We have two new boarders on our little farm… and this time it’s not horses! They’ve traveled all the way from Florida and will stay here until their family finds a house.
Aren’t they cute?
After planting a billion sunflower seeds the last surviving seedling has been devoured by rabbits. I have a rabbit problem here, they live and breed everywhere, in the hay room, under the feed shed, even the chicken coops. This morning a new litter of tiny bunnies were found under one of the chicken shelters.
I’m beginning to realize what I can plant and what’s a big waste of time. Cactus are never bothered, so I thought maybe all thorny vegetation would survive and planted a beautiful pink rose bush. Well yesterday morning it was nothing more than a near naked bald stick in the ground. Off to the shed I went and got four stakes and some chicken wire in hopes of saving it.
I hate chicken wire, handling this jagged and unruly material is like volunteering to bleed to death. By the time this unscheduled chore was complete the temperature was 95 degrees, my arms were half shredded and I was toast.
And another thing, why are wire cutters always substandard? I now have four pair, even the expensive ones work hardly better than if I chewed the wire off with my teeth. Ibuprofen should be shrink wrapped to this inadequate time consuming tendonitis causing tool. So all this drama for one little rose bush. Maybe I’m overlooking the obvious… perhaps my forte is raising rabbits, not gardens.
Last night in total darkness I stumbled upon a coyote standing six feet from my chicken coop. I’ve seen her before pacing the fence line knowing just on the other side is enough food to feed her and her pups. The acreage across the road is a common stomping ground where coyotes raise their young. When the pups reach about four months old, the mother moves them to the desert mountain range behind our ranch.
Their food source is rabbits, and believe me, there is an endless supply. Every morning I see ten to fifteen on my property alone. My chickens don’t bother them, so my ranch has become a safe haven breeding ground for cotton tail bunnies. I find babies in my hay pile, compost pile, and under the feed shed all the time.
Apparently my coyote neighbors have grown tired of rabbits and have fresh chicken on the mind… mine. The six foot block wall around my property isn’t going to keep them out either. My ladies are in danger, and not just one, all of them in that particular hen house. Coyotes are not likely to just pick off one chicken and leave, they’re greedy and capable of wiping out an entire flock in minutes.
These particular hens at risk are from a previous flock and housed in a separate chain link enclosure with an elevated hen house inside. Only shade cloth covers the top, so they are the only ladies I’m worried about. The rest of my hens are safe from predators in another area.
I hung an LED light at the coyotes eye level right on the front of the coop where my at risk hens nest at night. I’ve read that coyotes avoid light, so needless to say, last night my entire property was lit up like a Christmas tree. This morning…. I was very pleased to find every single hen was accounted for.
Looks like I have a new project, out with the shade cloth roof and in with the chicken wire. Always something…
Every Day Is Precious
It’s barely dawn and the barn is shining like a brand new penny, there’s fresh water in the troughs, the hay room is raked clean, and everybody’s nose is buried deep in their morning hay. As I walk back to the house I can’t help but glance back and visually embrace my many blessings.
Beyond the corral gate, the dew is glistening like jewels on yesterday’s fresh cut grass. It’s fragrance still lingering in the morning air. The path to the chicken yard is filled with cotton tail bunnies feasting on the crisp cool greens. I sipped my coffee and waited for their mad dash to the tack shed. The not so secret haven where they raise all their babies.
I quietly sneaked up on my early risin’ ladies, just to make sure the bossy hens weren’t stirrin’ up a feud. But this morning it was peaceful, and I was entertained watching the hens tend to their morning agenda. Some were happily scratching through the fresh straw that filled their coop. Others were preparing the ground for a dust bath. All the rest were fluffing their feathers in a single ray of insignificant sunshine.
I looked at my watch and was shocked at the time, it was a work day, and now I was running late.
How could I have wasted so much time?
The answer was simple. Today was the day I took the time to appreciate the special things in my life. Shame on me for wasting so much time taking them all for granted.
We already have a donkey, now here are the other ‘long ears’ that make TBN Ranch their home.
I’m not sure why the ranch has so many bunnies, these are two of maybe fifty or more. They have their babies under my hay stack in the feed room when it’s cooler, and under the tack shed when it’s hot. They spend the day under my huge ocitillo in the front yard that offers shade and at dusk come to graze on the grass in the back yard. I have dogs that chase them and a near disaster occurs daily, but they continue to flirt with death day in and day out. I don’t feed them but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t put water out for them. Especially now that 112 degrees seems to be an everyday torture here in Phoenix. It is rather concerning that they are probably carrying hitchhikers, I can’t treat bunnies for fleas but my dogs are on a 30 day flea control product all year round. Thank you very much guys for that expense, oh well, they’re cute aren’t they?