Granite Ledge Township Homestead Wildlife

I haven’t posted in a bit, so I thought I’d just toss this one up.

Ian and Olivia, my son and daughter-in-law, recently purchased a home on several acres in Granite Ledge Township, Benton County, MN.  The lot is mostly wooded.  They received a wireless “security” cam set as a housewarming gift, and it captured some interesting things in their first months at the home.

SPOILERS BELOW – read after viewing:

The first critter is an opossum.  Little cutie.

In the second set of videos, the animal being chased is a feral house cat.  The chaser is a fisher, a large member of the weasel family.  It is sometimes called a fisher cat.  Unfortunately evidence suggests the fisher killed the feral cat very shortly after this video.

The third critters are a pair of big lumbering stinkers looking to put on some weight before a long winter’s nap.

Ian and Olivia are hosting a rather large Thanksgiving in their home and we’re all looking forward to attending soon.




Spring Plantings


One of the 25 White Pines planted May 3rd. This tree is about 8″ tall. Pines this size planted here 5 years ago range from 4 to 9 feet tall.

Tree seedlings, saplings and shrubs were planted May 3rd through May 5th.  The 99 plantings included 25 White Pines, 25 Silver Maple, 25 American Cranberrybush, 5 Hackberry, 5 Basswood (American Linden) and 14 Golden Willow.  We ran out of tree tubes and have already had some silver maples munched.  I think it is by rabbits.  They may recover if I can get them protected soon.


A “Forest Restoration Intern” applying Plantskydd to a Silver Maple seedling in hopes of keeping away deer, rabbits and voles.  Another silver maple, the next tree in this row without a tube, has already been eaten down to about 5 inches.

The garden planting was finished May 24th. There is still more tilling and fencing to do.  (Asparagus bed and apple trees are not new but are included for reference.)  The tomatoes, eggplant and peppers were started from seed indoors several months ago.  All other plantings were by seed.  More herbs and some tomatoes will be in pots and planters near the house.  This is the last year for a ground-level garden.  Pots and raised beds only next year.




First Day for Outdoor Drone Flight – No Audio


This video was made today during the first outdoor flight of the drone I received for Christmas, a little DJI Spark.  After some initial messing around with huge file sizes, I decided to go the Youtube hosting route using the “unlisted” video setting, which means it isn’t private, but you can only see it if you know the link.

Ten days earlier, this area was under about foot of fresh snow.  Some snow remains on the edge of some distant fields. The pines and spruces are just starting to green up as the frost comes out of the ground.  In most places, the soil remains rock hard below 6″.  Delivery of the hundred or so tree seedlings I’ll be planting has been delayed until May 3 when more frost will be gone.  I’m hoping for thawed ground to 16″ when I plant.

I had seen a few videos of raptors attacking drones, and sure enough, one seemed very interested in it today. (Not in this video – The hawk was well above the drone so it wouldn’t have been captured by the drone’s camera.) I swiftly flew the drone close to me and made myself very visible.  It soared about 100 feet above the drone for 20 seconds then decided to look elsewhere.  Pretty sure it was a Red-tailed.  During this flight, the tree swallows were curious but remained at a distance

If you look quickly, you can see the L-shaped garden soil I tilled last fall.


Jackfruit / Nangka

We bought a 30lb Jackfruit or Nangka from a local Asian grocer knowing it would be an adventure.  After researching the best plan of attack, I wrapped the knife handles and oiled my hands and the knife blades to keep latex from sticking.


Here it is halved. There was very little latex.  I’m not sure why . . .  maybe because of age, temperature, degree of ripeness . ..  I don’t know.

After cutting it into long quarters and cutting out the core, I turned it partially inside out to separate the pods and make them easier to extract.

Here are about half the pods and a third of the seeds from our Nangka. Ensie gave the flavor an “A”, high marks from a Malaysia-born fruit lover, but the texture did indicate the fruit was a bit under-ripe. I tried several recipes for cooking the seeds, the size of a fava bean but twice as thick. The best one was the most labor intensive: Boil for 10 minutes. Peel the thick outer translucent skin. Slice in half. Brown in a 50:50 mix of butter and a fragrant coconut oil. Season. I used garlic, black pepper and a good curry powder blend. The result is like a slightly nutty firm yet cooked potato. Another recipe called for roasting them in the oven before peeling off the skin. My attempt resulted in 5 or 6 exploding before I called that off.