Grateful for the Rain

Although I have a few less members for my first season than I had hoped and needed in order to hire help, I am enjoying the fact that I can actually skip using the tractor for a lot of the planting and just crawl along the rows on my hands and knees and plant my kale, broccoli, onions, cabbage, squash, beans, celery…(the list goes on…) by hand. Yes it takes much longer, and is much more taxing than with two people riding on the transplanter. But it is also enjoyably quiet and peaceful.

Today we rushed and with Kate driving the tractor and myself on the transplanter, we got in several rows of potatoes and sweet corn before lunch, and then, just in time before the storm hit, got the summer sqash in the ground. The first raindrops fell as we put the tractor in the shed and the tools tucked away. And then it poured. Thank heavens. Because the poor fresh transplants that went in the ground over the past two days looked pretty pathetic sticking out of the hot, dry soil.

With a lot more rain expected the next couple of days, I am quite grateful for the break from kneeling on the dry hard soil, shopping, relaxing and regrouping, and turning my focus to the hoophouses. 

Spring has arrived

The weather continues to get warmer, birds are singing and building their nests, and our greenhouse is filling up fast as we plant our carefully selected seeds and watch as tray after tray sports happily sprouting seedlings. 

Hoophouses are prepared for planting carrots, beets and green beans in a few days… A new deer fence is going up around the garden, and we are getting ready to fire up the tractors and spread that compost,  

Yep, spring is in full swing and things here on the farm will keep moving swiftly from here on out.

Barn Cats

Rural areas have plenty of them. In fact, many farms have large colonies of 30 or 40 or more… Barn cats. Feral cats, mostly. Some fairly friendly and curious.

Every farm I have visited is feeding their cats and cares about them greatly. But because it is costly, farmers just cannot keep up with their vaccinations or, most importantly, getting them all spayed and neutered. 

Sadly, any healthy and happy barn cat population can be decimated in a blink of an eye by only one visit of a passing stray tom that brings in diseases such as feline rhinotracheitis (upper respiratory or pulminary infection), FIV, or feline leukemia which are easily spread by sharing water and food sources. Once infected, treatment, if at all possible, is costly and difficult. The only way to eliminate the virus from the farm is to put down every last cat.

Recently a neighbor’s barn cats have started sneezing and getting runny eyes. A sure sign of rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus. I am trying to help catch the sickest so they can get antibiotic shots, and giving L-Lysine in treats and liquid form to build their immune systems and recover.

I am also researching possible forms of antibiotics or other treatments that can be administered in food to reach all the kitties.

Having been involved in animal rescue for a good 20 years in Los Angeles, I feel quite strongly about caring for all animals, even those who are not snuggly and friendly, or in farmer’s terms, useful. They do rely on us.

Together with a friend, and hopefully the support of our local vets, I am working on creating a program to fund and host annual spay/neuter and vaccine clinics, and to make medications and treatment for sick barn cats available and affordable.

Wish us luck, I will keep you all posted on our progress. If you have ideas, connections, or time and energy to help us with this project, please contact me! All support is appreciated.

Purrs!

Eagle Update

​We just got word from the Raptor Center that the eagle is suffering from high lead toxicity and some eye trauma, and is now undergoing treatment.

Apparently, one of the main reasons for raptors entering the raptor center’s programs is lead poisoning, starting with hunting season each fall. 

The ammunition used by hunters are lead pellets. Eagles ingest them when feasting on the remains of turkeys or deer left behind by hunters.

Unfortunately, one of four eagles brought into the rescue center that same week as the one we helped rescue has died from advanced effects like internal bleeding and organ failure caused by severe lead poisoning.

For the three remaining, it’s around-the-clock injections and feeding liquid food. Vitamin K is administered to slow down internal bleeding if possible.

If the three survivors are lucky, they will join other recovering eagles in the fly zone in a few months. A release back into the wild is at least a year away.


Please consider making a donation to help pay for THIS raptor’s care.

You can donate online at  http://www.theraptorcenter.org or call the raptor center at 612-624-8457 

The Raptor Center is located at 1920 Fitch Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108 and the phone number is 612-624-4745

Rehabilitation Costs for each Eagle:

$60   One month: food for one eagle

$80   Radiograph for newly admitted raptor

$100 Initial admission exam

$500 Medical care and food for 2 weeks  

Stranded Bald Eagle Rescued

Earlier this morning Kate called to ask if I wanted to go on a little adventure to help rescue a bald eagle that had been stranded in a field for a couple of days.

We stalked through the ankle-deep snow to investigate and take some pics for the raptor center in Minneapolis to evaluate the situation. Upon receiving the pucs and learning that we wete able to get within 6 feet of the bird without it flying iff, they immediately sent a volunteer to meet us and pick up the large bird.

We were prepared for a bit of a chase, but the volunteer calmly and slowly approached the eagle and in just minutes the volunteer had the magnificent creature in his arms, massive feet and huge talons secured and wings tucked safely under the body.

Despite obvious signs of weakness and fatigue, the eagle was a beautiful sight to behold. Hopefully, with being in a safe warm place to rest and getting some much needed food and water, it will make a full recovery.

Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Thanks ro Sara Grace for the photos.

Winter

It is snowing. I love watching the big flakes swirl and dance in the air and like a glittery powder cover the puffy pine trees and line the bare branches of the giant oaks around the house. It is beautiful for sure. And sitting by a warm fire, sipping hot tea, gazing out the window, I can say I love winter. But it is also harboring a sense of isolation as the below zero temperatures stifle my sense of adventure and activity… 

I started helping out at a neighbor’s horse ranch and there are a couple of unsocialized stud colts I want to work with. But as the only space available is the outdoor round pen, my enthusiasm to spend time with the colts takes the back seat to my desire to stay warm and comfy and dry indoors.

I am longing for milder temperaturs and brighter sunlight to lift my spirits, and for the energy to rise up and take on the world. Luckily the forecast for next week promises milder weather. 

Water

I remember years ago, I was living in Los Angeles at the time, wondering why we had to pay for water and why it cost so much. And reading reports about how dirty our tap water actually is… Bacteria, fecal particles, skin and other bio matter and all kinds of icky stuff that was found in the water we so readily drink straight from the tap. And that is served to us in restaurants, hotels and eateries everywhere.

Considering the source of our water in LA, as in most other metro areas, are reservoirs of used water, recycled over and over… Water that ran through sinks and bath tubs and car washes and toilets, ran down sewers and eaves and dirty sidewalks … Recycled and returned to us.

Oh the money we spend on water filters and bottled mountain spring water to reassure us that we drink clean, healthy water. Sucking on our water bottles 24/7 believing that we need to replenish our bodies continuously… While in reality we are feeding our bodies the very dirt, germs and bacteria we so desperately try to protect ourselves from with all the soaps and foams and sprays we can find.

Out here in the country, things are simpler for sure. First of all, getting dirty is a promise, and nobody bothers with antibacterial soaps. We embrace nature and our bodies naturally adjust, as they are designed to. Our water comes straight from an underground vein through a sand point well. Off and on we stop at a natural spring in the woods to fill up water bottles for drinking. The water there is so clean and fresh, and now with temperatures below zero, ice cold, even the best commercial copy writer could not capture the taste in words.

And best of all: it’s free. Cheers!

Wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year

May all your dreams and wishes be fulfilled and your resolutions successful.

My resolution is simply to love and appreciate myself and everyone and everything around me a little more today than yesterday, and a little more tomorrow than today… And to live life full of wonder and joy.

Brightest blessings.

Dig a little deeper to have more fun and don’t be afraid to let it show 🙂

Home Alone for the Holidays

Christmas eve. I am sitting here in an empty house… Just my animals and I. No fancy dinner with lots of people. No laughter, excited voices, clinking glasses, christmas carols and no blinking lights and tinseled christmas tree… No embarrassing family stories, no presents, no regrets.

It may seem sad, to have none of the typical definitions we so readily attribute to the holidays. And yet, all the commercially created festivity aside, in the stillness I am content and I remember the true origin of Christmas. 

The birth of Jesus. He had no fancy dinner and no festive christmas decorations. Born in a simple barn with only the animals and his parents sharing a moment of quiet celebration and appreciation. 

To me there is no place more perfect to celebrate Christmas and the true gift of love and life and the power of truth within me than the quiet of a manger surrounded only by animals and the presence of spirit. What a blessing to be living on a farm, here and now, and to enjoy a time of solitude and reflection in this still and peaceful winter landscape.