7/30/08

Today at the Farm

Today is an interesting day. It's Wednesday. Work is the same - crunching numbers, reporting the results, crunching some more. It's hot outside as is typical for this time of year. There's not a lot to report and my next story isn't quite how I want it to read. So here's an update on the farm.

There are tracks on the road and tell-tale signs of a recent horse escape - poop. I have been walking the fences, convinced this is Minnie but so far evening storms have prevented me from traversing the entire huge estate (added the huge part so everyone would envy the massive lay of land I live on - I'm not admitting it's up and down hill and mostly covered in brush). Hopefully tonight I can avoid the storms and the heat and make sure the breach is not ours and that Minnie isn't taking late night strolls. Instinct tells me to carry a set of fence cutters and extra barbed wire on the next walk. I think I know where the breach may be.

I have a hen "setting". We have been enjoying our fresh country eggs but I was negligent in the last week to collect them daily. Then, the fear comes that they may be "rotting" and there is nothing worse than picking up a rotten egg to have it explode in your hand. That is followed by the dogs and cats following me around the yard beggging and assuming I have some delicious goody for them. She has maybe six or seven eggs but I haven't reached too far to do a final count. Setting hens become aggressive and when they peck you, they don't just tap, they grab onto flesh and twist and don't let go. Tonight, after I figure out the status with the fence, I intend to clean out the laying boxes short of her little group of eggs and get the chickens back on the right track. I have enjoyed my love/hate relationship with the dominant rooster and crow everytime I walk by. He now hears me coming and gets on the highest perch and begins flapping his wings. As soon as he can see me he tries to beat me to crowing. I interrupt him which annoys him and causes him to shiver.

Our garden is producing quite well. Brutus finally discovered that the electric fence was INDEED off and he is now on guard. I haven't seen any signs that the evil armadillo has been captured, but at least it's at bay. We still have the occasional tomato sacrifice but we are also getting a few for ourselves. We are getting okra by the bushel now. I love okra and am freezing it daily. I have tried many different ways to "can" okra but have never been pleased with the outcome. Frozen okra, put in the freezer as soon as it is picked and cut and battered yields the best meal in the winter. I love serving it to Thanksgiving guests.

The boys - Spin and Slow Joe - are growing their hair back. They get bi-weekly dippings for the failed immunity they inherited from their mother and it's beginning to work. Joe has watched as Rocky leaps into my arms and has decided that he can do that as well. He's over 50 pounds now so he leaps, throwing his feet into the air and falling over. I have finally learned to at least catch is front feet and try to lift him like a child. Of course, I can't lift him but I meet him halfway and hug him just the same. This doesn't work on days I am dressed for work and he's learning the difference in "it's o.k." and "stay away".

The hawks have their hatchlings now in the woods and I hear them occasionally. Unfortunately for them, there is a crows nest and crows do not like hawks. This is good news for the chickens who the hawks were spying on for a while as the crows have kept them in the distance. Who says crows are not good?

The snake is still incognito. I know he's there and expect to see him again but I have warned Dave he's there. So if Dave sees him, hopefully he won't damage any buildings or equipment. I haven't seen the bunnies so I am not sure who survived and who did not. Next year, the garden will show me the truth there.

The deer are roaming with their babies and I saw the Momma Turkey and six young just two days ago. When I passed by, the babies layed down but the mother poked her head up. I waited until they realized I was not leaving and watched as they high tailed it into the woods. Turkeys are great at avoiding hunters but they are not good parents. They tend to hatch very large groups of babies and then drag them through the damp grass and various other places. The six will probably not last as I usually see them successfully raise two or three.

So, boring as it may sound, farmlife goes on. I thank God everyday for the breath He gives me and for the peace he wakes me up to. He's loaned this to me for a brief while and I intend to do my best to enjoy it and care for it while I'm here. Hopefully, the next person he loans it will will appreciate it as much as I do.

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