Tree Bargains—Planting for the Future

Every year we buy bare root trees from Dakota County, MN and plant them everywhere we think a tree should be. There is a wide selection of trees and shrubs and they are about $30 per bundle. Everything from pines, spruces and cedar to maples, oak and walnut.

The tree planting program was started many years ago to promote conservation and help folks create a more beautiful, healthy and ecologically balanced environment, the SWCD’s Tree Program is considered by many to be a true community service. Many of the county’s shelterbelts, farmstead and field windbreaks, wildlife habitat, and reforestation have been started as a result of this program. In more recent years, housing developments, community beautification projects, and boulevard plantings have been added to the list of uses under the tree and shrub program.

You can fill in a simple tree order form, and send it in by April 1. You will be notified when the trees come in. Happy planting!

Check with your local county to see if they have a program for people to buy trees at bargain basement prices. It’s well worth the small investment.

The Frog in the Bluebird House

Last year, a family of bluebirds nested right outside my office window. It was so much fun to watch them build their nest. The eggs hatched and mom and dad both helped feed the babies. The first clutch was successful and they all flew the coop. Typically, bluebirds will have 2 clutches a season. The nest needs to be cleaned out and they will build a new nest.

Soon after building their second nest, I observed the bluebird poking his head in and out but not going inside. He looked perplexed. I went out to investigate. When I opened the door to the house, to my surprise – I found a frog inside the house. I assisted in getting him to a nice safe place and figured it was just a fluke. The next day, I observed the bluebird doing the same thing – poking his head in and out over and over again. I opened the door to the house and who do you suppose was there? Mr. Frog was back in the exact same spot. I discovered it was a Gray treefrog who happens to be very fond of wood, trees and bark. I moved the frog even further away and the bluebirds had another successful clutch. Perhaps Mr. Frog turned into a handsome prince and lived happily ever after.

Frog in bluebird house

Frog in bluebird house

The Bird Sanctuary

After we moved in, we started putting up bird feeders and bird houses. Aside from the fact that we have every squirrel in Lakeville feeding at out house (sure they like to eat and run), there are a few other interesting animals that swing by on a regular basis. Plato, the Pileated woodpecker, comes by often. He really likes the suet feeder. At times we have seen 4 pileated woodpeckers together. Plato is the leader. I feel honored that he makes this one of his regular stops. What a majestic bird.

Pileated Woodpecker

The Cast of Characters

About 3 years ago, I started taking photos of the critters we have running around in the yard. It is fun to see how wild animals respond to people. Some are not phased at all and don’t flinch a feather or paw when humans are close by. It is as if we are all living in perfect harmony.

To start the new year off, here is an introduction to one of the regulars.

The Squirrels – Pinky and her baby Winky.
One day I saw Pinky moving her babies into the brand new woodpecker house. They really liked their new digs.

Squirrel in woodpecker house.

Baby Squirrel in woodpecker house.

The squirrels in the yard are numerous and provide hours of amusement with their antics and gymnastic feats. We have had some incredible jumpers who we have dubbed Rocky and Waldo. My husband is constantly trying to outwit them by strategically moving bird feeders around and as he says, “The squirrel always gets the last laugh.”