Sunday, June 27, 2010

PPEM, Cricket and the Calves and Tragedy

PPEM. What, exactly, does that stand for, you think? Look deep into the yellow colander below. It's a really big colander. It's full of snow and sugar snap peas. Peas picked that very morning. PPEM stands for 'Pick Peas Every Morning'. From here, into the big bag in the freezer they will go, to await the next stir fry. I'm hoping to have enough to last me this year, unlike last year, where I ate so many before they even made it into the house, there just weren't many left to freeze. No, I'm not disciplining myself better this year. I planted more peas.

A cool, clear, PNW summer morning, full of freshly picked strawberries and snow peas for breakfast. Nothing like it.




Somehow, I've lost my touch with staging pix. That's what happens when I go away for a week and don't do this. Cricket isn't supposed to be doing this, but you just cannot tell this little girl what not to do with cows. She knows way better than I do, but I also know that one of those calves doesn't even belong to me (Peanut), but is just here visiting with his mom, who is visiting Roar

This was pretty hysterical in real life - Dawn the oh so brave little heifer calf peeks around Peanut, the visiting steer calf, at Cricket, who is eyeing them both with intent


So here's the tragedy part of the title. The very night I left, and for the first time since we've been here (4 years), we lost livestock to a predator. Everyone around us loses chickens on a regular basis except us. And we do nothing special. Dale built a magnificent chicken tractor/coop that is very secure, except we were so lulled into a false sense of security, we didn't bother locking them in it at night. Ever. A few nights before I left, we had an incident involving my face, the coop, and the south end of a northbound skunk that was pretty hysterical (after the fact). We went out to investigate banging noises coming from the barn late one night, Dale armed with the .44 mag with the laser sight. The noise was coming from the unlocked coop, so I carefully dropped the side down to investigate, only to come face to tail with a skunk calmly (thank GOD) eating eggs. No harm, no foul odour on that one, but after that, I started locking down the coop at night. During the summer, however, three of the five Gangsta Girls prefer to sleep on the odd bales lying around outside the coop. And that led to the demise of Dinner, one of the Australorp Gangsta Girls. Cows, they could handle. The bull - no problemo. Barn cat? Puh -LEEZ! But, a raccoon the size of Ho Dog - nope, that was one that won the day, or rather, night. Dale found what was left of her by the stocktank in the maternity pasture, and bless his heart, he didn't go to his usual Friday night poker game to build a safe, secure chicken yard for the remaining Gangsta Girls. And like it or not (and thus far, not), they get locked up every night now. Marsha, Don's daughter, caught the b*****d on her trail cam she set up after losing all her hens over a few nights, and said that was the biggest 'coon she's ever seen. We set up some traps for him, but 'coon are hard to catch. They're too smart to fall for the obvious stuff. However, should our paths cross, the 'coon and I, there will be a reckoning. It will not be pretty. As the movie title says, there will be blood

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