|Why we named it Food Chain Farm
About once a week, it seems, we are reminded why we named the place “Food Chain Farm”. Soon after we arrived in January of 2003, we found the remains of a rabbit on the lawn (that was before we replaced all the grass with either rocks/gravel, low water plants or edible plants) that was half-eaten by a hawk.
Since then, we've encountered many creatures - coyotes, bobcats, snakes, spiders, etc. The cat - he's a big cat! - drags in mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, moles and birds he catches. Here he is with a squirrel.
Recently, the cat disappeared for 2 days. We assume that one of these days a predator will get him and we’ll never know what happened. When he finally showed up but he was freaked out and would not stay around for his cat food. Turns out that a Mountain Lion was spotted about 2 miles from our house. If that cat could talk, I bet he’d have some interesting stories to tell!
Here are some of the creatures we have seen:
This lizard showed up one morning on our windowsill - INSIDE the house! He's big!
Several rattlesnakes have gotten caught in the netting around the raised beds, so we changed the fencing to stop catching them. As much as they are dangerous, they do eat pests and don't really want to mess with you. Just watch - and listen - out for them.
The same day we found one of these guys, a vulture showed up. While waiting for it to die, he perched on our gate.
They also go after the roadkill on the road next to our property. These birds are big - about 6 feet (almost 2m) wingspan.
Not long ago, we found remains of a Red Shouldered Hawk we found on the lower property. Note the leg with talons in the upper left.
We suspect he was the victim of an owl. We have an owl box (see birds) and have found some of their leftovers (a mouse) down near our big pond.
Racoons are fearless - just like in the suburbs. They come around and eat the cat's food and other things too. This one guy comes right up to the table when we're eating outside and we have to run him off.
He climbs trees - here he is eating figs off our tree.
And here eating a persimmon.
A most unusual visitor was mamma with triplets! She was NOT FRIENDLY!
We also have spiders. I'm trying to get pictures of the black widows we see all the time but they are tough to photograph.
This is called a trapdoor spider which lives in the ground.
This guy was hanging from the light in our pantry.
An this is something very unusual - spiders hatching. The eggs were laid in a PVC pipe and Karen was lucky enough to catch them as they were hatching. Guess how many?
You don't think of crows as predators, but they are a major problem for other birds as they snatch and eat eggs and hatchlings. Here's a crow washing a catch in our natural birdbath - it's a mole.
And we got frogs in our pond - do we have frogs! They are so loud it's deafening! Here's a couple of friendly frogs.
And of course, no place would be complete without coyotes!
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