Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category


 

 

Heirloom corn shares space with vegetables and fruits in my potager garden

Several patches of heirloom corn shares space with vegetables and fruits in my potager garden

 

 

I’ve long been enamored of the traditional French jardin potager or ornamental, vegetable kitchen garden. The kitchen garden has its roots the medieval jardin de curé, described by garden author Jean-Paul Collaert in Kitchen Gardens of France, by Louisa James (Thames and Hudson 1999), as a “garden of lines . . . not dabs of color” as opposed to the English cottage garden and the traditional vicarage garden.

 

Most potagers grow the traditional four types of plants: vegetables, fruit, flowers, and herbs. What I love is the revival of interest worldwide in heirloom fruits and vegetables, which are perfectly suited for a kitchen garden. On my farmette, I grow plants almost exclusively from heirloom seed.

 

 

Corn and cucumber share space with tomatoes

Corn, cucumber, and tomatoes share ground space; onions, garden peas, and eggplants thrive in boxes, table grapes spill over the fence

 

 

The medieval jardin de curé has been characterized by scholars as having plants in distinct beds laid out along formal lines (the Latin cross was popular). Gardening plots were defined by ge0metric shapes that could be quite complex (for example, the historic knot garden). Plants included herbs and flowers (many for medicinal uses), vegetables, berries, fruit trees, and ornamental trees and shrubs. This type of garden could be rustic or highly formal and could be found throughout France, from small farms and cloisters to country estates.

 

 

Cosmos, corn, pomegranate, and grapes

Cosmos, corn, pomegranate, and grapes work as disparate companions in the potager

 

 

Our farmette garden has characteristics of the jardin potager and also the jardin de curé, although it could not be  described as a true representation of either.

 

When we first moved to the farmette, we created and followed a master plan. The acreage  follows a large rectangular-shape perimeter with our small house situated in the middle. Behind the house, a lawn is lined with gravel pathways. The pathways are dotted with boxes of herbs and flowers, mint, and berries. Between the boxes, the apricot, cherry, apple, fig, and persimmon trees are flourishing and producing bountiful crops.

 

Lavender, lemon, yarrow blur the lines of the fence and walkway

Lavender, lemon, and yarrow blur the lines of the fence and walkway

 

In chaotic disorder, the beds of French perfume lavender and Spanish lavender that we planted have taken over one side of the property (much to the delight our honeybees), effectively erasing any lines that might have been obvious in an early layout. Interspersed with the lavender beds are iris, hydrangea, roses, lemon trees.  Where the lavender turns a corner, bamboo creates a privacy screen, and then the fruit and flower-lined gravel path continues to the chicken house.

 

We moved dirt from the back half of the property and built a retaining wall along an L-shaped gravel path leading to a vegetable garden. Both sides of the path are lined with trees–apricot, pear, and pomegranate. On one side under a massive elm is a bed containing white geraniums and a variety of rose bushes.

 

 

A potager can include space for a lawn and  boxes of blooms

A potager can include space for a lawn and raised beds, enclosed beds, or boxes of blooming flowers

 

 

We are following a plan for our own vision of a potager and, although I wish it had more of the lines of the medieval jardin de curé, our garden has the appearance of gentle disorder while being a prolific producer, in short, an edible landscape.

 

I love this living tableau. The appearance of the garden and grounds changes with the cycles of the seasons. Also ever-changing are the types of wildlife and songbirds frequenting the fountains and foraging on the fruits. There’s always something new to discover.

 

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics, gardening, and keeping chickens and honeybees, check out my series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing in New York. Click on the link.

 

 

Check out my newest mystery (Sept. 2017)

http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

A HIVE OF HOMICIDES

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

I enjoyed studying botany and zoology in school, but never felt attracted to the study of butterflies, bees, beetles, and bugs with any kind of intensity. I regret that. Not only because some of these pollinators are beautiful, but many are also beneficial to gardens and orchards.

 

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

 

 

As a beekeeper, it’s my job to notice moths, hive beetles, and other flying and crawling insects. Though some are beautiful and beneficial, others can harm my honeybee hives. That’s why when walking around my garden, I pay attention to all sorts of creatures–whether winged or not.

 

 

I do love to see butterflies and Lady Beetles (also known as ladybugs, a beneficial garden insect) amid my flowers, bushes, and trees. Today, I spotted a lovely winged creature with black-and-white patterned wings and a blue body.

 

 

It stood out against the green leaves of plants in my bee garden and waited for me to run inside the house to get my cell phone camera.

 

 

I wonder if anyone can correctly identify this blue-body, black-and-white winged flier for me. Could this be an Arrowhead Blue butterfly? These, I know, are found in Northern California and the Sierras.

 

 

Another pollinator that “posed” for me earlier this year is the longhorn bee. It’s about the size of a bumble bee. Some of these fliers are so lovely, I could see spending hours taking pictures.

 

 

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

 

 

But chores and all the other farmette tasks take priority over photography. Still, I hope the pictures are clear enough for someone to identify the species when I can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*          *          *

 

NEWLY RELEASED–The Murder of a Queen Bee (Kensington Publishing, NY–Sept. 2016).

 

Discover recipes, farming tips, and sayings as well as sort out a charming whodunnit. Click on the link under the picture.

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

 

This debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run. It’s now available in mass market paperback and other formats.

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

A Sprained Leg Can Spell the End for a Chicken

Author: Meera, October 12, 2016

Foxes have been routinely prowling my property and have claimed two chickens from my neighbor over the last few weeks. Thank goodness, they weren’t my hens. That said, one of my White Leghorns, a breed that originated in Tuscany but is widely raised here, developed a sprained leg, making her extra vulnerable to predators.

 

 

white chix lg web

 

I noticed she was having trouble standing a few days ago. Then yesterday, I found her cowering under the hen house steps because the flock had been attacking her. I immediately removed her and tried to find a solution that would allow her time to heal without simultaneously having to find off foes.

 

 

My poultry run has its fencing wire buried into the ground and pieces wired together over the top. It’s built that way to prevent entry by raccoons, coyotes, and foxes that dig as well as hawks that hunt from the sky. But what to do with a flock of chickens that will peck to death another hen that get sick or injured?

 

 

 

 

Hawks like this one enjoy perching atop pine trees in the neighborhood

Hawks like this one enjoy perching atop pine trees in the neighborhood

 

 

Yesterday, inside the secure run, I built an inner circular area using poultry wire. Locating a large cardboard box, I filled it with nesting straw and stapled part of an old sheet as a curtain over the doorway. Then I put heavy blankets on the box for warmth (it’s been getting cold at night). I put a water dispenser and food outside her box and hoped for the best.

 

 

When I checked on the hen this morning, she was standing upright on both legs. She explored the inner run and then hopped back into the box to wait perhaps for the sun to warm the run. As quickly as she is healing, I might be able to integrate her back into the flock in a few days or a week.

 

 

The rains are coming tomorrow–another threat for the poor creature–so I’ll have to figure out another option to keep her dry and warm and safe. Still, she seems to be on the road to recovery and I hope returning to her scratching and foraging soon because she has stopped laying during this traumatic period. And she was one of my best egg layers; she’d lay an extra-large egg almost every other day. See, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leghorn_chicken

 

 

 

*           *          *

 

If you enjoy reading about farm topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 

 

These novels are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

Find more info or to order, see, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

Now available in mass market paperback, this debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

The Murder of a Queen Bee is the newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette series. For more information, click on the link under the image.

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Predators on the Prowl

Author: Meera, October 1, 2016

Are they venturing out of the nearby dry hills and canyons for water? Or, in search of a fresh chicken dinner? Whatever the reason for their forays into our neighborhood, the foxes are back.

 

 

 

 

 

Hunting for food? Water? What brought these foxes into our neighborhood?

This fox pair  dug a den near a compost pile on the property adjoining our Henny Penny Farmette last year . . . now they’re back

 

 

 

My neighbor, who also has a farmette with chickens, bees, and fruit trees, alerted me first that the foxes had returned because they got one of his chickens.

 

 

With that worrisome news, I’ve decided against allowing my chickens to free-range forage around our property. Instead, I’m keeping them safe in the chicken run that also has poultry wire across the top to protect against high-flying predators like hawks or cunning little climbers like foxes.

 

 

 

Although we live fairly close (a mile or so) away from designated agricultural land, ours is still a neighborhood of families with pets. Some of us keep chickens and bees and even goats and horses and burros. I sometimes hear braying or neighing while having coffee in my garden on a bright, crisp autumn morning.

 

 

A flock of wild turkeys roams through our property this time of year, too. We don’t mind the turkeys but foxes, large raccoons, coyotes, and wolves can attack small dogs and cats. For that reason, we all stay alert and share news with our neighbors of predators prowling about.

 

*               *                *

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway–September 29 to October 6–for a chance to win a signed copy of a first-edition hardcover of The Murder of a Queen Bee. Three lucky winners will be chosen.

 

 

These novels are chocked full of recipes, farming tips, and sayings as well as a charming cozy mystery.

 

The books are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

 

This debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run. It’s now available in mass market paperback and other formats.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

 

NEWLY RELEASED! This, the second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, is garnering great reviews from readers and industry publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Birds that Eat Bees

Author: Meera, August 18, 2016

 

Lately, I’ve noticed a scrub jay visiting my apiary. The bird most often lands on the bubbling water fountain near the front of the hives, but it visits other fountains in the yard as well. A favorite spot is the pink birdbath near the Pyracantha bush and stand of bamboo.

 

 

The bird eats its fill of bees corpses on the gravel path in front of the hives. Occasionally, I’ve seen it snatch a bee out of the air–something I don’t like. After washing down its meal with water, off it goes.

 

 

 

 

Blue jays are omnivores and eat nuts, seeds, berries, and insects, including bees

Western scrub jays are omnivores and eat nuts, seeds, berries, small rodents, reptiles, other birds’ eggs, and insects.

 

 

 

While bees aren’t the primary dietary food of scrub jays, the birds will eat bees that are dead or alive.

 

 

Purple Martins, the largest type of swallow in the United States, eats bees in flight, too, provided the insects zoom high enough to enter the Purple Martin’s flight zone.

 

 

 

Other birds that eat bees include flycatchers, tufted titmice, swifts, and shrikes (because of their feeding habits, some shrikes are known as “butcher birds” because they impale prey on thorns). European beekeepers must deal with Bradfield’s swift and the Green Bee-eater; both eat bees that are flying about to forage or mate.

 

 

The majority of bee-eating birds belong to a relatively small group of twenty-four species that feed mainly on honeybees but also devour bumblebees, dragonflies, wasps, ants, butterflies, hornets, beetles, and moths as part of their diets.

 

 

 

But back to the scrub jay–these birds serve a custodial function for my apiary. With dead bees attracting hornets and yellow jackets, the scrub jay is doing me a favor by cleaning up around the hive entrances. This is especially true in the autumn, when the worker bees preparing their hive for winter, push out the drones (male honeybees) to die.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 

 

These novels are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

Now available in mass market paperback, this debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

The second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 27, 2016, is now available on Net Galley (netgalley.com) for professionals and readers who write reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

The Obama administration has proposed new animal welfare standards that ban common practices governing chicken farms. Currently, an organic chicken farm may allow chickens outside to roam on concrete. The new rules specify the chickens  must have access to the outside and to soil.

 

 

 

 

Young chickens free-ranging

Young chickens in the outdoor chicken run on the Henny Penny Farmette in N. California

 

 

Currently, certified organic farms allow chickens to have a specific amount  and quality of outdoor activity. But that doesn’t mean access to dirt for scratching, pecking, and dust bathing that are instinctive behaviors for chickens.

 

 

Under the proposed new rules to be certified organic eggs, the chickens producing them must be allowed 1.5 square feet of space per hen indoors and 2 square feet of space outdoors. Outdoor space must be at least half soil and not have a permanent roof or flooring.

 

 

 

A hen from a neighbor's farmette that flew onto our property.

Egg laying hens are happier when they can free-range forage on grass and dirt all year round

 

 

The new rules means chickens can scratch, peck, and bathe in soil instead of being caged where they do not necessarily have access to soil.  Current egg producers will have five years to implement the proposed changes that also specifiy no de-beaking of chickens.

 

 

Already, McDonalds and other large food corporations have advised that they’ll be making the transition to certified organic along with Walmart.  Certified organic eggs under the new rules will mean more humane and better life for the chickens producing those eggs than for chickens whose eggs are labeled “cage-free.”

 

 

Currently, cage-free eggs mean the chickens producing those eggs do not necessarily get access to the outdoors as the new O’bama administration rules propose.

 

 

There will be a sixty day comment period before the rules can go into effect. But for animal protection advocates and supporters of the organic food movement, the new proposed rules are a welcome change.

 

*          *          *

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 

 

Both are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

Now available in mass market paperback, this novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

The second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Eggs Don’t Get Fresher Than This!

Author: Meera, June 13, 2016

The chickens were making a ruckus this morning just after sunup. They often do that when one of them is occupying a favorite nesting box and another wants in. Finally, I got up and trudged out to the chicken house.

 

 

My Black Sex Link hen, Blacky

My Black Sex Link hen, Blacky

 

 

 

When I let the chickens out of their house into their run today, one of them–the Black Sex Link hen (Blacky)–hadn’t quite finished laying her egg.

 

 

 

But as they always do, the hens made a run for it when the door opened. Blacky included. They hopped out and followed the Rhode Island Red in the pursuit of grass and worms and other things chickens like to eat. That’s when I noticed Blacky waddling along, trailing the other hens. That’s unusual for her.

 

 

 

The Black Sex Link hens lay brown eggs

The Black Sex Link hens lay brown eggs

 

 

 

It soon became clear why. She had a fully formed brown egg halfway out. I’ve seen some strange things since raising these hens from when they were baby chicks housed in a big tub in my kitchen. But this was the strangest.

 

 

 

I reached down to see about giving the egg a bit of pull when Blacky decided to push. I caught the egg before it hit the ground.

 

 

 

*         *          *

 

First book in Meera Lester's Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

First book in the Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

 

If you enjoy reading about gardening, keeping bees, raising chickens, and creating delicious recipes, you might want to check out my novels from Kensington Publishing.

 

 

The Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries are available online and in tradition bookstores everywhere, in hardcover, kindle, and mass market paperback formats.

 

 

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

 

 

The MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE will be released in hardcover October 1.

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Sleuthing Egg Loss and a Nest’s Destruction

Author: Meera, June 3, 2016

What a difference twelve hours makes. When we retired last night, the mourning doves were on their nest atop our tall ladder next to the cherry trees.  It was day twelve since the birds built the nest in our garden, so we expected to see babies hatching any day now. Alas, this morning the dove family had fled and there was no sign of eggs or babies.

 

 

 

Mourning doves build rather flimsy nests; this one on our tall ladder shelf

Mourning doves build rather flimsy nests; this one on our tall ladder shelf

 

 

I believe something raided the nest. It should come as no surprise. Building it on that site seemed like a foolhardy proposition from the start. And to position it on the shelf of the ladder, exposed and near a hole big enough for a chicken egg to fall through seemed a little ridiculous.

 

 

And yet, the dove pair dutifully took turns  incubating the eggs, even when the mercury hovered at the hundred degree mark on the outdoor thermometer.

 

 

In the spirit of helping the family, I kept the fountains filled with fresh water and threw handfuls of birdseed along the stone retaining wall so the pair would have a ready supply of food. Each morning, I’d hurry out to check on the doves before tackling more chores.

 

 

The ladder is a tall one for picking cherries, but it works as a platform for a nest constructed by a pair of Mourning Doves

Her nest is exposed for all the world to see and yet the dove chooses this site as home

 

 

When  I noticed the nest today and realized it was empty, the eggs were gone, and there was no sight of the doves, I began sleuthing. On the ground near the ladder lay a single long black feather and lots of leaves, knocked from the cherry trees. Not many clues but enough to make a supposition.

 

 

I recall that a flock of crows flew in to roost in nearby trees just before dusk last night. They’re both smart and predatory. They’ll raid other nests and eat eggs. I surmised that either they or a local cat or racoon drove away the dove pair and laid waste to the eggs. And yet as I write this, I can see beyond my garden window that a pair of doves are eating the seeds I cast upon the stone wall. Mourning doves can build a nest and lay a set of eggs six times during spring, so there’s still hope.

 

 

 

*          *          *

 

If you enjoy reading about wildlife and other topics (including delicious recipes and gardening tips) related to farmette living, check out my cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing. The first two in the Henny Penny Farmette series are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, KOBO Books, and other sites as well as in traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

BEELINE TO MURDER, see http://tinyurl.com/jo4cxy

 

 

First book in Meera Lester's Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

First book in Meera Lester’s Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries, 2015

 

 

MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE, see http://tinyurl.com/zu8s7pf

 

 

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Cool Ideas to Help Animals Beat the Heat

Author: Meera, May 31, 2016

Whenever the mercury starts flirting with the century mark on the thermometer, I head for the freezer and take out frozen vegetables and berries to thaw a little before I put them out for the chickens and the wild birds.

 

 

The silver-laced Wyandotte (black-and-white) hen in the foreground succumbed to the extreme heat during the night

One of my silver-laced Wyandotte (black-and-white) hens succumbed to the extreme heat a year ago

 

 

Another treat is corn or peas frozen in water in ramekin dishes and offered to chickens on very hot days to help them keep cool. They’ll also like chilled lettuce or spinach leaves, diced fresh zucchini, and crisp cold strips of cabbage.

 

 

 

Short-hair dogs may not be hypoallergenic

Short-hair dogs need to be protected from the heat, too

 

 

 

For pooches, ice cubes made from frozen beef or chicken broth can provide a tasty, cool treat. Chilled carrots, or a frozen ball made from mashed banana and peanut butter can refresh a pooch on a hot day, provided the animal has no peanut allergy. Make sure animals have plenty of clean, cool water to drink always, but especially on hot days.

 

 

If you walk with your pet, it’s best to go in the cool of the early morning or late evening and avoid the heat of the day. I take my Siamese on a leash for a walk in the garden each day but will wait until the evening.

 

 

 

She's intensely curious and loves slipping into the cave with the hole in her cat tree

To protect her from the heat, I keep my cat inside the air conditioned house on super hot days

 

 

 

Cat paws are sensitive to the heat in stones and concrete surfaces. It’s best to steer clear of those heat-trapping surfaces. Stick to grass. Take your cat out in the early morning or wait for a walk until evening after the mercury starts dropping.

 

 

*          *          *

 

If you enjoy reading about keeping bees, chickens, and other farm animals or learning about growing heirloom vegetables and fruits or making delicious farm-to-table recipes, check out my newest cozy mystery offerings from Kensington Publishing. Chocked full of all kinds of farmette tidbits, these mysteries are available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, KOBO, and other online stores as well as traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

First book in Meera Lester's Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

First book in Meera Lester’s Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

 

 

 

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

 

 

read comments ( 0 )

Attracting Mourning Doves to Your Backyard

Author: Meera, May 24, 2016

Despite its drab brown coloring with pink legs and round eyes, the Mourning Dove (also known as the Turtle Dove, Rain Dove, and the Carolina Turtledove) is one of the most easily recognized backyard birds in America.

 

 

 

The ladder is a tall one for picking cherries, but it works as a platform for a nest constructed by a pair of Mourning Doves

The ladder is a tall one for picking cherries, but it works as a platform for a nest constructed by a pair of Mourning Doves

 

 

 

We welcome them to the farmette with the lure of seeds, the type of food that makes up most of their diet. My hubby and I place seeds in low-hanging feeders or on the stone retaining wall. Sometimes, we even cast birdseed near the outer edge of the garden.

 

 

These birds also need a source of water. Because we keep chickens and bees, we have fountains running year-round. With an ample supply of food and water and plenty of fruit trees, tall grass, bamboo, and berry bushes for habitat, it’s no wonder the doves and other birds hang around here to mate in spring.

 

 

What surprises me is that one Mourning Dove couple has made a nest on top of the ladder I left out while picking some ripe cherries. The nest didn’t look too substantial, but I guess it works for them. I climbed up on a chair nearby to see the two white eggs after the dove left the nest. Within seconds, she dive bombed me and I nearly fell off the chair.

 

 

Mourning doves usually lay two eggs that are incubated by both parents, taking turns. In one spring season, they can repeat the process up to six times. This accounts for their population numbers staying strong in the face of being hunted for sport by humans and stalked as prey by other species. The baby doves are called squabs.

 

 

I love the lamenting call of these birds, often at sunset. I also appreciate that they are believed to mate for life. The squabs feed on crop milk–regurgitated secretions from the lining of the crop of the parents.

 

 

Attracting these doves into your backyard is easy if you put out a feeder and some seeds. For the July-August issue of GRAND online magazine, I’ve created a birdseed hanging saucer with directions so anyone can make it.  Ours has attracted several doves who forage for food morning and evening.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

If you enjoy reading about farmette life, check out my mystery novel series from Kensington Publishing, New York. The books feature a farmette milieu, farm sayings, tips, and facts about animals and bees as well as delicious recipes to try. The books are available from online sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and others as well as traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

First book in Meera Lester's Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries

 

 

BEELINE TO MURDER is the first book in Meera Lester’s Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries.

 

 

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

 

 

 

 

Novel #2 in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Oct. 1, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

read comments ( 0 )