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High Altitude Rhubarb--Organic Farm & Nursery

Pick-Your-Own, 100% Organic Rhubarb Since 2008
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Wildlife
We share Black Forest with many wild critters.  Here are photos of a few visitors to our farm.  We don't often have a camera so there are many visitors not captured on film.  In addition to the animals pictured here there are many others common to the area, including coyotes, pumas, rabbits, raccoons, eagles, owls, snakes and mundane pests like pocket gophers, 13-line ground squirrels and voles.

Black Bear
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Mule Deer
This fellow was taking a nap between the rhubarb plots.  Mule deer are frequent visitors.  This fellow had an injured ankle and was convalescing on our property for a few days.
Prior to 2014 they left rhubarb alone.  The bad news is they began sampling rhubarb leaves in 2014 and descemating our fields by 2016.  Deer have a hierarchy of preferred vegetation.  It appears the Black Forest Fire of 2013 sufficiently altered our ecosystem to reduce the supply of food they prefer to rhubarb.   This is a serious threat to our farm.  In 2016 they completely consumed every single rhubarb leaf.  Fortunately, this occurred after the June harvest.  The established plants are probably OK but they may have killed or set back growth on the new plantings of 2016.  Now that they have discovered this food source we fear they may return before future harvests, when the plants are their most lush, and put us out of business.   In 2016 we surrounded the crop with semi-invisible fencing of fish line.  Hypothesis was that it is invisible at night and scares them when they run into it.  Didn't work.  Possibly failed because they had already begun foraging on our crop before we established the fish-line fence.   Possibly didn't work because they broke through it with antlers, scared or not, and then lost their concern.  It all happens at night so we did not see how they broke the fences.
































































Turkey

Not a common sight.  We've seen turkeys twice since 1991.

























Hawk
Raptors ate well during the explosion in the mouse population immediately following the 2013 Black Forest Fire.





























Ladybugs
This was amazing.  Several times we've seen hundreds, probably thousands, of these little critters swarmed up small pine trees.  They flew off as they reached the tip of branches.  It looked like a plume of red smoke slowly rising from reddish trees!  A benefit of organic farming...such critters can find a safe home with us.




























Brown Squirrels
Brown squirrels are slowly displacing the native Abert squirrels in this area.  The two varieties easily interbreed and it is not uncommon to see squirrels that appear half/half Abert/Brown.  These three are pure Brown Squirrel.  We've seen one with the back half brown, front half Abert and hear such hybrids are common.










































Red-Shafted Flicker (woodpecker)
The bane of our cedar-sided house.  These ornery critters can make a 3" diameter hole in a day!   We have hung bird netting loosely over the walls to minimize the need for repair/painting.   Fortunately, the netting is invisible except when up close.  We also have flocks of Red-Winged Black Birds, crows and magpies commonly hanging out.  The Black Birds are new since the 2013 fire.  Another indication of significant changes to the ecosystem.





Excitable Life
Not really wildlife but they'd like to be.  Dear souls all, some guard the farm while others are true pets.


























































































































































THE END