Monday, July 13, 2009

good morning from cold antler

This morning feels different. I know it's July but had you told me it was an early September morning, I would've believed you. It was cold enough last night that I lit the fireplace and this morning as I zipped up my blue hoodie to feed FInn and the sheep, it felt like I should come into a house with pumpkin bread in the over. Or maybe I'm just projecting? I can't wait for fall.

By the way, my pumpkins are looking amazing! This year may be the bumper crop I've been working for since Idaho.

Yesterday's trials were great. I stayed till the end and spent most of the day scribing again. Got to talking a lot with the judge who gave me the name of a young couple around Troy who have a big operation and working dogs. He said I should see them, make friends, and see if they'll show me around their farm. They also run dogs in the club. It's a start, whoever they are. A field trip may be in order soon.

No fox yet. I've been hunting without luck, but I know he's still around. I put up a baited Havahart trap and the little jerk dug a tunnel below it to eat the bait from below without going into the cage.... I am dealing with a clever predator.

I took off today, as you well know. I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee so strong it would scare my coworkers. The sheep were extra thrilled to be let out into their pasture on a weekday morning. I even gave them a little extra hay to celebrate the stolen time from the office. (Sal seems to enjoy it, as you can see from that photo.) Soon I'll be getting Finn ready for a short hike and then running off to do some farm errands. I have three new laying hens to pick up to replace from the fox losses and Finn needs some shots at the livestock vet. You know, in case any of you nice people wanted a systematic breakdown of my day.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy late birthday and I hope you have a splendid Monday. Yours will certainly be more pleasant than mine; I'm stuck in an office in Tallahassee, FL. 20 years later, I'm not sure how the heck I ended up here--I started out in upstate NY near Lake Placid. Someday perhaps I'll find my way back home and do as you are.

Maggie in Tallahassee

July 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a Monday!

July 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to hear what your plans are for the day, or to hear what you have done at the end of a day. It feels like "talking" to a friend. I hope you have a great day off. I know what you mean about the weather, too - as I sat and listened to a string band yesterday afternoon, the sun was hot, but I had on a sweatshirt, and it felt like September. Where, oh where, is REAL summer this year? Enjoy your day with Finn, and your farm errands. I hope you come home tonight satisfied with the way you spent your time!

Coffeedog

July 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger sara amber said...

jenna, i spent four hours this morning playing irish and scottish fiddle music. in other words, i'm taking the BEST GRAD CLASS EVER.

July 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM  
Anonymous LittleIslandGreen said...

Hi Jenna! I work with a bunch of biologists at a conservation organization where they regularly have to trap foxes for scientific monitoring. They have taken me out trapping with them (great learning experience!) and here are a few of the tricks the pros use:

Pick a nice quiet spot (not out in the open) close to what will attract the foxes. Take a can of cat food, open the top, pierce the bottom or side of the can and then zip tie it towards the back of the cage to the bottom of the cage (so the fox has to walk all the way in and trigger the trap, away from the cage walls. Put a dollop of berry jam in with the cat food for good measure. Take some grass and brush and place it over and around the trap leaving the opening exposed. Eight times out of ten we have a fox in there by morning.

I know this guy has killed you beloved hens and believe me as a chicken keeper I understand this pain. But please, please, please trap it then drive it out somewhere far away from your and your neighbor's farms so it can live out it's days. Foxes play an important role in our ecosystem and our wildlife numbers are dwindling alarmingly.

Keep up the great work, your writing is a delight!

Cheers,

-Kristen

July 13, 2009 at 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking to myself, "hmm, I wonder what Jenna's up to today..."

Karen

July 13, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you are willing (read stupid enough) to pack and ship a live fox to some remote place like Alaska... If you release a fox that has gotten a taste for domestic stock, you will simply be passing your problem along to somebody else.
And how responsible would that be? Of course, out of sight, is out of mind.
It might be nice to be able to tell your like minded friends that you took care of the problem... and nobody even had to die.
How nice, in a Disney film sort of way.
But not how nature really works.
No offense to the ever well meaning people out there, but a predator that takes domestic animals has to be put down.
They will always revert to killing domestic over wild game when given a choice as it is simply easier for them.
So sad, but too bad, it just is what it is.
On a side note, I wonder if your problem fox was caught killing chickens in a neighboring county, and released in your area by a well meaning disney fan?
See how that works Kristen...

July 13, 2009 at 9:55 PM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Sadly, Anonymous has a point about transferring your predator problem to someone else. Domestic animals are an easy meal. Remember the forest rangers' warnings not to feed the bears - that they will forgo their normal, natural diet for what you brought to your campsite?
What comes through in your blogging is how life really is when you want to control your destiny. It's not always easy, or pretty, but it's honest, hard work.
Best wishes!

July 13, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
OpenID beentsy said...

Super smart fox!

Love the breakdown of your day!

July 13, 2009 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger J. McIntyre said...

Breakdowns of the day make the best blogging! :D

July 14, 2009 at 1:40 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I haven't caught the fox, with the .22 or trap, and the birds are still locked in their pen unless I am outside with them weeding with a rifle propped on the garden fence...

so far no more chickens have been lost, but i don't plan on returning the birds to their free-range lifestyle till i end him.

it's funny, because a few years ago i would feel the same exact way kristen does (by the way kristen, i appreciate and am considering your idea) but unless i am willing to drive it to maine's 100 jile wilderness... i'd be dumping the fox in another farmer's land. Passing on a problem. Now that i care and raise livestock my feelings about such animals have evolved to a more practical stance. I don't want to take a life, i don't enjoy it, but i can't keep feeding the foxes here either.

July 14, 2009 at 6:40 AM  

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