Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Country life collection

One night last week Brian came up from the barn rather breathless. When he went down to do chores he surprised a raccoon eating Oreo's food. He said it attacked him, he whacked it with a big stick, and it ran off into the woods on three legs. I instantly got upset, because 1) I left the barn light on, so he would have seen the animal before inadvertently cornering it if he hadn't been his usual teenage space-cadet self; 2) I don't believe the raccoon attacked him so much as reacted in fear of being cornered, and would have left willingly if given opportunity; 3) Brian has a penchant for domination that worries me; and 4) injuring an animal and leaving it to suffer in pain, perhaps eventually succumbing, is inexcusable to me. A family brouhaha ensued, the animal-loving female against the two testosterone-poisoned males, leaving me further emotionally drained (there has been a LOT of family drama lately). Ever since, I've kept my eye open for an injured raccoon, praying that it recovers, leaving out extra cat food as an easy source of nutrition, hoping that it isn't hurt so badly that it needs to be destroyed but knowing that an end to that much suffering is better than a slow death. One day I walked out in the wooded lot to scan the trees, and spotted this at the base of a big Dougfir:

Wondering if it was raccoon poop, I looked up to find– no easy resting spot as far as my eye could see!
So who shat that scat? Did it poop from the heights, or sit at the base? (BTW, Brian thought it saw the same raccoon a few days later and said it was fine; I can only hope he's right.)

I shared this photo on Instagram Monday:
Bogie, one of the last three sheep left to be sheared, was flaunting his VM (vegetable matter). That got him a long-overdue date with the scissors yesterday:
Yearling Bogie has been a shy scaredy-cat since birth. But once I haltered and started working on him, first on the ground and then up on the blocking stand, he was an absolute GEM, quiet and cooperative (I told him repeatedly what a good boy he was). His fleece came off easily, too (probably because I waited so long!), and looks much nicer than I thought it would based on his mid-side sample. I was going to tackle either Bridget or Bernadette this morning, but decided to take a personal day and update my blogs instead (see vague comment about "family drama" and add in a sore neck from stacking hay).

During supper yesterday, what we thought was a female bluebird landed on the deck railing. A bit later, a male bluebird with a fat grub landed – and fed the first one! So exciting to know that bluebirds successfully fledged in one of our boxes for the first time; it's been a delight to watch them around the house this year.

Hay acquisition continues. Last night we stacked two more loads; 108 bales from this producer remains to be picked up and stacked. SO thankful for the dry, cooler weather we've had in which to do this heavy chore!

The intense profusion of spring color has ebbed, but there are still flowers around. My Stella D'Oro daylilies are really coming into their own this year, and the dependable white flags are in full bloom:

While I water and wait for the garden to come into production (and the weeds to recover from Rick's assault and launch a comeback), the fruit trees are doing their thing:

Looks like I'll have a bumper crop of prunes to dry and can this year! Hopefully there are plenty of apples, too, as our applesauce supply is getting low. (The cherries we eat fresh, as the canned ones aren't well loved.)

We're also working at restocking our firewood supply. Rick has access to more wood to cut, but first we needed to move the seasoned wood cut last year into the shed:
It's starting to look like this may be a "snake year." This gopher snake was crossing our driveway Sunday, and didn't take kindly to my efforts to save him from getting smooshed. He coiled and hissed quite aggressively!

This big doe was in the sheep's woodland alleyway this morning, watching me do chores. When I stopped to take her picture, off she went to the neighbor's side! (The iPhone 8 camera is great for close-ups, but I sure miss Mr. Lumix's much better zooming capabilities.)

That's it from our little slice of country at . . .


C-ingspots said...

*sigh* I'm with you about the animals Michelle. What is it about most males and their need for dominance and aggression? Maybe you're right about testosterone. We have a momma skunk living under our garden shed. When she sprayed Charlotte last week, B wanted to shoot her. I protested and told him she was only reacting naturally to Charlotte's running up and scaring her. Now we're just being more watchful about where and when the dogs are out in the backyard. I'm hoping she leaves when her babies are old enough. :)
Lucky you - getting your hay in early and firewood too! I am hoping our hay comes soon before the weather gets hot. And then I can begin the search for firewood. We need at least 3 cords for the winter I'm thinking.

Janis said...

Testosterone-poisoned... I love that description!

Mokihana said...

I love it, too! Testosterone is a good thing in the appropriate places, but war against animals isn't one of them.

You sure have had an adventuresome week, and I hope the raccoon is okay.

Susan said...

Two against one is not fair! Hold your own, sister! It is too bad that the only reaction of the testosterone-drenched is violence. I find it a sign of limited creativity. I hope your raccoon is recovered. What a lovely boy, your Bogie is! And how I envy your fruit trees - I still can taste those amazing, gorgeous prunes!

Amanda said...

I've been nailed by a raccoon, and learned a lot in the process that followed. Raccoons are one of the 3 biggest carries of rabies. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to report the bite and find out if rabies is active in your area; the CDC keeps track of this stuff. If rabies is active, Brian needs to get his shots. I know I'm a bit hyper - I live in an area where rabies is active year-round so we kind of have to be - but rabies is very scary stuff.

Michelle said...

Getting hay when it's been cool is a HUGE blessing, Lorie!

I didn't come up with it, Janis, but it sure is fitting.

Unfortunately, Mokihana, war against animals seems a common theme of the testosterone-poisoned. Most of the trophy hunters are male, posing with their foot on a dead beast as if there was even a contest between gun powder and flesh and bone. I wonder if such males will be happy in heaven, where the lion will lay down with the lamb?

I try, Susan. "Limited creativity" – I love it!

Brian didn't receive a scratch from the raccoon, Amanda, he just THOUGHT it was coming for him. I would definitely be concerned if the raccoon had actually touched him, even though rabies isn't rampant here. When Rick was in vet school he was required to be vaccinated, and when we lived in MN he had to vaccinate a whole herd of Holsteins because one curious cow got bit on the nose by a rabid beaver!

Retired Knitter said...

Wow, all that hay. Looks like a boat-load of heavy work! But it is nice to see it all neatly in place. A job you can admire once you are done! Ha!!

Michelle said...

RK, the bales DO seem heavier this year! Or are we jut getting older? The strapping teenager hasn't helped at all because of past-due schoolwork....

Claire MW said...

Oh dear, the raccoon situation is difficult indeed. I hope it's recovered and maybe it will steer clear of the barn in future, although I don't think they are very good at learning those kinds of things! I loved the pictures of your fruit trees. I purchased 2 dwarf cherry shrubs that are good for my zone last week. Haven't blogged about them yet.