New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
The summer heat is on!
Well another hot and humid day is at hand. Not so humid that at least some of the local farmers could not make hay. I love to drive by the fields they just hayed to take in the sweet smell of the cut grass. And to watch them actually picking up the bales. I have hayed plenty in my life. On these hot and sticky days it seems like every possible thing that can stick to you while sweating to pick up the bales WILL stick to you. Seems like you are just itching from head to toe on those days. Usually, as I recall, by late evening we would find a lake or pond to dip in and cool off. I first started haying at age six. Yes way too little to be picking up the hay bales to throw on to the flat bed truck. No that was not my job. My job was to drive
the truck. Yup. Back in the 50's farm trucks actually came with a hand throttle too. So my father would get the truck rolling at a slow speed by using the hand throttle. Then I took over. I could not reach any of the peddles on the floor, including the brake. But I could steer the truck around the field and just nearly clip the bales as my father or someone tossed them on deck and my older sister or brother stacked them. Yes I was driving by age six.
I headed up to camp last Friday morning. Worried about the impact this drought we are in would have on my garden. I have a sprinkler mid garden that covers about two thirds of the garden and comes on for an hour automatically each day.. But the four rows of corn are not part of that spray. They pretty much were dead by Monday afternoon when I checked. I sure am worried that the local dairy farmers, the Yeatons, corn my be hit as well. So far it seems to be doing fine despite the lack of rain. We haven't had much rain in several weeks now. We sure are desperate for some rain. We've had nearly a week now of 90 or near 90 degree days. Even some of the trees look a bit peaked to me.
I am seeing hen turkeys nearby but I have not seen a clutch of polts yet. Fortunately my neighbor Rick says he has seen two or three broods right nearby this week. I haven't seen a deer in weeks. What's up with that? I know I'm not out and about and driving much lately, but I have not seen a single turtle crossing the road. That would be a first for me in June.
As Rick and I sat outside until an hour or more after dark last evening we noticed what was missing. Bats. Normally any time I look up after sunset at my house I would see bats feeding. I'm not seeing them this year. And the bat house on the end of my garage usually hosts about thirty bats beginning in mid June the last four or five years. None this year so far. So yes I am worried about the local bats. Or the simple fact that they are missing. What is not thankfully missing this year are fireflies. Yes the night air is dotted with these insects dashing about my lawn and into the surrounding tress. But not June bugs. They too are amongst the missing this year. Yes like everyone else I do have high numbers of chipmunks.
I shall not complain about the heat and humidity. After all, there are those months, that it is not like this. Plus my wife and I have been spending most afternoons floating in my daughters pool. So yes I can deal with the heat and humidity. Especially while NOT haying.
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Where did the chipmunks go? (VIDEO)