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Monday, September 22, 2014

One person's endeavors are another person's nightmare!

One person's endeavors are another person's nightmare!!!!

Image result for image of coyoteImage result for image of coyoteImage result for image of coyote

     My philosophy on life has always been simple. A person is on his/her own path and should enjoy life the way they want. Sometimes my outlooks rise up and bite me in the butt.

There is a gentleman buying up all the land he can. On my road, he owns the farm in across the road and bought the farm down the street. Those two farms total about 1300 acres. As near as I can figure, in the last year he has bought or rented several thousand acres.

He is turning it all into pasture land for cattle. Since they are grazing in open spaces and not penned in small areas, I don't know if it is considered  factory farming.

Word is out that he would like to buy any land a farmer wants to sell.

Like I said, usually I would salute him. This time, his actions are changing my life.

He is clearing all of the land. That's right, there is not a tree, shrub or weed in sight. He puts up beautiful fences and brings in trailer loads of cows.

About now, you are saying to yourself, "There has got to be a point to this. Who cares if he raises cattle?"

Well, all of those woods he bulldozed down contained the homes of several hundred deer, coyotes, owls, mice, raccoons, badgers, opposums, bobcats, a mountain lion and several ferel cats and a million rabbits.

Can you guess where all of those animals are now? Okay, not all of them, I'm sure, but a huge number of them.

I woke up the other morning with three adult coyotes in the orchard. To put this in prospective, the orchard is about 50 feet from my bedroom window. They can't find much prey so they have become vegaterians. More specificly, they are eating every apple and pear they can get their paws on.

The sheep graze in the orchard daily, but now I have to take a shotgun out each morning and shoot it several times to scare off the coyotes so the sheep can come out.  I don't kill them because so far they haven't eaten a lamb or a calf. The one I kill might be replaced by an animal who has a taste for mutton or veal.

The owls are fighting over the mice, ferrel cats and maybe my cats if they happen to be in the wrong place at the worng time.

The ferrel cats are hungry and eating the cat food in the barn as are the raccoons, opposums and groundhogs.  This is not a good situation.

At first I didn't want to sell the farm knowing the first thing the guy is going to do is bulldoze my orchard to the ground. It is not the world's best producing orchard, but we have slaved in it for nine years. When we started the trees looked like sticks in the ground. Now they are big enough to climb.

We are getting ready to build a new green house and it has us thinking. Do we want to live here? We are now the only people on the road for 4 miles. Hum.

There is much to think about. Thought I would share this because someitmes it helps to write it down. Besides, I am a writer more than a farmer.

I was told today that there are people who come out and kill all of the coyotes. Others would come. Maybe not as many, but it only takes one or two to eat my sheep.

Of course, people are selling out here. There are many people who come along and other to buy your farm. Most people don't want all this land and the work that comes with it.

Maybe a moat is the answer. I always wanted a moat around the farm. I  get voted down every time. My first step will be to move the sheep out of the orchard and into the field next to the hoop house. Then am going to horse fence it and move the three big dogs out there and let them run. It will do several things. It will keep all of the wild life at least 7 acres from the house. For those of you who aren't farmers, picutre each acre as about the size of a football field.

It will also protect the sheep in their new space.
Okay. I am finished. Felt good to have my say.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Susan's Musings: Life on The Farm, Part Two

Susan's Musings: Life on The Farm, Part Two:   Our farm is almost 100 acres. To some it is large, to others, small. When I walk around the perimeter, it is large. When someone wants to ...

Life on The Farm, Part Two

  Our farm is almost 100 acres. To some it is large, to others, small. When I walk around the perimeter, it is large. When someone wants to hunt on it,it is too small. We have a road in front, a road on one side with houses and animals in every field.
We have a "do no harm" policy here. There are no sprays or insecticides on the fruit or veggies. The animals eat natural food and we mow and burn rather than spray the weeds.

The down side is it is nearly impossible to keep up with it and still have any kind of life. We had to make our mark in the sand and declare sustainable or pristine. Unless one works 24-7, it will not be weed free and mowed all at the same time.

Our apples and pears are some of the sweetest you have ever tasted. Because we have to fight every bug and bird for two hundred miles, they are small and have blemishes. When I was selling them at the Farmer's Market several years ago I used the slogan "Beauty is only skin deep, healthy goes clear to the core."

It worked. I sold everything worth eating.. We make cider, applesauce, applebutter and dried apples with the rest.

The only sad parts of the farm are the cows and sheep. We don't want to eat meat from the grocery store. I don't want antibiotics, hormones or extra fat in my meat. I am a true believer that you are what you eat eats.

Cows are cute. They are not the smartest creatures on earth but they become like pets. The sad part is we can't keep them all. The boys get sold as either bulls for another farm or they go to market for meat.We sell them off the farm and deliver them to the butcher for our customer also. It is decidedly more humane than a feed lot. Farm fresh meat tastes like nothing you eat in a restaurant.

The sheep are even harder to part with. We lamb in the spring unless a ram gets feisty and goes to visit the girls without permission. It happened last week and we may be having lambs in January. Oh joy. I love lamb and again, I don't eat meat away from the farm. You will never see me order chicken or lamb or a burger out. I have become an expert on Caesar salad. I am going to a dinner Friday night and there are no choices other than meat or seafood. I will choose the shrimp and try not to think about it.

There is not a feeling in the world like walking out on a brisk morning and watching the horses run. They love the cool weather. The sound of horses hooves pounding on the cold hard ground is refreshing.

My second favorite sound is cows and horses chewing hay or grass. Sometimes it is the only sound I hear in the early morning.

I can be in the worst mood ever and turn it around by taking a walk around the farm. I love that the tip of every tree branch reaches to the sky. I love it that the squirrels run and play when I am within three feet of them because they are used to me.
 Every sunset is spectacular and every sunrise promises a fresh start to a new day and infinite possibilities. Do yourself a favor and spend part of each day in nature, if you do nothing more than to sit quietly on your back porch.

I sometimes play a game where I close my eyes and listen. What do I hear close to me? Then I expand my awareness and listen for things far away. Try it. You will be surprised how relaxed you are in only a minute or two.

People ask why I live so far out and make the drive to Springfield when I want to go somewhere like  church or see a movie. It is because there is no substitute for my nature fix every day.

Life is Good and it just keeps getting better.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Joys of Living in the Country, REALLY?

    I find myself getting up two hours early to drive to Springfield for a meeting. The sheep must be let out into the field. Everyone has to have water and all the dogs and cats are sure their throats have been cut. After all, they haven't eaten since last night, a long 9 hours ago. They are being annoying and hovering around because I might forget to feed them. It matters not that none of them have ever missed a meal.

I know what your thinking. You think I am whining. If you don't like living on the farm, move to the city. It is not as simple as it seems.

We have 10 dogs, 6 cats, 24 cows, 12 calves, 19 meat sheep, two mules, five horses and 4 donkeys.
When I think of moving to the city my first dilemma  is who will I get rid of.

No one. They are all near and dear to me. The outside dogs, Bo, Woody and Odi have never been out of the yard. I can leave the gate open but they will not come through it. God have mercy on any turtle , snake, or raccoon who gets off path and goes into their territory. On the other hand, they are only kings of their domain and they don't want to increase it.

Zoi, the basset hound lives in another area because she is so obnoxious, the dogs don't even like her.
Now, who would take these wonderful animals and love them like we do.

Did I mention, Roady, the boxer without a brain? You heard me correctly, this boxer has no brain. She would kill herself to get inside and out of a thunderstorm or away from the sound of gunshots during hunting season.  I had hopes of giving her away once. The advertisement for her would have read as follows:  Free to good home, A boxer.Lovable, doesn't come when she is called. Loves to chase sheep and bite at their legs, eats her way though chain link fence and outside doors to escape loud noises. Once got into the dog food and ate 40 pounds. Pooped for two weeks and drank water continually for 11  days.  Will deliver.

Trust me, no one answeredthe ad.

Now we have Diggitty the Dog, Chi Chi,  and Pinny, along with Gambie and Jack. They would be more than happy to let a thief in, show them where the treasures are hidden and help them carry it to the get-away- car. Are you getting the gist of why I live here?

Let's talk cats! Spooky (got him at Halloween) is almost 15 and lives on the back porch. I don't think he ever leaves the back yard. Greatest cat ever. Jersey Girl, is a hunter. She comes up for dinner about 6 each evening. If she doesn't come I get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Splash and Jesse live in the wood shop and when we came home from vacation last time there was a kitten in there. She had torn the screen and come in to live. See, life is so good here they break in to become a member of the Bowen Creek Farm Family.

This is running a little long so I will stop for today. Look for part two of  Life on the Farm in a few days.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Everyone has a different idea of retirement

What is retirement to you? Have you dreamed about traveling the world by car, boat or train. Perhaps your dream is to sell everything and travel in an RV. Maybe you want to sit in a chair. prop your feet on an ottoman and do nothing hour after hour.

I want to do all of these things depending on the day. I also want to build furniture, paint pictures, write books, garden, ride my bike, visit my kids and grandkids and walk the America's Trail.
Oh, I forgot I love to play with the outside dogs, pet the sheep, watch the calves romp in the pasture and cuddle with the inside dogs.

Once a friend said I wore her out. She said she was glad she didn't have to try to keep up with me.  Opps, sorry. Now I don't boast I am good at any of these things, but I enjoy them. I also love to cook, and am about to launch a series of notecards made from pictures I took.

On the downside, I am not neat. Actually, I resemble Pigpen from Peanuts in the respect that dirt follows me. I am clean, but not neat. Some of my friends complain because I never call. Another flaw I have is when I am done for the day, it would not dawn on me to sit down and call someone just to see what they are doing. Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and I am blessed to have a lot of them. On the other hand, I  my family is so small we could hold an annual reunion in the back of an SUV.

I first realized I was different when I would go shopping with my friends and they would oh and ah over a painting or a picture they couldn't afford to buy. They were saving their allowance for it. I on the other hand looked at the same object deciding how to make it. Different strokes for different folks.

I take some sayings literally. "If not now-when? If not me-who?" When I get up I thank the Universe for letting me partake in the day and the infinite possibilities it brings. I tell myself there will never be another Labor Day 2014 or another Tuesday like the one that comes tomorrow.

Does that mean I am always moving? Oh my goodness NO. Today, I took the day off. I am here by myself. I took a morning nap and an afternoon nap, didn't eat right and watched 'Flea Market flip' way to much.

So, by now you are wondering if there is a point to my rambling. Yes, there is. Be creative. Take a walk. Dust off that bicycle. Take a painting class. Start a meditation group. Read a book. But don't take the route of doing nothing. Life is short and precious. Branch out.