Totally forgot to share this story. A couple of weeks ago, we were just dozing off to sleep when one of the dogs started barking like crazy. This wasn’t “a leaf is blowing across the yard – OMG” kind of bark (we have a lot of that). This was a “Mama, this is serious, get your butt out here” kind of bark. So I hoisted my tired bones out of bed and found the flash light. It took me a few minutes, but I finally discovered a baby possum, cornered against a fence by the dogs.
As you may remember, we had a possum, a very big possum, some time ago, hole up in the duck pen. This was unacceptable, and that possum met with a .22 bullet. Based on the examination of the teeth, we figure he was an old old possum who figured he had found the good life in retirement by eating chicken feed every evening. I felt bad about that. Possums will eat eggs, and sometimes kill critters, so there wasn’t much of an option. But possums are also really interesting critters. They are North America’s only marsupial (animal who raises its young in a pouch), carry their babies around with them for months, have poor eyesight but great noses, have 50 sharp little teeth and a tail that they use like an extra hand.
So, I scooped this little possum, fierce and hissing, up with some old sheets I had lying around for gardening purposes, and put him into an old dog carrier for the night. He (she?) was still alive in the morning, so we put him in a coffee can, and carried him down to the creek that’s about 1/4 mile behind our house. We let him go in a big old willow tree, and he scampered up the trunk so fast I couldn’t even get a good picture before he was out of sight. And I told him, “Here’s the deal. This is your one and only reprieve. Come back into the chicken yard, and you’re toast. Understand?”
I DO wonder where the rest of the family is. Hopefully they were just passing through, and this little guy just fell off the Mama band wagon and got lost!
In other news, Gracie-mae, the Slate turkey, has finally finally started to nest. We happened to find the first egg she laid, in a nest in one of the iris beds in the yard. So we had been watching it every day. She laid a total of 10 eggs, and finally decided to sit on the 28th. Which means, should she be successful, that she will have baby turkeys on June 25th or so. The automatic lawn sprinklers hit that spot three times a week. But, hey, it rains in nature, right? So, we’ll see what happens. But after her many failed attempts in the last 2 months, I’m just happy she’s finally got a nest.
The last turkey baby that Peggy-sue was raising managed to drown himself. Damn. He got into the stock tank and then swam UNDER the ladder I had put in there. Damn. So Peggy is once again chickless, and I’m hoping she doesn’t try for another nest. I’m about done with the springtime baby fest. And I’ve still got about 30 chickens that are going to hatch around the 5th. Enough already.
And she can’t nest where she did before, because there is a duck on 10 eggs in that spot now. I did sell 5 of the other turkey babies, and we still have 3 left. They are all doing fine, and are SO ready to get out of the stock tank brooder, but I just don’t have a good place to put them right now, where they won’t throw themselves into the stock tank and drown.
We’ll likely butcher Charlie and Gracie this fall, and keep Peggy and a few little ones to overwinter. Having the Slate was more of an accident than anything, and we’d like to continue with the pure Bourbon Reds, so will sell or eat the crosses (which thankfully are easy to ID).
The clematis, the white Siberian iris, the peony and the roses are all starting to bloom. Early June is kind of the last hurrah for our yard in terms of color. Then pretty much nothing for the rest of the year. We’re trying to rectify that with some mums and other late summer/fall bloomers.
Oh, and this is happening! I planted 150 strawberry plants last spring. Some didn’t make it, but most are doing very well. Strawberry rhubarb treats, here we come!
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2013, where the garden is starting to rock, most of the warm season vegetables are up, the days are warm, the nights are cool, and I have zucchini bread made with last year’s zucchini in the oven right now. Live is GOOD.