Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Usually we have limited our offerings to working cattle and occasionally responsible living. There are other things going on out here. As I am sure you have picked up, we have a relaxed relationship with lots of other animals.  For example, the local flock of turkeys knows that I feed the oxen and that they will get the scraps. OK, so I do throw them an occasional handful of grain from time to time. They have not been hunted here for two decades. So they have no fear of me and are willing to come very close to steal a bite to eat.

The deer come to our salt blocks and eat out of our hay feeders. Since they intermingle with the oxen, and the oxen act like we are safe, they think we are safe. Another example, I had a doe give birth an hundred feet from me the spring before last.  Deer almost walk up to us. I’ve posted this before, but Maria thinks it is because we are vegetarians we do not smell like predators. Certainly the local bird population thinks we are the source of food.  I have to brush birds off the feeders to fill them.  We just got a laugh out of a determined Titmouse that continued to feed at the tray of the feeder while I was filling it. They are pretty sure we are safe. Our barns are home to two Rat Snakes, both have no fear of us at all. So this is a strange little chunk of the country. I am going to post more about this in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Gerry, I live in a "hole in the woods" on my 120 acres in central Arkansas, and the wild life, deer, fox, turkey, and bear come into my yard in spite of the "guard" Shitzu dog that lives outside and yaps at them. The neighbor's great pyreness comes over as well and we are part of his kingdom...my tame turkeys call up the wild ones, and my flock of feral chickens keep the ticks at bay and come running when I feed my Scots Highland heifers I am breaking out for my living history demos so I can take a milch cow as well as a draft animal.

    We are carnivores so I guess we must be known as prey animals, but it doesn't seem to upset the wild life at all and the occasional bear comes into the back yard as well. The only hunting we do is coon specific because they raid my garden but I think the yapping dog helps keep them away now.

    The working cattle have been unique in this part of the country, 15 years ago there were only 5 of us that had working cattle and I am the only one left and I'm getting pretty long in the tooth, but one of my sons like working cattle so maybe this yoke of heifers will go on for many years yet.

    When I was a kid (born in 1946) there were still the odd yoke of steers working here on the subsistence farms before the folks could finally afford mules. I live on the farm my family settled on in 1833 so I am familiar with all the old stories from my grandparents and great grandparents about how people lived and farmed. I rode on the backs of my grandfather's work mules (with the harness loosened) on the way back from the fields. The country is changing around here though, and some for the good and some I think not so good. People don't "neighbor" like they used to because of having jobs in town. But people know the "ox lady" all over the state of Arkansas and my cattle may be the last chance many of the kids at the schools and parks we go to ever get to see working cattle.