The Farm on Oak Creek

A Quick Note

Only one chapter left! Well, one chapter–the hardest one, of course–and an epilogue.  But I don’t count epilogues because they’re more postscript than chapter.  I just read through the book again to check for any loose ends that I haven’t pulled through.  As I did I thought of all my knitter friends. Miss a stitch and the whole thing is off. So, because my mind is still stuck in 1211 AD, this is going to be a quick post.

Cinco and I have reached detente. I achieved this with a long, thin, sharp stick. He already respects sticks and this one gives me about two feet of clearance. That keeps him far enough from me that he never quite gets that urge. If you remember, I’ve been putting my little flock on the wild hillside with Bear as their guardian (because Moosie knows how to get out of the fence).  I finally decided I needed a three day rotation, three days on the hillside, then three days down in the pasture. Tiny complains so much about being up there that I worry.  Yes, I was one of those mothers that equated food with love.

They’re down in the pastures today. Not only was there was no complaining but they pretty much stayed in one location and just grazed. That is until I opened the orchard door for the pigs. Then it was a wild scramble to get the pigs on the inside of the orchard gate while keeping out four determined sheep. Speaking as that food-driven mother, I’d let them eat more pig food but it really does make them sick. Just goes to show that humans aren’t the only ones that will follow their taste buds to the determent of their stomachs and general health.

I think the piggy girls miss the sheep when they’re out of reach. A little while ago I found one of my girls snuggled up to Cinco, gently running his ear through her mouth.  The pigs are fascinated with sheep ears. I’ve seen the girls do this with Peanut, who loves it, but never before with Cinco. He didn’t seem too surprised by what she was doing, so I’m guessing that the pigs have been spreading the love throughout the flock for a while.

As for the piggy girls, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks teaching them how to drink from the hose. Why? Because it makes me laugh. Each girl has her own way of doing it. My blue-eyed Yorkshire lookalike extends her bottom lip in a “V”. As the water fills her mouth and spills over, she sips delicately.  One of the black and white Hampshire-looking girls clamps her teeth around hose end. Then, as water gushes out of the back of her jaw as she gulps noisily. And of course there’s always a joker who has to grab the hose and dance around, squirting everyone else.

I’ve gotten pretty fond of my new flock of Brahma chickens. They’re surprisingly friendly and good layers. Maybe it’s me, but they seem kinder than any other breed of chicken I’ve had.  I ended up with one disabled girl.  I don’t know how or when it happened, but she dislocated her hip.  Usually, this would result in the other hens picking on her until they pecked her to death. Instead, she buddied up with a motherly sister-hen, who interacted with her as if they were mother and chick. That resulted in the whole flock accepting her as if she were just like them. And she manages to get around pretty well, considering. She eats well, too. The last time I picked her up she felt just as hefty as the rest of them.

I’ll sum up with one strange twist.  A few weeks back I got a pair of fake ceramic eggs. The idea is to place one of these eggs where you want your hens to lay. Give a dozen hens a dozen nesting boxes and you’ll find all twelve eggs in one box. Hens love to lay where other hens have put their eggs. I suspect the motivation behind this is to get another broody hen to hatch your eggs for you while you live the high life, chasing grasshoppers and green fruit beetles.  I’ve seen three hens stacked one on top of the other, all of them busily depositing eggs.

Anyway, the fake eggs were working great until one day when I went out with my bucket and found one of the ceramic eggs missing. I panicked. Had I picked up that egg and accidentally sold it to someone? I waited but no one contacted me about only getting eleven real eggs in their dozen. But where had that egg gone?

Scratching my head, I went on as usual.  A few days ago, my second fake egg disappeared overnight. Huh. Guess there’s a skunk or raccoon out there somewhere scratching its head over what the heck that thing that looks like an egg really is.

And that’s the news from Farm Woebegone.


© Denise Domning, 2023