Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coyotes BEWARE!

This morning just as I was slipping on my sandals, and getting ready to head out on my way to work, I heard a funny noise, turned and saw Rick moving faster than I have ever seen him move. He rushed out the front door yelling for Jack, our big Aussie. I KNEW there was something wrong and I started after him, my brain working in such high gear that everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.
"WHAT IS IT?"  I yelled. 
"Coyote!" he said as he hustled right down the path to the barn. The hair on the back of my neck raised, and I shifted into a higher gear as I chased him down the path! As I burst through the gate leading to the "Back 4", Rick had stopped and was looking up the hill.  I was counting goat heads. "Bella, Hummingbird, Whimsy, Zip, Honey......" my heart was pounding as I expected the worst.
Rick said, "Darn thing got one of your chickens."  I looked up the hill just in time to see a fuzzy pair of ears disappearing over the rise.
"You are sure that was a coyote?" I asked.
"Yup," he said, "I saw it happen."  He turned and looked back at me with a sad look.  He knew how much I treasured my flock. He said "What were you going to do with that?"
I was very surprised to see my wicked sharp pitch fork in my hand. I must have grabbed it as I ran down the path. There I was, wearing my nice work clothes and sandals, with my hair and makeup all done, holding a pitch fork.  I was a little embarrassed.
"Well", I said sheepishly, "I guess I was going to kill the heck out of something."

All of us who have the care of a herd or flock know that feeling of protective instinct.  It is a powerful, primitive feeling, and people have been protecting their livestock for hundreds of years. (Yes, even with pitchforks :) On my drive to work , I thought about my forebears, and how hard they worked to carve their living from the land. My own Granny had a wonderful garden and hens on four acres until she was well into her nineties, and only gave them up after a nasty fall that she never quite recovered from. She had climbed up a ladder to turn on the irrigation water from a standpipe.  She only fell because that rickety old ladder broke. Granny gave me my first mama hen and chicks when I was just 13, and loved to tell me stories from her farm and how the fox or raccoon had gotten a hen or favorite rooster. She lived to be 97. She would have LOVED that I am living such a similar lifestyle.  It was largely her experiences that created in me the drive to live the farm life. Granny would have been very proud of my green beans.
For now, I am considering buying a 22.  Then, look out coyotes, you just might wind up with a bullet in your butt!

...armed and DANGEROUS!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hot August days

This weekend has turned out surprisingly HOT!  Yesterday, I wilted after watering and collecting eggs, and spent the rest of the day learning how to make zucchini chips in the dehydrator. (Yes, it can be done :) Rick is spending this weekend installing another new window. We are going to have the best lookin' cabin in Fiddletown.
My Black-eyed Susans have never looked better!  They are one of the easiest plants to grow up here, and I let them grow wherever they decide to sprout up... of my other favorites are Purple Cone Flowers.  Not as freely self-sowing as the Susans, but they never fail to bloom, even when they have skimpy sunshine. The bumbles and butterflies love them, too, and they keep producing their gorgeous blooms right into the fall.

Our newest FiddleSong team member is 'SkippyJon Jones'!  Anyone who has read that wonderful children's book will recognize the attitude.  He is a bright, fun loving little guy who just walked to the farm after spending a couple of days alone in the woods, and made himself at home. "Whew" he seemed to say, "glad I finally made it." The dogs LOVE him, the Grandchildren love him, and the other cats tolerate him.

SkippyJon Jones.  Welcome home!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

....tasty, homey, simple....

On Sunday morning, I sanded the pine plank countertop on the kitchen island.  It was feeling kind of sticky and I had been wanting to do it for quite a while. It took 1 hour to finish, and about two more hours to clean up the sawdust mess. But it turned out GREAT!  Now I just need to seal it with a coat of mineral oil....  

...then in the afternoon it was time to attend to my garden chores.  I gave everything a good drink and found that my Baccicia beans needed picking. THESE are the best beans ever!  They are tender and flavorful. Even Rick likes them :)

Now, if I could just keep those pesky hens out of the garden....

....the best things in life are the simple things.