Monday, September 19, 2011

Hundreds of quail and goodbye fish

I have to start tonight writing about dinner.  Army daughter was cooking.  I'm glad I was paying attention to what she was doing.  She bought a corned beef brisket and was going to make that for dinner.  I watched as she turned the oven on to 350 and took a baking sheet out of the cabinet.  She started to cut open the package.  I told her she would be better off getting out a pot, filling it with water, putting the seasoning packet in the water and boiling the brisket.  For how long, she wanted to know.  Until dinner... 

Now you can bake a corned beef brisket but it takes a few more hours and a can of beer to do it right.  She had neither.  Army daughter made scalloped potatoes from a box mix.  (I'm good with that since it's in our preps)  She also made green beans.  Three cans.  Why don't you use the big bag of fresh green beans that are in the refrigerator?  She said she didn't have time.  I'm not sure what she meant.  Well, dinner was pretty good tonight. 

As I was putting boy to bed he told me to look outside and see the birds.  I looked out and there were hundreds of quail in the front.  They ranged from full grown to teeny tiny little baby birds.  He said there was a flock.  I told him it's a covey or a bevy.  It got me to thinking though.  In the 15 years we've lived here I've never seen that many quail.  Why are they here?  Then I got to thinking about the landscaping.  Of course my favorite thing to plant is a fruit tree but these past few years I've diverged in my plants.  I planted a hedge of butterfly bush.  These plants are about six feet wide and about 8 feet tall.  They were a few sticks about two feet in height when I planted them a few years ago.  It's amazing what a little water and leaving them alone did.  It's dense enough that we have birds hiding in them. 

The main source of hiding places for the birds is in my new hedgerow of brush. We've taken all the trimmings from the fruit trees and placed them across the front of the property.  The row is now 150 feet long and almost four feet high.  It's width is between three and six feet.  I do have cattle panels going across the front yard and these are resting on the panels.  Next spring when I have the sheep in the front pasture they will be less visible from the road.  This winter I'm going to put in berry bushes and plan on them growing over my hedge.  While the berries would make a hedgerow this wide after a few years I wanted it wide now.  And the unintended consequence is that I have many birds that have found refuge in these branches. 

The $20 swimming pool that I have in the back for the ducks finally cracked to the point of not holding any water.  Since I haven't bought them a new pool they've ventured into the back yard and have taken a dip in the dog's $10 pool.  They haven't yet found the kids 650 gallon stock tank...I mean swimming pool.  This morning I went out to water the chickens and saw the ducks swimming in the 55 gallon tank the sheep drink out of.  This tank is right next to their broken down pool but for some reason they never noticed it until today.  The sheep tank has had goldfish in it (6 for a dollar types) for many years.  Not anymore.  The ducks not only swam in the water but had a feast of goldfish!  Goodbye fish.


  1. The quail are an interesting benefit of managing your property. Not to seem cold-hearted, but have you considered harvesting some for food?

    I ask as I had a similar thought this summer working for my brother-in-law and most mornings flushed out coveys going up the hill to work on his land.

  2. It's always nice to have a free source of food. Yes, the thought did cross my mind to eat them!