Welcome to "Hog Heaven"

Welcome to our 'blog site' for Hog Heaven Ranch. From here you'll be able to view the latest postings of photos and read any new news from us on the ranch.

The Animals at Hog Heaven

This is a slideshow showing all the animals that visit the ranch. Form time to time, I'll be adding more slides.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We at Hog Heaven...

Good day to you all,
I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
In additon, I wish you and your spouses (of the opposite sex) and your children, and families, the very best of this holiday season; to which I will say this most Politically Incorrect, but appropriate comment.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
God bless you all.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

From Fluff to Feathers

Our four little Ash-throated Flycatchers are growing quit well inspite of the perishing heat we've had during the last few weeks. It's almost a month now since Momma began laying her eggs, and about a week and a half since we first spotted little gray fuzzy things in the nest.

The chicks have been kept nourished with the help of their parents, and we suspect an aunt is also in on the project.

As their feather begin to grow and their beaks harden up, we can expect them to be learning to fly quite soon now. In the meantime, they just rest, eat, and keep a wary eye on me as I stick my camera in their faces.

Life's really good here at Hog Heaven.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Squirrel Family has grown!

The other day, I spotted a baby squirrel down in the large dead tree beside the barn. It was not much bigger than a chipmunk yet was an exact duplicate for Sammy.
Joanne spotted them just off the patio yesterday and also caught sight of one peeking around the corner of the solar power shed.
This morning just before breakfast; while I was in my office checking my emails, Joanne called me to the kitchen and asked me to bring my camera.
This is what we saw: These cinder blocks are 8"x8"x16" so you can see, these little fellows are not much bigger than about 5" without counting the tail.
Hoping against all odds that Momma would get into the scene as well so I could take a photo for comparison of size. My wish was granted and for an extra bonus, a Lark Sparrow also jumped into the shot, just for good measure.
Spring has indeed sprung at Hog Heaven!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Eggs have Broken...

Because our little Flycatcher's nest is so high up in the corner of the front entry alcove, it's difficult to observe some of the activity as it happens, and we're dependent on a mirror image in aimed from the otherside of the entry. None the less, we have seen some activity of exciting proportions and have witnessed Ashley apparently feeding some hatched chicks in the mornings and evenings.

Our suspicions were founded when one morning we saw the little flashes of a wobbly baby bird's head as 'momma' returned to the nest. Then there was two little yellow beaks in view; ever so tiny and quite wobbly and unstable. I had to take some photos to record the moment, so with much difficulty and long waiting sessions, we were able to catch a couple of blurry, fuzzy images of the babies. Faces only a mother could love!
Then because my shots weren't as clear as I'd have hoped, I decided that to get a good look into the nest, I needed to wait until Ashley had left the nest and then I could quickly hold my camera close up to the nest and attempt a 'macro' type shot to see exactly what the contents of that nest were.

It worked! We are the proud landlords of four brand new baby Ash Throated Flycatchers, with fine grey fuzzy bodies and large yellow beaks. Amazing... Truly amazing indeed!
Now we'll just have to keep our distance and watch these chicks through to fledging and hope that all four of them survive this unseasonably hot summer. In the meantime 'momma' and her mate are busily catching tiny bugs to keep the chicks fed.
Other than the faint "peep" of the partent birds as they signal their return to the nest site with a beak full of food, we haven't heard much noise from the nest. Too early we expect, but we're both sure that soon; really soon, we'll be entertained with a quartet of little voices.
Life is; oh so good at Hog Heaven.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

If You've got Water; They Will Come...

Yesterday I did my rounds of all the 5 gallon water buckets I have strategically located around the area of the house, and found a couple of them 'bone-dry' in just one day. Now I know that the weather has been a little warm, but that's a little unusual. Something large must have come by in the night and sucked up all the water.

The Javelina, though they usually come in packs of about 10-12 animals usually don't drink that much because they also get their moisture from eating Prickly Pear Cactuls. So I filled up all the buckets again and also some of the little 'bird-baths' we have out there. We'd keep an eye on those drink stations around dusk and see what comes by. Living at Hog Heaven is good for your neck muscles, because you spend a lot of time 'rubber-necking' out of all the windows trying to spot some of our visitors. Last night was no exception.

We'd just settled down to watch the Angels - Devil Rays baseball game when Joanne went into the kitchen for a glass of water. "Vern, Vern, Elk" was all she 'yelled' in a SOFT whisper. I muted the TV (which seemed superfluous because the Elk had obviously heard it through all the open windows, and went for my camera.

Joanne had noticed this huge 'cow' Elk stooping for a drink from the bucket I'd buried beside one of our mineral licks, but her attention had been focused so much that she'd missed the two Mule Deer standing less than twenty yards beyond, obviously waiting their turn at the 'lick' or water bucket. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to catch the Elk and Deer in a single framed photo, but did manage to capture these two shots.

The Mule Deer doe and young buck couldn't wait for that thirsty Elk, so they moved off to the right to the next water bucket. After quenching their thirst, they just browsed around on the lush green tufts of grass that had come alive with the first signs of spring. Life is Good at Hog Heaven.