Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day

Normally, gift buying holidays for the adults in our family get bypassed with nary a thought. We decided long ago, well about the time the price of gas crept past the $2.00 per gallon mark, that we just couldn't justify frivolous expenditures. (Kurt commutes to a different state than the one in which we live for work - a hangover from our hurricane survival days.) But this Mother's Day is different. I actually asked for a very specific gift.

It is a Ruger 10/22. Look at the pretty wood and stainless steel.

Lest you wonder about the location of the pod that houses the real me, let me explain.

For the last 2 years, our beautiful flock of layer chickens has freely roamed our property feasting on bugs and green, growing things. However, a couple of weeks ago a family of foxes moved into the portion of the woods next to our property thinking we were offering them an "all you can eat buffet." We've already lost about 5 chickens. One evening, I spotted a coyote stalking my flock. I ran at him screaming, which scared him away from the chickens and off the property. I have not seen him again. The foxes have been more persistent however.

After researching the hunting habits of foxes, we've started keeping our chickens in the coop until later in the morning. We've been staying outside in the evenings until the chickens have returned to their coop and have been secured inside. The hen coop is secure with lots of wire. Under the dirt floor, Kurt buried hardware cloth so predators could not dig their way inside. However, our second coop, the one that will house turkeys in 2 weeks, is not so secure. The foxes are going to have to go.

The kids and I have been clearing the property line of overgrowth on our side. The old fence is in disrepair. We eventually hope to replace the fence. In the meantime, we are clearing out hiding places so the foxes will have to cross more open land to get to the chickens. And now I am armed.

When I first got my gun, I practiced a bit with it so I could aim true. I had to figure out exactly how to line up the two thingies on the barrel. I told Kurt I didn't want a scope or anything high tech. I just wanted a basic 22.

I figured out how to aim the gun. We found an egg on the porch laid by an errant chicken. Not knowing how old it might be, I decided to use it for target practice. I blew it away.

I think Kurt is suffering from gun envy. Gregory told him my gun was semi-automatic. (Kurt's very nice deer rifle is not.) When we told Kurt I was able to explode an egg from across the yard, he positively started to obsess. Kurt wants to shoot an egg. He is so funny. I don't think he can stand not knowing if he can shoot as accurately as I did. And of course he wants to use my gun to do it.

Meanwhile, back to my normal life, I received a most delightful box in the mail from Cary at Serenity Farms.

It is my very first lamb's fleece. I just love the dark, rich color and cannot wait to wash it and start spinning it. We are going to try to make due without air conditioning this summer in an effort to maintain a budget. I have vivid mental pictures of long, lazy days spinning and knitting on my front porch.

Recently, most of my time has been put into gardening. We are trying to organically raise as much of our own food as possible for better health and to help with the family budget. After 2 years and now 3 of growing marginal fruits and vegetables on impoverished soil, I am trying to take it to the next level. I am learning about high Brix gardening. Kurt and I even sent off a soil sample so we could find out exactly what our soil needs to be healthy and then produce healthier food for our family. I cannot wait to see how this all turns out.


tabitha said...

It is a rare hubby who will buy his wife a rifle for Mother's Day. He must trust you greatly. :-)
Hope you get those pesky foxes. I wish it were only foxes that bother my hens. I have the neighbor's dogs to contend with.

Caroline in NH said...

Gorgeous fleece, and a nice rifle! Good luck getting the foxes. We had (have?) one around here but mostly manage to fence it out if we can get the hens to mostly forage in the pastures.