Fall is here! Mornings on the homestead now necessitate a hat and sweatshirt. The first tree in the yard has turned.
Most fall days are spent preparing for the coming cold but since Sunday is a day of rest; I will. It is good to reflect on what we have done and all there is still left to do.
These stacks have allowed Frederick the chance to taunt Isis and gain the high ground, simultaneously.
I’m not really sure what he is trying to do but I don’t think he knows either, so it’s a wash.
I am going to need to get him, The Freeloaders and Mc Duck into the Rubbermaid shed for the winter. This poses a couple problems. First, is getting them to stay caught.
I have put the freeloading pullets (the redheads) in with the other hens countless times. They just jump the fence (ala Spaz) and rejoin Mc Duck roaming the yard. Where he glares at me from the bushes.
The problem is that they will not survive outside, once the snow falls. The chickens are easy to catch but hard to keep. I am more worried about catching Frederick. Even though he was hatched and raised by hand, guineas are just not good at being handled. Most of the time the closest I can get to him is when we are playing ring-around the cars.
He is very wary…
He likes to stay near the house, just never within arms length. Not that I can blame him.
If I DO manage to get all four of them cooped up, I will have to watch the rooster and the guinea to make sure they don’t start fighting. I have seen them do it before but they seem to have established a recent truce. Honestly, from what I saw; Mc Duck probably realized that Frederick doesn’t fight like a respectable rooster and he (the chicken) would get his butt kicked in a proper cock-fight.
The next wrinkle in the containment of the feral fowl is that we have moved the sheep enclosure to share a fence with the dog run and the Rubbermaid shed.
It means that the we can see the pen from the house (important for those cold days when even looking outside requires a jacket) also there are multiple options for winter housing. In addition, the sheep have a proper gate.
They are not pleased.
The new enclosure is much harder to breakout of. They have resorted to trying to untie the cord that holds the gate closed.
This was only after attempts to breakout of the greenhouse window, failed.
I’m a little nervous about the sheep and Isis having a common fence.
I’m not worried about them hurting each other, I’m concerned about a coordinated breakout attempt.
They assure me that they have no such plans.
I have caught them many times running back and forth with each other the length of the yard and for that reason alone I think it is nice to have them there for their first winter.
The ducks are also on track for their first winter, across the yard- in the outhouse coop.
They are all so fricken big! The boys have gotten their green heads and curly tail feathers.
The final count is in- three boys and five girls. They all have that beautiful iridescent wing spot.
It is so interesting how different the fowl are. Ducks are not like chickens.
The animals on the property all have their own relationships and relationship issues. Having them all living together is always a balancing act.
For instance; the above picture would be bad if I had chicken feed down, since it is very harmful to sheep. The sheep LOVE to push their way into the shed when I am trying to wrangle the feral fowl.
I think the old adage “good fences make good neighbors,” is one of the reasons we have so many. Like that riddle about getting the cabbage, the goat and the wolf across the river when there is a breakdown in the system there are consequences. Not quite Jurassic Park level carnage but that depends on the day and your perspective.
To the bean tent:
Five minutes of unchecked sheep interaction might feel a lot like getting attacked by raptors.
It looks like it anyway.
See what I mean?
I think that is one of the defining characteristic of a homestead. It’s a rewarding challenge to weave this little web always keeping in mind that tension on one strand is felt by the whole.
Like all webs, it will breakdown when not maintained. Each strand is fragile and there is always something that needs fixing or rethinking. As the years spiral out everything must adapt, grow and change together. Ideally; each season connects to the next, making the network stronger.
We are all in this together.
This Sunday morning was a nice remainder of how beautiful the creation looks when you have a second to step back and see it as a whole. The chill in the air hinted that there is more work to do. Tomorrow will be soon enough.
Be well and stay warm!