Farm Fatuity

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a Swiss farm, and live entirely surrounded by cows – and china.”~ Charles Dickens

From the memories that are still fresh in my brain, the past week of that split second decision to leave town and head out to be on a farm for a while has given this city boy a lot of think and ponder about.

Unfortunately for Charles Dickens, this farm didn’t have any cows. And I don’t recall seeing any china either, so I think that he would have been disappointed.

But you take the city boy away from all the sounds of emergency vehicle sirens, the incessant clammering of people and things and put him into a place that can only be described as nothing but pure wilderness, and he becomes lost.

Everybody has heard of “BFE”. Well, the farm that I was on, if you compared it geographically with BFE, you’d be able to find BFE a lot faster than you would this farm. And yet I can still sit here and reflect on some pretty amusing experiences that I have never had before, and probably would have never had at all, if I had not gone to that farm.

Six full days and nights away from city lights, traffic, and the busy noises of metropolitan USA. Where it takes you more than an hour to drive on bumpy, dirt roads just to find a town or a city limit.

The house used to be an old church or mission. But the property is looking more and more like a farm or maybe a ranch. Because I AM a city guy, I do not know the differences between those two terms, so I couldn’t say for sure.

One of the most unusual things that I found in the house was that the windows were totally unprotected. No curtains or anything to cover them. Honestly, if it was an issue of privacy, there was plenty of it already. The “neighbors” were not that close to one another. So any kind of light fixtures that were there or other natural nocturnal light just poured in. Difficult to sleep in, I thought.

And yet I think the occupants of the house were still trying to get used to the country life. It was not the stereotypical method of “We eat what we grow!” kind of situation. There was always someone willing to take the long trip into town to find a local grocery store to obtain food.

So it wasn’t totally DOWN ON THE FARM kind of visit. No banjos, no red barns, and no incestuous redneck cousin relations.

Yet I entered into a house that already had four people in it. All of them hadn’t been around one another for very long and was still trying to get used to one another and adapt to one another’s lifestyles. But they all were there to help feed the farm animals and make sure that things were fine.

I didn’t do a lot. I was an invited guest. I did not volunteer my time to assist with the farm chores. But I was there for socialization and good conversation (whenever there was any.)

Several horses and donkeys. A few pot-bellied pigs. And a ton of dogs. Some inside, most of them outside. Many dachshunds, Bassett hounds, and beagles. Every once in a while some deer would be spotted by the dogs outside and they would alert everyone to anything that moved in the fields. I mean ANYTHING!

Deer, other dogs, mountain lions too. I spotted a mountain lion one night while on the phone with one of my best friends out on the front porch. So that was thrilling.

But I also was able see different creatures and animals up close, like that mountain lion, that I would never be able to see short of visiting a zoo. And for those of you who are keeping score: I LOVE ZOOS!! But for now, I digress on that topic.

One of the strangest things that I got to see, were armadillos. Prior to that, my one and only experience was when I was traveling just south of Amarillo, Texas with my younger brother and he mistakenly ran one over that was sitting in the middle of the highway. We went UP, and then we came DOWN. Chances are though it was already roadkill by the time we drove over it.

But this was the first time that I had seen one alive and in motion. Just doing its thing. Naturally, with the dogs being the proverbial alarm system, we could see them out in the distance.

I didn’t know and still don’t know much about armadillos. I knew that they were not a threat in terms of whether or not they were “poisonous”. But they do have very sharp and long claws for digging. So I guess the biggest danger to mankind was either a bite or a scratch.

Unfortunately for these creatures, they were destroying crops and plants. The occupants of the farm decided to get rid of them. But just how do you dispose of an armadillo? They have that leathery shell all around them. These guys decided to use a .22 rifle and also a .38 Special. Clearly one of them being the bigger of the booms.

In an eight-hour time span, they got three armadillos. And added the fourth within a 24 hour span. I had witnessed one display of overkill as the body of the armadillo was just searching for a nerve to attach to. I actually was offered to give what they were calling “the death-blow” to one armadillo with the .38 , but I had declined it. I don’t have a lot of experiences with firearms. I think the last time I pulled any kind of trigger on anything was when I was 14 years old on a shotgun.

But it was not the only thing that I would be able to see up close. One night, actually the last night that I was there, a copperhead was found. It was a baby copperhead though. A neighbor stated that since it was a baby snake, that most likely more snakes were around.

The copperhead that I saw, had been knocked out by a rock. Most of the people in the house thought it was dead. Until I grabbed a hold of it and it began to slither just a little. Then I dropped it to the ground and someone else took care of removing its head.

I never got bit though. Neither was I scratched or mauled by any wild animal or other reptiles.

Had I not gone out there to that farm for a week, I would have never been able to see any of these things. Each time someone came inside yelling in victory over an armadillo, the first reaction I always had been me screaming, “I WANNA SEE IT!!”. Sounding like some inquisitive five-year old.

They were all probably laughing at me behind my back. But that’s okay.

For the most part, it was entertaining out there. Certainly wasn’t as boring and dull as it was the first time that I was there. And even then, that was only a weekend. This was twice the time on the farm.

 

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