Sunday, July 31, 2011


Clymene Moth


 Not quite as charming as BirdCouple... but we do love all things outdoors...except maybe those tiny little midges that try to fly into your eyes as you are hiking... 

 BC just returned from hiking across the state of Connecticut!  Warblers ruled the mountain tops and insects enjoyed sleeping in the tent with us...
See our AT blog soon for the details!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

(Past) time to get this year's Duck Stamp!

    Princess and I are headed off to Connecticut for our longest-ever hike on the Appalachian Trail, 66 miles in 6 days. To say we are beyond excited is an understatement! We'll also be starting a Connecticut bird list, since it's a state we've never birded before. Pretty unlikely we'll  see a White-Fronted Goose like those above in the Appalachian forests and mountains of Western Connecticut.

  July - and the entire summer - are passing too quickly. So we leave you for now with a reminder - nay, a plea! - to please go buy your annual Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (the "duck stamp") if you haven't already.

  Regular visitors have heard us say this before - it only costs $15, most of the money goes to buy land to provide bird habitat at those National Wildlife Refuges you love, and it's a free pass to NWRs.

  As Paul Baicich reminds us, there's an extra good reason to get the Duck Stamp this year: other conservation and environmental funds, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund, are at severe risk in the ongoing federal budget deliberations. That makes that little stamp up there all the more important.

 Click here to find out how to easily purchase your stamp.

  CONNECTICUT and the Appalachian Trail, here we come!
W a& L

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Whatcha Doing Saturday?

How about checking out the Your Garden Show's online bee-a-thon event?

Bee-a-thon 2011 is a free, online "town hall" event broadcast live to a worldwide audience on July 16th to shed light on the plight of our bees. Tune in for 12 minutes... or 12 hours! Learn how pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food, contribute billions of dollars to global economies and face challenges from colony collapse disorder and other threats.

Tune in as top bee experts, beekeepers and key environmental players reveal the latest buzz on what's happening to our bees and what you can do this summer to make a difference.

The Bee-a-thon kicks off the Great Bee Count, a Citizen Science campaign hosted on in partnership with the Great Sunflower Project.... counting bees across North America and helping shape bee conservation efforts.

I'll be counting in the LoveNest yard and hoping my Artemis hive gals put in an appearance on the Rosemary plant I have selected to observe for the count.

But, I will be completely fine if I count bumblebees, green bees or carpenter bees. 

Love the pollinators!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7 Year Surprise!

Cute Husband makes the most wonderful anniversary gifts.  Last year it was surprise hike on the AT. 

This year it was chickens, rabbits, cattle and pigs! 

Polyface Farm Field Day!   An event that only occurs once every 3 years and draws about 1,600 people.

Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.  We learned about Polyface from our recent read of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.

Without exaggeration, spending the day at Polyface literally changed my life.  

Polyface is run by Joel Salatin, a self-described Christian- libertarian- environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer.   

Warren and I have always been conscious of what we eat, but Salatin's message of healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture was a real epiphany.

This is Joel's son, Daniel speaking about rabbit raising.
The bunnies spend some time in these unique cages in the Rabbit House

Chickens are layered underneath to scratch and peck through the droppings and food scraps, eliminating odor and disease.
Meet a healthy rabbit who will also spend some fattening time in the pasture, grazing on grass, just as a rabbit was built to do.

Meet a healthy chicken who has plenty of room to scratch around and who will also spend some time scratching around eating grass in a pasture.

Adorable right?    These holistically grown rabbits are prized by chefs in the area.  We learned about rabbit raising and I learned that I could raise rabbits, sell rabbits, butcher rabbits and eat rabbits.

 I just don't know if I could slaughter rabbits.. 

I'm sure people get off on pictures with Brad Pitt and Bono, but check us out... posing with Joel Salatin!
If this farm was a Concentrate Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), I would have had to enter the chick house in a biological suit to avoid contaminating the animals. 
Yes, I realize I am the only adult in the chick house....

Turkeys!   Following the path grazed by cattle days before...
Chickens get to do the same thing!

One of Polyface's guiding principles is that plants and animals should be provided a habitat that allows them to express their physiological distinctiveness.

Respecting and honoring the pigness of the pig is a foundation for societal health.

These pigs were chilling in the woods doing what pigs do in the wild.
Rooting, digging and laying in mud.  Not sitting on concrete eating corn.

Looks pretty content, right?
Children were running through the woods petting these 300 lb creatures.  I avoided direct contact after I heard that pigs can fight off a wolf pack and give a bear a pretty good battle.
Cute Husband!  You are so brave!
OH, Wilbur...

This guy was the only one that I had very little trouble thinking of as bacon...
Another Polyface guiding principle is moving livestock and poultry frequently to new "salad bars," which offers landscape healing and nutritional superiority.

Chickens enjoying the landscape...

Joel telling us to go in peace to love and serve the land...
How could you not fall in love with this farm?

Polyface refuses to send food to locations outside a four-hour drive of his farm-- outside the local "foodshed".   Luckily, Birdcouple is within this foodshed and we have the benefit of joining the Polyface buying club. 

The benefit of enjoying high-quality meats, which are raised using environmentally responsible, ecologically beneficial, sustainable agriculture. 
Thanks for making me such magical anniversary gift, Warren, my love.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White & Blue birding

     Lisa and I went birding on Independence Day, down to the remote Nanjemoy area of Charles County, Maryland.

     We saw Red:

Summer Tanager


Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle

And Blue:

Eastern Bluebird (immature)

Happy 4th of July
The Birdcouple!