This weekend was a lot like the last few in that I spent more time at Tractor Supply than Lowe’s and most of my “projects” were just extended versions of the daily farm chores that need to be done around here. Except this weekend I doubled-down on the fun factor by letting one of my super-fit friends talk me into a “Warrior Workout” Saturday morning.
Okay, so, in retrospect, any activity that contains the word “warrior” and occurs before noon on a Saturday… I mean, good things are not going to come of this. Also, using the word “workout” is misleading. I’ve done tough workouts… in eight years of martial arts I’ve had some pretty intense hours on the gym floor. I recently did a couple of months of crossfit. I like a little physical challenge once in a while. But this was not a “workout”, this was a seventy-five minute assault on areas of my body that I was not even aware contained muscles.
I was so blase about this whole thing. You know, “Oh, I’ll go have a little workout Saturday morning, come home and do a little painting, clean out the donkey stall…” Yeah. I left the gym (aka “dungeon of pain”, drove for ten minutes, and then had to pull over because my arms were shaking too bad to operate the steering wheel.
So. The work I did this weekend after that ass-kicking was slightly less physically intense than I had planned. As in, I basically laid prostrate on the floor for like fifteen hours. Unfortunately farm chores do not give a shit if it hurts to breathe and you have no ability to stand upright, so I also had to track down, load, and unload twenty bales of straw.
They were like, “Why do you keep making that crying noise every time you bend over?”
I also had to upgrade the nugget box to something slightly larger than the random tupperware I’d been using. Every morning I’d come downstairs to find one little troublemaker outside of the box.
I decided to get one of those portable dog cages so that I’ve got something to use as a chicken infirmary if I ever need to separate one from the flock in the future. Plus I think it will hold all six of them comfortably until the coop is built.
Since the coyote I mentioned on Friday has been making daily visits to my back yard, the safety of my nuggets once they move outside has been top of mind. I don’t actually believe in killing animals just because they’re doing what they do and it happens to be on my property, but I wouldn’t mind him having second thoughts about coming too close to the farm. I thought about keeping the shotgun close to the door and firing a warning shot whenever I see him, but 1.) that will also scare the donkeys, and 2.) I don’t actually believe discharging a firearm just for the noise is a good idea.
So, as I’m pondering what methods of coyote-repellent may be effective, my mom sends me this picture of my grandmother fixing her BB gun…
Wait, let me clarify. My grandma fixing her BB gun on her dining room table. I mean, it’s no surprise we share genes, right? So when I saw this picture my first thought was: My grandmother is a badass. Followed closely by: That could work.
I’m pretty sure a BB wouldn’t actually injure a coyote, but might sting him and give him a good reason to hightail it out of the immediate area, because I’m telling you, dude has caught on that if I’m running at him flailing my arms around and shouting and he just sits and stares at me, eventually I’m going to run out of breath and stop.
I’m also going to have an electric fence around the chicken paddocks, so I’m not hugely concerned, but I still don’t want a friendly coyote hanging around, so we’ll see if I continue to spot him over the next week or two and come up with a plan from there. I might sic my grandma on him.
Speaking of wildlife that isn’t making my eye twitch, with the weather getting just a smidge warmer I’ve been spotting all kinds of new creatures out and about in the middle of nowhere…
I don’t know what these are. Stork? Egrets? Pterodactyls? All I know is they’re fricking huge, and also not scared of me.
Here are a couple of other shots of an interesting little building I spotted next to an old cemetery on a dirt road during my drive in to civilization the other day…
I love the idea of the stone front on a building that’s set into a hill…
It’s giving me all kinds of ideas for the hilly area on the west end of my property. Because we all know I need another project.
So, that was the weekend in short: pain, donkeys, chickens, and coyotes. Welcome to my life.
Those are Sandhill cranes. Cool!!
Ha! Love the shot of your grandmother! I have one of those little stone buildings near my property. I don’t know what they’re called but when i was a kid my grandparents told me that’s where cemeteries would keep the bodies during the winter when the ground was frozen. Made sense to me but it also could’ve been their way if discouraging me from making it my fort. 😀
Sandhill cranes and a crypt (vault) if that building is next to/inside the cemetery. Great photos!
Because I’m sure you don’t have enough livestock…have you thought about getting a cattle dog? They’re very territorial and very hard working. I know my Aunt who has a farm has 2 and they keep all kind of buggers off their land. They don’t want anyone messing with their goats. And they’re giant fluffy snugglemonsters.
Farm dogs are great, but as much as I love animals, I am really not a dog person. I like them in theory, and I like other peoples dogs, but I have zero desire to ever add a dog to the homestead.
I feel like if I was a person who loved dogs and wanted to take the time to train and care for one, that would totally be the best option for critter control!
Ha! I totally get that, and this sounds gross, but…uh…I’ve heard that just the…ummm…urine is just as good as having one around. Maybe have a friend bring their dog over and have them pee all over the back of your property?
How about a guard llama in with the donkeys? They are pretty good at keeping the predators away!
I thought donkeys were supposed to keep predators way too.
I want to jump in here. My parents have a german shepard and nothing comes near any buildings on their farm because of it. They were having a problem with racoons and coyotes before they got her.
Also, my grandfather had a llama and they’re very social animals so most people recommend getting two. With my grandfather’s he had it with other animals but the other animals were scared of it! Anyway it got depressed because he was always by himself. Just an fyi…
That little stone building is cute! It makes sense as Edge described above, for use to store bodies when the ground is frozen. My parents have something similar on their property that is a well house to store the well pump that was used before “city water” came through. But theirs is not nearly as decorative as that one with the peaked roof.
What we always did growing up with our baby chickies is set up on of those straight-sided, noninflatable, collapsible kiddie pools (like these: http://www.target.com/p/intex-ocean-reef-snapset-kids-pool/-/A-13286900#prodSlot=medium_1_16)in the basement. You can fold the sides over a bit to make it as small as you need, and the walls are tall enough to where they can’t jump out until they’re old enough to be outside – at which point you then move them outside. Haha. Since you only have six chicks I’m sure that cage is fine, but if you ever decided to get more (we usually got 12-16 at a time) that might be something you’d be interested in.
Also, I noticed that you seem to have some sort of bedding in the bottom of the chicken cage… I was always told that you should only have newspapers in the bottom of a chick enclosure, because if the flooring is too soft then their feet will have be more prone to deformity (since they’re mushing around on soft stuff instead of walking flat on a hard surface). I know you researched all of this, so I really am curious – are chips like what you have okay for chicks?
I am so in love with your life, by the way. I grew up on a farm and now I guess I’m a city girl (which I never ever thought I’d be!) but I’ve always dreamed of buying a huge old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Maybe one day… until then, I’ll live vicariously through you 🙂
I’m definitely not a chicken expert Rachael, but my research said the opposite… that newspapers are okay for the first week, but they don’t have enough grip for chicks that are running around and it can cause injuries and deformities. Actually a lot of people use flakes with paper towels over it at first. I spent a lot of time on the backyard chickens message boards, and large flake pine shavings seem to be the bedding of choice (that’s what I’m using)but there’s only about an inch of bedding over the newspaper, so it packs down and is pretty firm as a walking surface.
I expect raising chickens is like raising anything else… there’s a dozen different ways to do it! This seems to be working for these little nuggets so far though.
Well that is very good to know – I imagine “used” pine shavings are a ton less gross to clean up than goopy “used” newspapers.
Kit ~~ thanks for taking time to post. Your life is a busy one but so many of us enjoy living vicariously through you!
god i hope those are pterodactyls.
Dad used buckshot to get rid of coyotes. He did not kill them…never did anything to them except use it to pepper their hindend with it when he caught them running cattle or getting too close to the house and into the barn and other out buildings.
hi Kit ~ I live with a coyote (long story) and electric netting is 100% coyote proof. I use it to keep my guy IN, but basically, it keeps coyotes on the side you want them to stay. More expensive but super effective (and peace of mind has no price, right?) Kencove and Premier Fencing both have versions.
LOVE your blog!
We use a Sicilian Boro as Coyote repellent on my Parent’s horse farm. The Braying of the boro makes them keep thier distance. A small herd of donkeys will attack predators, as opposed to Horses who run away. So, the Coyotes keep ther distance from Dego the Sicilian Boro.
“because I’m telling you, dude has caught on that if I’m running at him flailing my arms around and shouting”
Didn’t happen unless you post a video…for uhh evidence. I swear if I lived in the same part of the country I would spend my Saturdays in camo watching the shannanigans at your place! Love it! hehe
I see a bunch of people already beat me to the Sandhill Crane identification! We have them around here too and they are pretty prehistoric looking indeed.
Also around here…people use donkeys as coyote control. Most people seem to think that having a donkey around makes the coyotes keep a safe distance. Who knows!
A place to store bodies when the ground is frozen. Either that’s what it is or our grandparents made up the same stories.
Well, I don’t have any tales of coyote discouragement to share, but I have had numerous friends with deer-ate-my-entire-yard problems and from them I’ve heard that airguns loaded with the soft cleaning pellets are great. They have said that airguns are super-accurate (apparently in an entirely different class from BB guns), quiet (so law enforcement doesn’t misinterpret the deer/gun thing as illegal hunting), and sting like hell without breaking skin. Be careful to avoid the eyes, though. Plus, the sheer delight of pinging one off the deer who cleared out all your vegetables, flowers, shrubs, and small trees is sweet.
Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing! Wilderness areas are great places to get DiY ideas especially if you are going for a stone or rustic layout.
As a fellow farm girl with predator problems, I’m going to suggest you shoot it with something a little more potent than a bb gun! Coyotes are the single biggest threat to livestock and have no natural predators! If you live in a farming community, I’m sure you wouldn’t have any trouble finding somebody to take care of this!
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