The Farm on Oak Creek

Nothing ever changes here

You can probably guess what that means. Yep. The book’s not done and the cow is still pregnant. Okay, I’ll admit that we’re both WAY closer to producing something. I’m thrilled that I have finally resolved who the murderer is. Boy, was I fooled!

I put off writing this post for as long as I could in the hope that June might just produce that calf so I had something to write about. She completely disappointed me…again. So what else is new? However, it is now clear that she will deliver by the full moon, which is Wednesday. But that’s too late for this week’s post and it left me scrambling. I settled for a general update.

The piggy girls are officially large. The sweetest one–the one who always flops down on her side for belly rubs–let me wrap her in a tape measure. I was surprised that she came in at 200 pounds. It’s their short legs that make them look smaller than they are. If they’re 200 pounds now, they’ll likely be leaving the farm around the end of November.

My seven-year-old Tom is beginning to look his age. I noticed the other day that he either can’t or won’t open his eyes all the way any more. That makes me wonder if he might be going blind. He’s also taken to napping at midday out in the middle of the field if it’s sunny. The only thing that really gets him moving is Bear, who likes to run right through the flock just because he can. At least I know Tom’s heart is healthy. He raced all the way across the middle pastures, chasing Bear the other day. Not that the dog noticed.

Speaking of the dogs, my porch smells like dead things once again. At least Moosie left the skunk somewhere else this time. He’s tangled with another raccoon recently–I can tell by the scabs on his nose–but this one got away. How do I know? Because Moosie keeps walking up and down the ditch looking for it. When he didn’t find it on my property, he swam under the bridge that marks the boundary between the farm and my neighbor’s property. Luckily, I saw him go and called him back. I gave him quite the talking-to. Moosie doesn’t wear a collar. He can’t, because Bear considers his collar a handle and carries him by it (half-strangling him). Although he’s micro-chipped, if he escapes the farm, he’s likely to end up in the pound or worse, tangle with something he shouldn’t, like a Javelina.

It looks like I’ll spend the winter without chickens and eggs. As much as I like the disposition of these Brahmas, they simply don’t lay after the Equinox. And for some reason, they’re also moulting, something chickens don’t usually do this late in the year. While they’re moulting, they don’t lay. Right now, I’m lucky to get one egg a day. That has sealed their fate. I see 20 chickens in my freezer around the same time as the pigs leave. Next year, I’ll buy Buckeyes to replace them. Now those were work-chickens. The Buckeye breed was developed by a woman from Ohio, hence “Buckeye.”  They are a good-sized brown bird and tolerate both hot and freezing temperatures, and are pretty much trouble-free, or at least they were for me over the three years that I had them. I’m planning to raise my chicks in my new chicken tractor/house, but only if I can figure out a June-proof door. I’m thinking metal conduit this time for the frame.

Thunderheads rising over House Mountain

That pretty pink-and-green spider I wrote about is a Lynx spider. She’s proved to be a very attentive mother. After I looked at her once too often, she moved her egg sack from the beebalm to a parsley plant in the same garden. The sack is looking pretty dingy after all the rain. Having learned that the Lynx spider is a mighty hunter, I’m hoping Mama stays were she is. I could use some help on pest patrol in that garden.

Once again, clouds are gathering and rain threatens. I can’t complain, not when all my fruit trees are so happy and I have cute little frogs living in all the puddles. However, I am sick of wearing my muck boots. The leaves began to turn in earnest this week, which makes the sheep happy. They hoover them up, eating them as if they were potato chips. They’ve also spent a lot of time on the hillside eating the yet-green elderberry leaves. That’s a little strange because they refuse to touch those leaves any other time of the year. Autumn must cause some chemical change in the foliage. Or maybe the sheep are bolstering their immune system for the winter with elderberry’s healthy properties. Now that my little girls are seven month old, I’m thinking of buying four or five little ram lambs. That would not only provide meat, but I could let one grow up to make more babies when the time is right. For the record, I won’t keep another ram. I’m done being head-butted.

And there you go. That’s the full farm update. Like I said, nothing ever changes around here until it does.




© Denise Domning, 2023