Growing Pains, or Maybe Not

TBN ranch Arena

Living on a farm, even a little one, is messy business in the rain. Tending to animals when it’s muddy is just no fun. As if chickens and horses aren’t smelly enough, add some rain and our farm situated right smack in the middle of an urban residential neighborhood can’t possibly go unnoticed. Which only reminds me of what this could mean, someday.

When we bought our house 10 years ago there were 14 other small ranches within walking distance, now there are 6 including mine.  With the exception of a fifteen acre parcel across the street, the neighborhood is land locked.  We bump right against a light industrial complex that has grown substantially over the years. A few months ago, a large trucking outfit moved in and parks their fleet of 18 wheelers right on the corner. This was the heads up for me that there’s little concern for the few residents of our small community.

Our little rural pocket in the city is without curbs, sidewalks, and street lighting is minimal. We like it that way, but I see changes, and I have a feeling it won’t be long before our rural living is esthetically citified. Construction trucks are only two blocks away putting in city sewers, this is probably just the beginning of what’s to follow.

Right now we live in one of the few areas left in the city where 27 properties still haven’t any restrictions on keeping livestock. Growth in a rural area usually turns out bad for the ranch owner, but I’m not so sure in this particular instance.

In my opinion, the geographics of this small unrestricted community will likely become more valuable as commercial property, and will someday become part of the already existing huge neighboring light industrial complex. Time will tell,  and although I would be sad, maybe, just maybe…  buying this chunk of land will pay off after all. 

Worst scenario, livestock restrictions and stiff city codes could be created as the city grows around us. This will make it difficult or even impossible for ranches to either abide by or afford.  Only time will tell the fate of TBN Ranch, there’s no stopping growth, best to enjoy today and keep an open mind towards the future.

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Four Legged Thieves

Squirrels Have Their Place… Does it Have to be Mine?

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There’s a small orange orchard nearby and the squirrels bring their groceries back to the ranch to enjoy. They carefully stash most of their edible finds under the hay pallets in the feed room.  Unfortunately, their designated place for trash is anywhere.  For whatever reason, it’s apparent the proper place to peel oranges is atop the block wall fence, then fling the peels five feet in every direction.

The grain containers in the hay room are plastic trash cans with lids, and the lottery tickets my squirrels are waiting to cash in on. Unless they’re chewing the lids for artistic value, I reckon their pay day is soon coming.

Rabbits often move into the hay room, mostly to have their babies. But squirrels consider them intruders and quickly evict them. Many times over I’ve seem moms carrying their baby bunnies one by one to a new area.

One of these days I’ll get under those hay pallets, and there’s just no telling what I’ll find. But I have a feeling it’s mostly food grown by neighboring growers.

From Sunrise to Sunset

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.