Predator Losses

It’s been an eventful few days, not from any busyness off the farm but life at home.

First off, my husband came down with a stomach bug strong enough that he actually stayed home from work for a day. He seldom takes sick days, regardless of his symptoms. While he slept, I posted a short on my Farm Animal Life channel. It’s My Bug! can be seen here.

The next day, I posted a video on my Grandma’s Homestead channel showing some modifications I made to accommodate my new meat rabbit, Roger.

On November 2, Kinzie came down with the stomach bug and ended up missing two days of school. So far, I have been spared.

For some silly reason, I decided to start a new podcast. It is audio only and, at this writing, has not been approved on many of the pod-catchers, including i-tunes and google but I check frequently. This podcast is called Books Highlighted. Since I love to read and I also read with a highlighter in my hand, I decided that I’d like this podcast to be of me reading the highlighted portions of the books I have read recently. I realize this podcast is not something many people will get into but I’m excited to do it anyway. I believe you can listen to the first episode here:

“C:\Users\theci\Downloads\Episode 1_ Deception Point by Dan Brown.mp3”

I have been having significant foot problems for for many years but, a few months ago, large knots on the back of my heels were causing me discomfort and my shoes were now too small for me. I even had to quit going to the gym and that was very sad for me as I absolutely love the gym I attended and the ladies in the classes that participated. I just couldn’t wear shoes anymore and limped painfully, even after buying bigger shoes.

While seeing about Kinzie’s knee at the orthopedist a few weeks ago, I asked if they saw patients with Achilles tendon issues and they assured me that they did. I was able to get to an appointment the next day. This was particularly nice since I had an appointment with a podiatrist but couldn’t get in for three months. X rays showed lots of calcification and bone spurs in both feet. Physical therapy was suggested for twelve sessions and I jumped at the chance to repair the damage without drugs or surgery. I was supposed to go twice a week but a $60 co-pay each session was more than I could afford, so I’ve been going for twelve weeks and doing more therapy at home. I knew it would be painful and I was not wrong. My right foot responded to the therapy well. It is not completely healed but at least there was progress. The left foot responded for a few weeks, then proceeded to regress. I was truly disappointed to admit defeat.

Last week, I drove to Tulsa to get the MRI on my left foot and two days later, I returned to the orthopedist to learn the results. The Achilles tendon where it attaches to my heal is torn. There is another tear under and deep in my heel with a third tear down the outside of my foot. It was time to see a surgeon. I’ll get back with you on that after it happens. I am very disappointed and trying to wrap my head around the possible surgery. I understand that the tendon tears are something that was beyond my control with physical therapy, but I also feel as though I have failed: my physical therapist (who has been great), the doctor, my family, and myself.

Regardless, life goes on as usual and I volunteered at the clothing ministry Saturday morning while Tom cleaned out and refreshed the mobile egg unit. Whaaat?!? That was certainly a surprise. I’m grateful, though.

Sunday morning I went out to do the morning chores and was heartbroken to find my blind duck was dead. She was the most resilient animal I knew and I drew strength from watching her. She gets picked on occasionally, so I thought that one of the chickens had been too rough on her. Then I saw another bird under the mobile egg unit. A chicken too? I knew then that I had a predator. When I went to pull the chicken out from under the mobile egg unit, I was surprised to see that it was actually an owl as it silently flew off.

Sunday evening after dark, I went out to make sure that all the birds had gone inside for the night. The two Bresse hens were still outside as I had neglected to train them to go inside the mobile egg unit at dark. I got them put away and then found the Bresse cockerel with his throat ripped out. The sun had not been down long and the owl had already attacked.

The next morning, two more ducks were dead. They do not go into the mobile egg unit at night and had paid the price. To make matters worse, all three of the ducks that had been killed were female. I knew I needed to take some sort of action and tried to come up with a plan. After discussing it with Tom, he suggested that I string up the spare electric net fences in the barn, making a sort of “net” over the pen. I worked for two hours stringing up the fencing in hopes that it would be enough to deter the owl. The set up is ugly and full of gaps but I had to hope for the best. The antics I had to go through to get it rigged up left me sore and exhausted. So far, so good though. There have been no more deaths. The video is being edited so you can see it on the next blog post.

Today, I pulled more garden debris and scythed a little grass for the pigs and the rabbits. The sun has been glorious after those few days of subfreezing temperatures and I am very happy to be outside working while I can. We’ve got one more day of wonderful weather, then it will cool down dramatically again. At least it will stay above freezing for awhile.

That’s all I’ve got this week. See you next time!

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