Sunday, February 10, 2013

Predators on a small farm

A few days ago I spotted a pack of dogs roaming around in the river bottom. Usually dogs stay a fair distance away from our place but they become much bolder when travelling in packs. I watched as they roamed around a bit then started heading closer up the ridge. I suddenly realized they were heading straight up the hill and it didn’t look like they were stopping.

I ran downstairs and put on my boots, grabbed the .22 and made it outdoors just as the pack came upon our yearly. They had surrounded poor Ferdinand and were nipping and barking like they smelled fresh rib eye.

My .22 is a single shot gun I’ve had since I was twelve. It’s pretty terrible. If I’m within ten feet I can usually plink off my target but then it takes me at least twenty to thirty seconds to reload. I made an attempt to save Ferdinand and shot in the direction of the biggest dog. I think I scared him more than I injured him but the pack was off and poor Ferdinand was spooked.

It made me realized how careful we need to be on our small farm. Our chickens are running all over the place and are easy targets for the plethora of predators in the area and our cows are pretty defenseless against a gang of (take your pick from the list below).

Predators in our area include:

  1. Dogs
  2. Coyotes
  3. Hawks
  4. Weasels (Maddox shot one last month on its way to our chicken coop)
  5. Foxes
  6. Cougars (one was shot up river last year by a good friend of ours)
  7. Bears occasionally meander down stream and feast in the river bottom
  8. People

Protecting animals is one thing. The thing that really scares me is thinking of our kids out and about when any of these predators are around.

A few of the things we have done to minimize the risk of predators include:

  1. Bought and are training a live stock guardian dog. The dog barks all night but is still a wuss. I found the LSG dog underneath the porch after the pack of dogs incident
  2. Kid’s all play together. It is very rare one kid is outside by themselves
  3. We don’t allow the kids to go into the river bottom alone
  4. The chickens are locked up at dusk. The lights may still be on but the door is shut and there is no way into the coop after dark
  5. Looking for electric netting so we can move the chickens around without them being totally exposed
  6. Animals are situated fairly close to the house so when we are here we can monitor them

It’s not a great list now that I’ve read it over. I’m wondering what everyone else does to prevent against predators?

Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Living without a phone

For the past two months we have not had a home phone. I should clarify what that means. I have an office phone I use for work but no one has that number and we have only occasionally used it to call out.

We have meant to get a phone but have just put it off and one week turned into eight weeks without too much notice.

An interesting thing has happened without us having a phone. We have had several visitors come out because they didn’t know how to get a hold of us. Its made me think that this is how it used to be where neighbors and family would come to visit to discuss something and stay a while for chit chat. It’s been a nice feeling.

A few negatives include our family thinking we are hippy hermits. The few friends we still have have lost touch and talk to Dancing Queen and Grey Beard more than us.

I must admit I’ve had a kick in telling people we don’t have a phone when asked what our number is. Most just shockingly shake their head in disbelief or laugh at our predicament. Our poor church clerk gave up on us and put us on the directory with no phone number. I’m pretty sure we are the only ones without a phone in the whole community if not the whole planet.

So why am I telling you this? I need to confess that we finally have broken down and got a phone. I don’t particularly like it. I’m expecting a lot less visits. It kind of feels like a sin to jump on the bandwagon and get a phone just because everyone else has one.

I’ve already had several friends text me congratulations on joining the 21st century. Of course I’m not sure those said texts were really from our friends. They could be from an auto generated computer preying on fools like us.