Stories from the Farm - Farm Life

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Raccoon Condo

For those of you who have expressed a concern over the well-being of our neighbor and resident Procyon lotor named Ralph, he seems to be well and may I say somewhat relieved that warm weather is finally here. After collectively deciding that neither our animal barn nor our hay barn was the best home for a raccoon, the ever resourceful Ralph has found what we all feel makes a great permanent abode for one tired old raccoon. 

We have this half-dead buckeye in front of our farm house that has this great big knot hole about three feet off the ground. As Ralph is either not fond of heights or simply not keen on climbing, he has taken to this hollow tree. So each day, as Loretta, Emmylou, and I are headed off to the field to work, we pass this old buckeye and we see, sound asleep in his bed, old Ralph, dreaming raccoon dreams.

They've Fledged! Happy Independence Day!

The two baby robins we assisted by building them a makeshift shelter, survived and have left the nest. Over the course of a week we watched the little ones turn from naked, closed-eye hatchlings with pin feathers into wide-eyed baby birds. The last sighting was of one of the young birds tucked into some nearby overgrown grass, waiting for the afternoon feeding from Mom. By now, they've learned to fly and have joined the other Turdus Migratorius that call our farm home.

Go forth and eat bugs little birds! We have plenty.

Baby Robins

After the previous night's 4 inches of rain and high winds, Sunday morning we found a nest on the ground that had fallen and disintegrated. One of the baby robins was dead but two were still breathing, albeit soaked and on the muddy ground with bugs. So I built an ad hoc nest using a cardboard box and some hay, nailed it to a dead tree near where they fell, gently placed the babies in this new nest, and stayed away. This morning while doing barn chores we watched as their mother was making runs to the little cardboard box and feeding the two siblings. They aren't out of the woods yet, the new nest is a bit bedraggled from the latest round of rain, but their eyes are now open and they have downy feathers started. So keep your fingers crossed!

-brian

Bray Grove Farm Stories

www.BrayGroveFarm.com

<p><b>Our Neighbor Ralph</b></p><p>Let me introduce you to Ralph. I don’t know for a fact that his
name really is Ralph, but I have called him such on numerous occasions and
he has yet to correct me. Perhaps he is simply being polite but, for
the sake of brevity, I’ll assume his name is Ralph and continue.</p><p>Ralph is a raccoon. A great big, rather tired looking, old
raccoon. He made his first appearance on our farm about two months ago
during one of the nasty cold spells that has come to identify the
winter of 2015. I first saw him curled up sound asleep in a wheelbarrow in
our barn, with remnants of old straw that I left there the night previous
because it was too cold to wheel it all the way to the manure pile.</p><p>Knowing a barn is no place for a wild raccoon, I tried to stir
Ralph but he’d have none of that. Like a somnolent housecat curled up in
the sun, he gave me this look that I could only interpret as mild
annoyance, then put his paw over his eyes, rolled over, and promptly went
to sleep. Since it would seem that, to a wild animal, humans are the
ultimate foe and should flee us if they know what’s good for them (even
though I’d never harm any animal, it’s best wild creatures assume all
humans are bad for their own safety), his lackadaisical
demeanor seemed to mean one thing. He was too tired to move, and he was
dying.</p><p>For a while we let Ralph rest comfortably, suspecting his
end was near. But knowing raccoons carry a variety of diseases and
thinking that it might not be wise to have our animals exposed to
him, I reluctantly got a shovel and nudged him to the door. It took
several tries, but between my apologies, which I have no reason to
assume he understood, and my gentle yet firm persistence, Ralph found his
way to the stable door and waddled his way across the paddock to our stand
of trees. I watched as he slowly yet methodically climbed a Norway
spruce and disappeared into the upper branches.</p><p>Over the next few days I was expecting to find a dead
raccoon under the trees, having finally succumbed to the inexorable
decline of old age. But no raccoon was to be found. For a while
there, I didn’t give it much thought until one night coming in from chores
with the wind blowing wicked drifts, I watched as a big,
old, lumbering raccoon trundled his way across the driveway and along
the front of our farm house looking for food. It was Ralph.</p><p>What made me think of this story is, in part triggered by
the fact that when I went out to the hay barn this morning to gather a
bale for Loretta, Emmylou, and Cowboy, who should I find asleep on a
stack of hay but Ralph. I’ll leave the story about how Joanne and I spent
forty minutes trying to herd an old raccoon out of a barn for another
day. Suffice it to say, by this point we’ve come to assume that Ralph
isn’t quite on death’s door. He’s just an old raccoon, perhaps a
little tired, looking for a home.</p><p>-brian</p>

Our Neighbor Ralph

Let me introduce you to Ralph. I don’t know for a fact that his name really is Ralph, but I have called him such on numerous occasions and he has yet to correct me. Perhaps he is simply being polite but, for the sake of brevity, I’ll assume his name is Ralph and continue.

Ralph is a raccoon. A great big, rather tired looking, old raccoon. He made his first appearance on our farm about two months ago during one of the nasty cold spells that has come to identify the winter of 2015. I first saw him curled up sound asleep in a wheelbarrow in our barn, with remnants of old straw that I left there the night previous because it was too cold to wheel it all the way to the manure pile.

Knowing a barn is no place for a wild raccoon, I tried to stir Ralph but he’d have none of that. Like a somnolent housecat curled up in the sun, he gave me this look that I could only interpret as mild annoyance, then put his paw over his eyes, rolled over, and promptly went to sleep. Since it would seem that, to a wild animal, humans are the ultimate foe and should flee us if they know what’s good for them (even though I’d never harm any animal, it’s best wild creatures assume all humans are bad for their own safety), his lackadaisical demeanor seemed to mean one thing. He was too tired to move, and he was dying.

For a while we let Ralph rest comfortably, suspecting his end was near. But knowing raccoons carry a variety of diseases and thinking that it might not be wise to have our animals exposed to him, I reluctantly got a shovel and nudged him to the door. It took several tries, but between my apologies, which I have no reason to assume he understood, and my gentle yet firm persistence, Ralph found his way to the stable door and waddled his way across the paddock to our stand of trees. I watched as he slowly yet methodically climbed a Norway spruce and disappeared into the upper branches.

Over the next few days I was expecting to find a dead raccoon under the trees, having finally succumbed to the inexorable decline of old age. But no raccoon was to be found. For a while there, I didn’t give it much thought until one night coming in from chores with the wind blowing wicked drifts, I watched as a big, old, lumbering raccoon trundled his way across the driveway and along the front of our farm house looking for food. It was Ralph.

What made me think of this story is, in part triggered by the fact that when I went out to the hay barn this morning to gather a bale for Loretta, Emmylou, and Cowboy, who should I find asleep on a stack of hay but Ralph. I’ll leave the story about how Joanne and I spent forty minutes trying to herd an old raccoon out of a barn for another day. Suffice it to say, by this point we’ve come to assume that Ralph isn’t quite on death’s door. He’s just an old raccoon, perhaps a little tired, looking for a home.

-brian

Posted 162 weeks ago
<p><b>A Milestone for Cowboy</b></p><p>Fate brought us together. When we found Bray Grove Farm, we also found Cowboy. One of our goals for the farm always was to care for farm animals in need. At first sight, we loved this old lonely Appaloosa horse. At his advanced age, with cancer, and with no future home, he was destined for an early burial. After regular vet and farrier visits, healthy feedings of fresh hay, grains, and clean water, and the company of Loretta and Emmylou, Cowboy has flourished. </p><p>He can be a bully with “his” herd at times, yet he can be a real charmer, making sure the girls are always in his sight. Despite Loretta having a good 600 lbs on him, Cowboy still succeeds in fending her off from taking his feed and he can still bolt off into a full gallop.</p><p>Happy 30th Cowboy - looking forward to many more!</p><p>-joanne</p>

A Milestone for Cowboy

Fate brought us together. When we found Bray Grove Farm, we also found Cowboy. One of our goals for the farm always was to care for farm animals in need. At first sight, we loved this old lonely Appaloosa horse. At his advanced age, with cancer, and with no future home, he was destined for an early burial. After regular vet and farrier visits, healthy feedings of fresh hay, grains, and clean water, and the company of Loretta and Emmylou, Cowboy has flourished.

He can be a bully with “his” herd at times, yet he can be a real charmer, making sure the girls are always in his sight. Despite Loretta having a good 600 lbs on him, Cowboy still succeeds in fending her off from taking his feed and he can still bolt off into a full gallop.

Happy 30th Cowboy - looking forward to many more!

-joanne

Posted 163 weeks ago