A couple of days ago, as I was leaving for work, I noticed a coyote creeping around the edge of my property. I handled this in a manner befitting a rational, sane adult– by which I mean I chased after him in flip-flops, waving a five-gallon water container overhead, and yelling like a madwoman at the top of my lungs. This paints a pretty accurate picture of life on the farm these days. I’m just lucky I was wearing pants (this time.)
The farm currently consists of two miniature donkeys, six growing chickens, one girl who is only moderately adept at driving a tractor, and a cat who thinks he’s a dog. Oh, and about a gazillion ticks.
I’m sorry, did you just crawl out of your skin at the though of that? Try finding them in your bed every. single. night. (Drink, Sarah.)
I haven’t slept in weeks.
There’s actually been a ton going on around here, and I haven’t had the mental space to write it all down until now, so here it is, The State of the Farm, June 2013:
Things We’re Glad Are Over
The big to-do on the farm two weeks ago is that we had our first visit from the equine vet.
Ever since my little Dances With Donkeys routine a few weeks ago, Parker has been reluctant to be haltered, and let me just sum the overall vet experience up like this: I spent at least an hour running around in the pasture with a possibly-broken toe, chasing 300 pounds of donkey that was running around the pasture with a vaccine needle still in his neck.
We’re all still recovering from that.
These boys are so worth it, but it’s clear we need to work on being better behaved for “routine donkey maintenance”. I did learn a lot from the vet though: The boys are a good weight, and that in the winter I should be weighing their food and only giving them 1-2% of their body weight in hay. The vet estimated Doc at 15 years old and 250 pounds. Parker is a bit younger, around 10 years, and 300 pounds. They’re older than I thought, but since donkeys live 35-40 years, still pretty young in the scheme of things.
This is the same vet who treated them when they were rescued by the humane society, and she remembered them being very aloof and uninterested in people, so, you know, this surprised her….
I don’t always feel like I’m doing enough, but it’s good to remember they’ve come a long way, and it appears I’m doing some things right.
The next thing we have to survive is a farrier appointment in the coming weeks, and then, god help us, a teeth shaping in fall.
If I ever write a book about living on a farm, that’s what I’m going to call it. “Really, Nugget?” has become kind of a theme in my life over the last few weeks…
They also alternate between harassing the cat and following him around as if he is the chicken messiah.
The cat, for his part, just tries to avoid eye contact.
MacGyver: The Farm Edition
There was yet another mass-breakout on the farm this weekend because someone left the gate open while working on clearing the rubble pile. Ahem. But I’ve finally figured out the best way to get them back into the pasture…
Yes, that is 300 feet of clothesline and air compressor hose tied to my sawhorses, trailer, water spigot, and mower, forming a funnel back into the gate.
Don’t let the innocent faces fool you.
I had to call my good friend Jess over for backup, to help me herd them back in, but there was no dragging involved this time, so that’s progress.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have some pretty freaking awesome neighbors. I mean really, I couldn’t have found better people to live across the street from. They love the donkeys, and since I let them keep some old WWII vehicles in my bigass barn for free, they jump at the chance to lend a hand if I need it.
Since they witnessed me struggling with the pile over the last couple of weekends, they offered the use of their tractor and a couple of strong backs, and in a few hours one week night, we had this…
Right? Look at all those beams!
That’s only about half of them I’ve got, but they were the hardest to get to.
So, overall, I still have no idea what the shit I’m doing or how to manage this property, but my goals going forward are to:
- Start producing: Eggs (I’m looking at you, Nuggets.). Veggies. Maybe some other things I haven’t quite figured out yet. It’s time the farm gave back a bit.
- Get properly “set up”. You know, with fences and watering systems, and haylofts. And maybe a farm-truck or a tractor.
- Put a yearly care and maintenance plan together for the property and animals. Because clearly I can’t keep all of this in my head.
Name That Farm
The very last thing on my list is to finally name my little farm. The house is always going to be The Liberty House, but the farm needs its own moniker. Liberty Farm seems a bit redundant. There are, of course, a lot of “ass” related possibilities (Cute Ass Farm, Smart Ass Farm, Broke Ass Farm, Little Ass Farm), but nothing feels quite right… Got any suggestions?