The Farm on Oak Creek

One of these things…

moosieNTurkeysjust doesn’t belong here….  Yes, I still sing songs from Sesame Street, even though my baby will be 36 this year.   And that thing that doesn’t belong is named is MOOSIE!

Now, why does Moosie not belong in this picture?  That egg-eating scoundrel!  He’s plundering the turkey nests for tasty human-hand sized, brown polka-dotted treats.

The eggs are coming in fast and furious right now and, bless their little avian hearts, most of the the girls are laying in and around the new nesting area.  I’ve already got a large clutch in the “official” turkey coop, which is really just a large square shed with roosts set too high.  But when Gene was here last Autumn, he moved two of the cross bars down to thigh-level.  The other day I laid old pallets over the these sturdy bars.  Two of the pallets had almost solid tops while one had fairly substantial gaps in it.  That was no good, not with poop bombs raining down from the roosts overhead.  They’d pass through and shower the sitting mom or moms, since turkeys girls seems to like to share incubation. To prevent that, I stretched the ex’s old plastic pickup bed cover over that pallet.  That makes for a good poop stopper but the area under it is a little darker than they like.  We’ll see.  I keep telling them It’s a really nice area with room for THREE hens.  I’ve seen that before–three girls in one.  Sisters!

eggsInTarpAlong with laying in the roosting coop, the girls are beginning to get serious about the newly created nesting coop.  You can see the front of that area in the Moosie picture.  It’s what used to be the cow stalls.  I even left all the layered, manured straw in place.  Surprisingly, it has the sweet smell of compost rather than that of cow bombs.  So far, that seems to be pretty enticing to soon-to-be moms. Not all of them are using the spaces I created by stacking straw bales.  I have two girls who’ve decided that crinkling tarp is better than sweet straw.  One is using the crease between bales while the other has three eggs in a tarp sling between two bales.  I wonder if it will sag all the way to the ground when she hits the usual 12 to 15 eggs.

I also have some girls going places I hadn’t thought to make off limits, like up into the old hayloft.  That may be because I had a clutch born there last year. I really don’t want to repeat that experience.  It was hair raising going up and down the ladder with food and water.  And then chasing the babies around the platform, trying to catch them and/or keep them from falling over the edges when it was time for them to come down…never again!  Did I mention I’m not that great with heights? So far this girl has only laid one egg.  I think I’ll keep an eye on her and see if that was just a passing thought or if she is really staking a claim.

hairlessBearI have another thing that’s somewhere he doesn’t belong.  But he’s so cold these days!  And a little sunburned too, I think.  That’s right, the big hairy Bear is hairy no longer…fuzzy wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy was he?  (Oh dear, first Sesame Street and now childhood tongue twisters.  It’s definitely one of THOSE days.) So much hair left this time that his collar was too big.  I’ve hung it on the coat rack where it will stay until his fur comes back.  I actually think Bear’s much happier fur-less but he’s not used to getting cold.  He’s been snuggling with Moosie in the dog house at night rather than laying on the cool concrete like he used to do.  This morning when I got up at 3:00 (yes I did–I write on the new book from around 3:00 AM to 7:00 AM then get started on the rest of my day), he was very happy to come inside.  He’s claimed the right-hand chair while Moosie uses the left one.

And now for the last item on my list of things that don’t belong. In this case, it’s things that have been moved to a new spot where they do belong.  Well, sort of.  When we first bought this property the back half of our second lot was buried in wood.  As you can see from this picture it wasn’t just wood, as in a branch or two.  It was massive chunks, huge stumps and deadly widow-makers.  Some of it had arrivewoodPiled via Oak Creek during floods, which bring all sorts of flotsam and jetsam with them.  I’ve been cleaning up odd bits, like shoes, clothing, those little Styrofoam kickboards, bits of canoes, a shed wall, a piece of a refrigerator door, barb wire, chicken wire and who knows what else.  Others were likely trees that had fallen or been cut down, then dragged to that back corner.  Why?  Because there was already 15 tons of wood there. Why not add a bit more?  Well, two days ago I paid a nice man with a really big machine to move that wood.  It’s now on the edge of Oak Creek in a number of separate piles so it can be burned over the course of the summer.  I’ve got some really big bonfires coming up and an amazing new pasture area that’s covered in beautifully composted and rich soil.

Time to buy more pasture seed!  Of course, if I do that I might have to buy sheep to go with it (has anyone ever read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?).  I’m not sure even the 200 or so turkeys I expect to have in another month and a half can eat that much grass and I don’t own a lawn mower. There’s always a catch, isn’t there?

© Denise Domning, 2023