farming

Chapter 2: In which two Small Dogs kill 15 of our Hens, and I kill one Rattlesnake and Feel Guilty.

So, I planted some wildflowers, and they are coming up. I was trying to think of a pleasant way to start this post. . .
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Our new neighbors’ dogs accidentally followed them over to the house (they were in the process of rehoming them), and they killed 15 of our chickens, including pretty much everyone in those pictures I posted, except Espincina–who is really a rooster: Espencer. Stupid ass dogs got all my favorites, and all the meat birds, who would have been ready to butcher in about two weeks. That was a couple weeks ago, so I guess they would have been ready now. Maybe that is why chicken sounds so good?

Anyway, the dogs are gone now. The neighbors felt really bad and were nice about it though, so that’s good. And our charger came in the mail and is now hooked up so any little dog trying to get through the fence will get a nice hot zap on the face.

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Here is Espencer and Silver and some of the Australorps, and Johnny the rooster hiding behind the hens. Dogs got most of the Black Stars too. Little furry *********’s. All the survivors had run and hid in the tall grass around the barn and the yard, and we had to walk around and find them. They were sitting absolutely still and silent and were fairly invisible. And now they are nervous about everything, which is probably good for their future survival.

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Elf and Elsie have moved into a bigger space too (not the space in these photos). They have our whole “back yard” to run and play and graze in, and have even taken to climbing one of the walnut trees. They are learning to respect the electric fence pretty well. And after many frustrating attempts to not mix up the names Elsie and Elf (they came pre-named by the breeder), we renamed Elsie “Olive”. Olive’s a nicer goat (the black and white one); Elf (the cream and white one) is very annoying, constantly in your face and always demanding milk. That figures though. Her mom is in the milking herd at the dairy and is one of the more crazy goats. She actually jumped in to the feed bin once after being milked, instead of exiting the parlor. Not a favorite.

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In other news–
Spencer made the best strawberry rhubarb pie in the history of the world:

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And a swing for the girls:

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All while working like a Mexican. I say that in all seriousness. He is thus far the only non-Mexican to successfully hold his job. Apparently white people suck at working on farms. No, really, I mean that. Unmotivated. Lazy. Sunburn easily. Ok, not all white people sunburn easily, but I sure do. Spencer is just getting a sexy farmer’s tan. Maybe he is secretly Mexican.

And here is one of our favorite birds in the valley, the kingbird. I can’t remember if it’s a Western kingbird or that other kind. They have a funny call, like a parrot almost, and I believe they eat bugs.
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Oh, and I killed a rattlesnake with a shovel. It was in the goat pasture (“back yard”) and the stupid goats were running all around it like oblivious idiots, and then it decided to head for the chicken coop and I couldn’t take the idea of it eating any of the remaining chickens, or biting the kids, or biting the people kids. So I killed it. And then I felt kind of guilty. Spencer cut off the rattle, and it was a six year old snake. That made me feel even worse–he made it six years only to wander into the wrong yard and get shoveled by a nervous housewife in muck boots. How undignified. I still feel kind of bad. And then I found out that even after you cut off their head they can still bite you like an hour later. That’s just wrong. Gross. I prefer black snakes.

We are thinking of buying this red and white heifer calf. I guess I decided that I don’t have enough to do with the kids, the other kids, the baby, the chickens, the rabbit, the cat, my garden, and occasionally murdering snakes. So I think I will add a small cow to that. The upside is that maybe one day eventually when I get a millisecond to draw or paint again, I will have lots of creatures to study and be inspired by. Actually every day I get antsier to sketch, and I miss keeping a sketchbook very badly. But even minus all the critters I have zero time for art. I’ll just keep it all in my head for now.

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5 thoughts on “Chapter 2: In which two Small Dogs kill 15 of our Hens, and I kill one Rattlesnake and Feel Guilty.

  1. Got your email thanks. This blog totally made me laugh. You are a good writer and have an interesting life. I could never kill a snake, well, maybe I could run one over with a car, but I couldn’t kill one with a shovel. I am such a baby. Maybe if I was protecting my kids, but more than likely I would be running and they would be killing the snake to protect me. Actually, I would be running and they would be trying to pick the snake up and make a pet out of it. Of course Sheldon is all about shotguns right now so he would probably be trying to shoot it with a shotgun just for practice, and fun. One thing none of us would do is feel guitly about it’s timely death. A snakes death is always timely, unless it bites you first, then it is truly untimely. That pie looks so yummy! You are so lucky to have a husband that can cook… and do all those other things he does. Is there anything he doesn’t do besides get a sunburn? The picture of the bird is so pretty. I love it. Can’t imagine how you have time to stop and take pictures of birds.

  2. Love this posting, now you are on equal basis with your great grandma, Viola Trotter, who killed a snake with a pair of scissors. But then she killed a rabbit so there is something else to do. . You know our first batch of chickens and one goose,so many years ago, were killed by two very cute little dogs. That was so sad and maddening. I do know how you feel. when will your goats be old enough to milk, or are they males. And how is your garden? I love that bird picture too.

    • Oo, a pair of scissors! That’s pretty tough to beat. I guess a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

      Our goats are both females and will be old enough to breed in about a year. By then Molly and Adele should be old enough to milk them too!

      I will post photos of my garden next time I blog, so far it is still mostly small, but everything I planted is coming up.

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