Pleasant Valley Farm

  (Tionesta, Pennsylvania)
Real Family Farming in Tionesta, PA
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Spring Sunshine

The sun has been shining here for almost a week now.  It's refreshing after all the gloomy and snowy days of February.  The snow is melting and soon Dan will be able to begin plowing for the year.  My goal is to take lots of pictures of the equipment and how the process works and get it up on the website sometime this spring.  It will look a lot like the page up now that covers hay making.

I just hit "send" on another seed order this morning.  I can't wait to begin starting seeds!  we plan on making use of the greenhouse this spring to get a jump on the season.  We plant around 75 different vegetable varieties every year.  Sometimes I feel like  it's hard to narrow it down to that many, as the seed catalogs do a good job of making everything sound so good!

Our little owl friend is still living in the barn.  After a bit of online research, we've decided that we have a red phase screech owl.  We have been wondering if it is looking for a nesting site, so I looked up the dimensions and we hope to have a nest box hanging for it soon. 

I think this is one of the hardest times of the year...while the sun is shining, I feel like I should be outside, doing something!  But with a foot of snow still melting off the fields and pastures, it's really just not time yet.


New Barn Tenant

We have a fairly recent addition to the barn crew. While normally we don't encourage wildlife to take up residence in the building, sometimes it is beneficial to us and the critter.  In this case, I'm happy to share the hay mow with an owl. It's not a barn owl, as those are white with big, moony faces, and our visitor is a smallish owl, reddish brown in color.  Matt thinks it's called a barred owl, and i haven't had time to look up anything more specific, so I'll go with that for now.  I love seeing wildlife as long as they don't damage our crops or hurt the livestock.  I think it's part of being sustainable.  While we are stewards of the land, we share it with other creatures who call it home as well.

Our owl has been hanging out for a couple of weeks now.  The upper part of the barn is where we store hay, machinery, and where the feed grinder is located.   We've been able to grind a bit of our corn into animal feed now that Dan has the Wisconsin engine up and running, so that means there is a bit of corn dust on the floor of the barn.  It's not much, but it is enough to attract the mice that live in every barn.  An owl loves to eat mice, and I love the idea of one of these quiet birds cutting down the rodent population.  This owl has probably been living there, finding a nice quiet spot to be behind the stack of loose hay, so some evenings you see it, most you don't.  It doesn't appear to be terribly afraid of people, and we go about our chores without scaring it off.  Tonight, after chores, I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when Dan came in and told me it was hanging out and visible from outside, so I went to check it out.  Old barns like ours bear the mark of the builder.  That's why you'll notice a small, cut-out shape near the peak of most barns.  This was the signature of the builder.  Ours looks like a diamond with a small triangle at each point...the result looks something like a cross.  It's just a small, open hole that doesn't cause problems as far as rain getting in or anything.  Tonight, it was the perfect look out spot for our small owl friend, who was perched there, surveying the barnyard.  A little thing like this won't hurt our large rabbits or hen, and I am sure it will find more than enough small mice to keep its belly fed, so I hope it stays.  Who knows, it may be a she looking for a nice safe place to hatch a nest of baby owls!


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