|Bailey, during her after supper stretch and rest session.|
Bailey, my outdoor cat, has been a daily visitor here for the past month. Before that, she would come and go and I would not see her for days at a time. Unlike Kitty, who lived in the upper barn, Bailey doesn't seem to have any set sleeping place. However, she now shows up like clockwork for supper and is waiting for me in the garden in front of the big barn around 6pm.
Bailey is tiny - either from being young or from malnutrition I am not sure, but she seems healthy otherwise and I do not notice any visible physical problems. She will let me get about 4 or 5 feet from her but I can tell she is curious and that it is just a matter of time before she will let me scratch her behind the ears.
If there is anything left in the bowl after Bailey is finished, I can pretty much count on this little raccoon coming around to gobble up the leftovers.
I am seeing more and more wildlife in the yard this season that I think I have seen since we have been here. I welcome most of them - even the raccoons when they stay away from the chickens feed. Most notably, I have seen more bunnies moving in and we have different varieties of birds also making appearances. The blue birds have nested here for the second year in a row and this was the first year we have also had house wrens nesting in one of the houses. Goldfinches have been appearing for the last two seasons when I have not seen any since we moved here. And I found this house finch pecking in the garden the other day.
With the garden fence up, the peas and other apparent woodchuck favorites are making the best comeback they can. I still do have Ma and Pa woodchuck along with numerous offspring keeping house under the garden shed, and they are letting me know their displeasure with the all you can eat salad buffet cut-off. I used a bucket full of rocks (who doesn't have a bucket full of rocks sitting around?) to fill in one their entrance holes only to find the next day that they had not only cleared that hole but added a new one for good measure.
I'm going to need more rocks.
A few weeks ago we had quite a big wind storm and a few miles up the road one side of a massive maple tree couldn't take the pressure. That entire side turned out to be pretty much sawdust inside and upon seeing these completely hallowed out sections of stump, I could only think one thing: planters!
I stopped and asked the owner if I could take them and we loaded up as many as we could on the trailer. I am letting them sit in the side field for the winter to make sure anything still living in them has vacated the premises and I am going to give them a good dusting of DT earth in the fall just to make sure. They will be part of my new herb/medicinal garden section next spring.
The chicks are chicks no more. Although they are not quite as big as the ladies in the existing flock, I have no doubt that they can hold their own. When I go into their area, the rush me and cautiously circle my feet. As soon as I turn my back, they are right on my heels.
The night before last I hauled out the portable fencing and made them a big outdoor run, using their chicken tractor and the long length of woodpile as additional walls. They now have a large grassy area to roam in all day and they still get locked up in the tractor at night. A netting roof was hastily installed after one of the girls took flight in her new found freedom.
I went out this morning to open the tractor and saw they someone had layed an egg, which all six of them were pecking into oblivion. One night this week they will go to bed in the tractor and wake up in the coop with 11 laying hens.
While on the topic of poultry, we lost one of the flock to what I assume to be natural causes yesterday. I found her nestled under one of the nest boxes with no outward signs of trauma. The rest of the flock is still happily laying waste to my grass. Every time I go out to the run I am reminded of the scene from Independence Day: "If you calculate the time it takes to destroy a city and move on, we're looking at the worldwide destruction of every major city in the next 36 hours."
This fall when the fenced in garden is done, I am going to turn them loose and let them cultivate.