Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
No Happy Campers
Saturday morning was 'interesting' around here. Usually on Saturday mornings, I sleep in a little bit later. Sleeping in would have been nice, as there was some vandalism/theft that occured around midnight, so I was up trying to watch my end of 'town' (very small town!). We have several empty houses/old businesses around and there is a certain element that think this is their own personal playground. Anyway, I digress....lets just say I didn't get a good nights sleep. Then, somewhere in the wee early hours of Saturday the house was flooded with the odor of skunk. Enough to wake me up. I didn't hear any yips or yaps, so I didn't investigate outside. We have alot of skunks about, so them randomly spraying isn't an unusual event at night. So back to Saturday morning, 7:30 a.m. I'm laying there trying to sleep in (despite being a trampoline for a certain kitten), and I hear rasp...squeak...screech..... Unfortunately I know that sound pretty well--it's Redford, the ram pushing and testing the cattle panels trying to get out. So I jump out of bed, throw on a coat and shoes and go outside. Redford has already escaped the girls pen and is in the 'no ram's land' pen, working on getting out of it so he can get in with the ewes and ewe lambs I don't want bred. This time he had hit the panel enough to curve it and get some leverage to use his horns to lift it up high enough to scoot under. I turned the extra girls out to pasture so they would not even be within his sight and then fixed the pen, rewired everything tightly and went back into the house to get the dogs feed ready so I could do chores properly. Oh, and I'll just mention that as I came out of the house and started towards Boone's pen the smell of skunk became very overwhelming.......Further investigation revealed that he had been sprayed---luckily it seemed to have hit him 'broadside' instead of head on, as his eyes and face seemed to be smell free. He was hysterically wound up though. Evidently too much excitement for the big guy!
I was in the house for maybe 15 minutes before I came back out to finish chores. Redford was again out where he shouldn't be, so again, I moved him to another area, again fixed the fence, but this time I had a third plan of attack....a ram shield. These are handy little things that I don't normally need to use, but they are great to use when re-introducing rams or when you are trying to save your fences! They are basically a piece of leather that covers the eyes, with nylon straps that fasten like a halter. The ram can still see out the sides but not straight on, so in theory he can't do the aggressive head ramming they are famous for. Of course they don't like it, but they seem to adjust after a bit of trying to rub it off. Redford is very small so I ended up having to take it off and tighten the straps. He is such a sucker for a scratch under the chin or a cookie that he is easy to catch, which helps alot.
I also had a sick chicken which I had to medicate and isolate, which took some extra time (the whole time Boone is still hysterically leaping and barking in his pen--he gets out to run after I get chores done).
Much later I finally got back to the house for some coffee and breakfast, but even there things were not quiet and peaceful. Sage had had a 'litterbox problem' where amounts of gooey 'stuff' were still attached to his posterior. He managed to make quite a mess on the floors before I realized there was a problem. Then into the bathroom sink he went for a scrub---which he didn't take calmly. (I later realized that it probably HURT, since I was scrubbing in the area of his surgery--he has recouperated so quickly that I forgot it was only a few days before!).
Saturday evening was one of our Volunteer Fire Department's Fund raiser suppers (I'm secretary), so I planned to work quite a bit out in the yard in the morning and early afternoon, before heading over there. I had plans to mow the yard, and a couple little paddocks for the last time, weedeat the iris down as well as some general yard work like cleaning up the flower beds. I uncovered the rider mower, checked the gas level (empty), added the last of the gas, hopped on and attempted to start it. It just turned over and over and didn't catch....then the battery started going down. I jumped off the mower in frustration and that is when I noticed the gas line was fast leaking out the last of the gas. So, I think, I'll just use the weedeater to clean things up. It acted like it would start, so I added more gas mixture, fired her up and actually got it to running. It ran long enough for me to walk to the yard and then died and refused to start. Last chance...pushmower (which I had struggled to get started all summer). I drag it out into the yard, and of course it wouldn't start. I took all three machines, piled them all up together and covered them with a tarp.......its lucky I didn't have matches with me!
I ended up doing quite a bit of yardwork, I cleaned out the birdbath and turned it upside down for the winter, cut a huge 'crop' of volunteer millet plants---I 'shocked' them along the fence for the birds to self feed themselves for awhile, cleaned flower gardens, trimmed some lilacs and other trees, and burnt a small pile of leaves. Stinky Boone was running around playing all this time, unaware that he was next on my list. I gathered up shampoo, warm water, two big cans of tomato juice and his leash. He didn't much like the whole process of soap, soak, rinse, and then the tomato juice staying on for 15 minutes (although he kinda liked the taste of it!). He still smells skunky in the areas of the direct hit, but he is bearable to be around.
That evening I sprinkled cayennne pepper around the gates hoping the skunk would smell that and not linger......
All in all it turned out to be a good day, but there for awhile, I really wondered if I shouldn't just go back to bed and cover my head up!