D. Anson, Essex Merchant

ACME, Marseilles White Spray Soaps, sold by Essex merchant Geo D. Anson.
ACME, Marseilles White Spray Soaps, sold by Essex merchant Geo D. Anson.

Ever scouring the midden heaps—real and virtual—for Essex artifacts, I came across these curiosities. These ACME “picture cards” were offered as incentives to soap customers. Save ACME brand Marseilles White Spray Soap wrappers, mail them to Lautz Bros & Co. (located in Buffalo, New York), and receive these odd collectibles. Think of them as the colorful baubles of an early brand loyalty scheme.

Why am I sharing these?

Flip the cards and you find this.

George D. Anson, Essex Merchant

It turns out that Essex merchant Geo. D. Anson (aka George D. Anson) was offering these to patrons of his general store in the late nineteenth century, yet another reminder of our industrious forebears in this once bustling community.

We learn a bit more about George D. Anson here:

George D. Anson established a store in the building now occupied by him in 188o. It is the same building which H. D. Edwards had used as a store years ago, but it had been vacant for some time when Mr. Anson came into it. (Source: “History of Essex, New York”, Chapter XXXIV (pp. 540-559) of History of Essex County with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, edited by H. P. Smith, published by D. Mason & Co., Publishers and Printers, 63 West Water St., Syracuse, NY 1885.)

And, if the data logged at Find A Grave Memorial is correct, then we know the following about George D. Anson:

Birth: 1839
Death: 1902
Parent: Serena Spear Anson (1800-1887)
Spouse: Caroline Stower Anson (1847-1877)
Children: Edward S Anson (1875-1946), Laura S Anson (1877-1954)
Burial: Essex Cemetery, Essex, New York
Source: Heidi McColgan (findagrave.com)

I can’t personally vouch for the family tree since it leapfrogs my research, but it seems plausible. (Special thanks to Heidi McColgan and Karen Kelly for the information and photos.)

Anson’s Store and Anson’s Dairy

This is my first discovery that George D. Anson ran a store in Essex circa 1880. I hope to learn more about him/it in part because I’d like to know if this is the same Anson family that ran a dairy in Wadhams when I grew up. (See “Homeport in Wadhams, NY“, “Hickory Hill and Homeport“,  etc.)

Vintage milk top from Anson's Dairy in Wadhams, NY
Vintage milk top from Anson’s Dairy in Wadhams, NY

I grew up in Wadhams when there was still a post office, a general store, and an Agway farm supply store. Does that sound like a Norman Rockwell calendar illustration? It certainly does when you add a milkman into the mix.

Rain snow or shine Mr. Anson delivered the brunt of our breakfast ingredients. Each week he drove or walked (if too snowy or icy to drive) up our steep driveway lugging his fresh provisions. He let himself in, dropped off the goods, picked up a check that my mother left for him once a month, and continued on his way.

The good old days… (Source: Essex on Lake Champlain)

Off to poke around some more! (Please let me know if you can help fill in the gaps.)

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Contemporary Vintage Boathouse

Vintage boathouse postcard? Or not? (Source: Geo Davis)
Vintage boathouse postcard? Or not? (Source: Geo Davis)

Is this a vintage postcard or a recent photograph taken from the ferry dock in Essex, New York?

If you guessed that the image is contemporary, you’re right. It was taken on 29 May 2017. Born a moody, slightly fuzzy phone shot but reborn a tango dancing, filter-upon-filter-upon-filtered vintage postcard wannabe. Or something…

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Posted in Archeology of Home, Artifacts, Boathouse, Lake Champlain, Redacting Rosslyn | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coyotes Captured on Camera

This winter Rosslyn’s trail camera silently monitoring a fence opening (along the margin of a woods-fields transition) recorded our second most frequent nocturnal visitor, the Eastern Coyote. The images in this post, captured this past January (2017), might even offer a glimpse at the animal frequently referred to as a “coywolf”.

The coyote—or possibly “coywolf”—was easily as large as a malamute… and the head and tail were notably larger than other coyotes I’ve seen.

Although none of these photographs portray exceptionally large canids, on several occasions I have witnessed firsthand coyotes of significantly larger proportions. My first experience took place almost a decade ago while brush-hogging one of the rear meadows. The coyote—or possibly “coywolf”—was easily as large as a malamute and considerably more robust than the coyotes in these trail cam photos. Coloring was mottled grays and browns, and the head and tail were notably larger than other coyotes I’ve seen.

My second experience was more recent.

An almost black coyote/”coywolf” of still larger proportions was startled by me during an early morning orchard inspection. S/he loped away from me across the near meadow, slowly and confidently, gliding through the high grass with a confidence and elegance I’ve never before witnessed among coyotes.

Spectacular!

Coyote Captured on Camera, January 2017 (Source: Trail Camera Photo by Geo Davis)
Coyote Captured on Camera, January 2017 (Source: Trail Camera Photo by Geo Davis)

If you’re interested in learning more about coyotes and/or “coywolves” in the Adirondacks, I recommend friend and neighbor John Davis’s post on our Essex community blog, “Welcoming the Coywolf.”

I will share additional game/trail camera photos of Rosslyn’s native wildlife (including Bobcat) in the near future. Stay tuned!

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