This week, instead of some stories about goings on at the farm I thought I might give you several pictures. Pictures of things that have stuck in my mind this week.
The first one I saw on the way out to the mountains to get apples. It was in the front yard of an old country house, the type known as a saltbox, but it might as well have been one of those three story townhouses on Swann Street in DC. You know, with the little ten by ten front yards.
Or it could be one of those new upscale housing projects out in Haymarket, or Gainesville or Leesburg, Virginia.
It could be right next door.
Imagine your next door neighbor sitting out on her front lawn. She’s surrounded by her pets.
Two kittens running around in circles chasing a butterfly.
Her dog, a golden lab, by her side. She’s scratching him behind his ear.
And behind her, she’s leaning up against her other pet. Is a three hundred pound hog.
A three hundred pound pot bellied pig. Huge, dark and obviously enjoying nestling with its human.
Then there was the picture I saw last week. I was picking bell peppers in front of the house when I looked up. And there, running around and around and around in circles. Each one a little smaller than the last is a goose. A goose being chased by our peacock. (to appreciate this you have to know our peacock. He only thinks about one thing and it isn’t just peafowl that excites him so).
Anyway, my first thought is: The fence is down around the goose pasture. The geese are loose.
However this goose, a beautiful, well cared for, large, brown, Chinese goose, seeing me, came running over and eagerly, allowed, really, wanted me to pick her up.
In other words, she wasn’t one of my semi-wild weeder geese. This was someone’s pet.
Had she wandered from her home? Maybe one of those new McEstates up on the ridge. Or maybe someone had grown tired of her and drove down our road and like an unwanted kitten, dropped her off at a farm, our farm.
I picked her up and gently petting her, carried her up the hill and put her inside the protective electric fence where our pack of wild weed eaters eat the weeds growing up in our asparagus patch.
And, I have several more pictures, including the fox that attempted to eat the large, brown Chinese, pet goose.
Saturday morning I walk up the hill to check on the geese. Particularly, the new addition. The Pet.
As I approached I saw something was wrong.
The fence was down and caught in the wire was a fox.
A large red fox.
It had apparently attempted to sneak through the electrified netting.
Only it didn’t make it. Instead of turning around after experiencing the first sharp shock, it kept on (after all, a predator is rumored to be able to suffer a little pain). It ignored the first shock and probably the next, no doubt determined on having a fine goose dinner.
As it struggled, though, it got itself more and more caught up in the netting, every few seconds getting another and then another strong shock.
When I found him, there it was.
A dead fox. caught in the electric netting.
On the other side of the ruined fencing were the dozen geese. Splashing in their bathtub as though there wasn’t a threat in the world. As though the fox had never intended to make one of them a meal.
Sitting on the wire that goes over the mountain and across the field is a gaggle (right term?) of bluebirds. A dozen song birds chattering and jostling for place. They must be getting to migrate south for the winter. Suddenly they drop down into the tangle of weeds around the sorrel, no doubt to collect a meal of mealy bugs and various caterpillars.
(as I look out my window right now, while I’m writing, there are two couples, sitting on the ten foot post holding the bluebird house where, this spring, several chicks were raised. One of the birds suddenly drops down and lands on the birdhouse roof and then jumps in the opening and disappears inside. Is this a bird visiting its home. The place of its birth back in the spring or is it, rather, one that raised her children inside? Sitting for weeks on eggs and then, when they hatched into demanding children, flying back and forth between gathering insects in the fields and forest and the nest box with its chirping children After visiting for a minute or two the couples dash off across the field and disappear.
One of our two peahen is peaking around the corner of the house. She hasn’t been seen in over a month. I thought she might have had an unfortunate encounter with a fox, or maybe one of those coyotes that have so recently moved into the valley. But no, there she is, peering out of the bushes and then, deciding all is well, strutting out across the walk, closely following by two little chicks. Baby peafowl, born, (hatched, I guess is more proper) no doubt, somewhere off in the woods in the past couple days. I guess that explains her absence.