Aug

02
2011

Why so quiet?

Marissa     General         2    

Wow, this blog is being neglected.  Loads of stuff happening around the farm.  Time for a general update!

Mom got back from the Seed Savers Exchange conference 2 weeks ago.  She is brimming with ideas and we are eager to implement some.  She has promised a blog post about the happenings soon!

We had ramped up to hosting 8 WWOOFers at a time on the farm.  WWOOFers are Willing Workers On Organic Farms.  They come from all over the world to work your land.  In return, they get room, board and an education on farm life.  In general, it’s a very positive and rewarding experience.  However, any endeavor that depends heavily on human nature is bound to have some tragic failures.  We recently lost 4 WWOOFers in one day.  The community aspect of living and working in a group like this doesn’t always go smoothly and unfortunately, the breakdown of a comfortable living situation caused the loss of so many.  We are back on track though with better rules and some more oversight so hopefully we will learn a lesson from this hardship!

And then the rats.  I know, what’s so bad about a couple of rats on a farm?  Lots is bad.  Because it’s not a couple of rats.  We are infested.  It started with lazy grain storage.  We hadn’t had a problem in the past so we weren’t overly protective of our animal feed.  But they found it and they came.  It took a huge effort to secure all the food sources from them.  We had multiple containers chewed through before we found the right ones.  But we can’t prevent the rats access to water.  We have open water troughs for all our animals, so there is an abundance of water on the property when there is literally none in the rest of the land around us.  So the rats came for the food and stayed for the water.  And then discovered the garden.  So now they have another abundant food source.  To date, 49 cantaloupes have succumbed to those incisors.  Countless pounds of black eyed peas have disappeared overnight.  And a myriad of other random fruits and vegetables have been found nibbled in the morning.  The fight was on and we decided to fight dirty.  We found the rat poison that would do the least damage to any other animals and set it out a few days ago.  Sure enough, some of the poison was nibbled on and there was a funny smell from under the harvest house.  So we upped the effort seeing that it was effective.  Now the whole farm smells like success.  It’s horrible.  Each morning we gather up the dead bodies and dispose of them.  But many more are dead in their hidey holes in our buildings.  Life is fun on a farm.  Good thing I’m at the office this week!  :)

The cows have been back the last two days.  Yesterday we worked on fencing across the bottom of the creek bed that they are coming in on.  In the past, this had a clever gate that stayed closed when the creek flow was low but lifted and let the water through when it flooded.  But we had a massive flood last year that tore it off completely.  And now that everything is so miserably dry, the creek is empty the cows are using it as a highway.  Hopefully we’ve kept them out for good!

The goat kids are starting to wean.  We are most likely going to sell all the doelings this year.  It’s hard to see the cuties go, but we already have enough milkers!

I promise some more updates and pictures soon!

 


2 comments

  • shaleza said:

    Aug 02, 2011 11:11 am

    what about getting a terrier or two? Ours were great at killing anything smaller than themselves. Of course, you could convince those farm cats to earn their living a little. ;-)

    • Marissa replied:

      Aug 02, 2011 11:15 am

      Actually, the cats have been working overtime on the rat problem! But when you have so many…

      I do think they will keep the population down once we get it to normal levels. We are over feeding the cats the next few weeks to keep them from eating their kills. But the poison is supposed to be metabolized very quickly and won’t harm animals that eat the bodies. Hopefully that’s true as the new dog Sophie has already munched a few! :(