Field Log 4/3/2010

North Erath County, Texas, 32.43 lat., -98.36 long. Elev. 1,086 ft.  Turkey Creek Quad.

Day looks less windy and can broadcast grass seeds.  Disc and broadcast today (Saturday).  Take Sunday off.

Finished turning and applying disc implement to Pecan Tree Pasture and the house fields.  Turned about four acres in the far pasture, two acres at the house fields.  Harris’ Hawk flies overhead as I prep soil.  The Bryant field west of the pecan orchard is being plowed so lessee can plant seed for hay.  The lessee drives a John Deere enclosed cab.  I like my Case that is not enclosed, but has a Farmall sun shield, because I can feel the wind and smell the turned soil.  And, I really don’t want a CD player and radio on the tractor.  Also, when idling the engine, I can hear the Harris’ Hawk — can’t do that with enclosed cab.  Note: with the Bryant field stripped of grass and brush, there is less cover for wildlife.

As I apply the disc to the pasture, I can see the shadows of the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) and Harris’ Hawk on the ground as they glide above the tractor.  Several vultures roost in the dead tree on the Bryant place, along Barton Creek.

Wind over past two weeks has dried out topsoil despite rain.

I say to Brenda at lunch that I saw a wren-type, ground-feeding bird in the native grasses that I have let grow in the Pecan Tree Pasture.  The bird spied the tractor coming and darted around and entered the tall bluestem grass (verify) as I passed by along the fence row.  I have shredded the pasture twice since I moved here, but I’ll not be shredding any more.  The fifty-three (53) acres will be as sustainable as I can make it.  Seeing the wren in the field of native grass that Cody Scott had planted in 2004, signals to me that the field is a good habitat for wildlife.  Last year as I worked in the field, I scared up two deer that had taken a rest in the high grass.  Since the Halls cleared their brush and have put Adirondack chairs in their grove, small bridges over their gullies and a workshop next to the Pecan Tree Pasture, I’ll not be seeing as many deer as I once did.  I’ll not be putting any chairs about the place.  I’ll sit on a log or lean up against a tree — nature’s furniture.

Brought up the tractor with the Edge broadcast seeder and spreader.  Backed tractor and spreader up to rocks on driveway so that water runoff would go onto lawn not puddle in driveway.  Attaching PTO difficult.  Used WD-40.

Case DX-55 with Edge Broadcast Seeder and Spreader, April 3, 2010 (click to enlarge)

Made calculations as to orifice size to allow seeds to fall through and be broadcast.  Start out with a No. 2 opening.  In the thumbnail below you can see a large white bag and a smaller bag.  The larger bag is the native grass (25 lbs.) and the smaller is the wildflower seed (2 lbs.).

Southern Plains Native Grass Mixture #2901, April 3, 2010

Native Grass Seed Bag and Small Wildflower Bag, April 3, 2010

Texas and Oklahoma Native Wildflower Mixture, April 3, 2010

Wildflower Varieties Planted

Premium TEX / OKA Regional Wildflower Mixture

Common Name *Type Scientific Name Flower Color
Baby’s Breath, Annual A Gypsophila elegans White
Black-Eyed Susan A/B/P Rudbeckia hirta Yellow
Bluebonnet, Texas A Lupinus texensis Blue
Coreopsis, Lance-Leaved P Coreopsis lanceolata Yellow
Cosmos, Sulphur A Cosmos sulphureus Yellow/Orange
Candytuft, Annual A Iberis umbellata White/Pink/Violet
Coneflower, Purple P Echinacea purpurea Purple
Cornflower, Dwarf A Centaurea cyanus Mix
Coneflower, Prairie B/P Ratibida columnifera Yellow/Red
Coneflower, Clasping A Rudbeckia amplexicaulis Yellow
Golden Wave Tickseed A Coreopsis basalis Yellow
Evening Primrose, Dwarf P Oenothera missouriensis Yellow
Evening Primrose, Showy P Oenothera speciosa Pink
Gaillardia, Annual A Gaillardia pulchella Yellow-Red
Mint, Lemon A Monarda citriodora Lavender/White
Phlox, Annual A Phlox drummondii Red
Poppy, Corn A Papaver rhoeas White/Pink/Red
Prairie Clover, Purple P Petalostemon purpureum Purple
Sage, Scarlet A/P Salvia coccinea Red

Native Grasses Planted

The native grasses planted are: Blue Grama, Sideoats Grama, Buffalo Grass, Plains Bristlegrass, Little Bluestem, Prairie Junegrass and Sand Dropseed.

The wind came up to 10-15 m.p.h.  in the afternoon.  Delayed spreading until after supper at 6:15 p.m.

Following supper, spread seed in Pecan Tree Pasture and house pastures until 9:15 p.m.  Used headlights on tractor to finish spreading.  Orifice enlarged to Nos. 5 and 8.  Spread some seeds on arena-south pasture.  Must disc twice this area on Monday.

Salt Creek runs through the grove with about two-three inches of flow.  Tadpoles emerge.  I hear the trickle of flow as the water falls down on the rocks alongside the road to the far pasture.  Cannot use the road because of the water flow and must go around the Halls place on SH 108.  I put the Case tractor into high gear, fourth position and watch for traffic on the highway.  I have lights flashing.  In four trips to the far pasture today, only one vehicle passed me: a motorcycle with two people, man and woman, traveling to Stephenville, most likely to have barbecue at Hard Eight.

The quote I always have in mind:  Begin with the sun and all else shall follow.  — D.H. Lawrence.



Filed under Field Log, Plants and Shrubs

4 responses to “Field Log 4/3/2010

  1. I got tired just reading what you have to do, and I complain about my small place. I tried planting wild flower seed but it did not take, I guess I am a photographer, not someone with a green thumb.
    Have a Blessed Easter


    • Evangeline: It’s a little easier than it sounds because a lot of the time you are just riding the machine. I’m also skeptical about the wildflowers taking. Yes, you are a photographer and a great one at that. But I would think that if you set your mind to it, you could make flowers grow.

  2. Kittie Howard

    I like my Case that is not enclosed, but has a Farmall sun shield, because I can feel the wind and smell the turned soil.

    Jack, I read your entry the other day but wanted to return for another read. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your spring plantings, bird sightings, and, of course, the deer. (Too bad about the Halls. And you’re so right about leaning against a tree to relax. THE best!) I’m looking forward to photos of the wildflowers, especially the Primrose. Love that flower. Anyway, I copied your above sentence for it speaks to the soul of one who loves the land. No Chanel perfume can compete with the fresh scent of turned soil. Glorious!

    • Kittie: Thank you, my dear friend, for a re-read. I do that, too. Your last post on Wendy, I’ve commented after a couple of re-reads. I’m not so sure where the blogosphere is going, but if you and I and others write about these experiences at this level, then something is emerging. Thanks for staying with me as I will stay with thee. –Jack

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