Carolina wren update!

Not only did the wrens survive, but I was lucky enough to witness the fledging of the 3 little wrens week ago Monday! What an amazing adventure life is. I hear the adult male frequently every day when I am here. I had to be away for a whole week (sigh), but have been back now for 3 days. Yesterday I saw the little wren clan; just flashes of that rich cinnamon color whizzing by from  forsythia bush to pear tree!. I think I saw all 5 of them, definitely 4 anyway… Does the whole family hang out together? for how long?Is it just the mother and young ones or do both parents continue to be involved? We actually know so little about bird behavior.

I have reclaimed the porch, and the little flower garden right off it. There are now herbs and tomatoes and some broccoli planted in with the ivy and the waning hyacinths and daffodils. The late blooming Korean lilac guards the little plot and perfumes the air with its intoxicating scent, ahhh…

One of the four eggs in the wren’s nest did not make it. What happened to it? Did a blue jay or some other critter get it? As mentioned earlier I learned that even chipmunks are omnivorous and will occasionally eat bird’s eggs or even nestlings! We do have plenty of chipmunks around. Or was the egg inviable and disposed of by the parents. Can a wren dispose of its own egg?  The mysteries of bird life abound!

 

Shock & Awe

Monday morning David and I arrived at the farm just in time to witness the end of a life and death struggle. A hawk emerged from our porch with a bird in its talons. David caught a flash of blue and the hawk flew low, as if heavily leaden, so we surmised that it was a blue jay. Even though I am an omnivore, I find it unsettling to witness death. Then I began to worry since the Carolina wrens’ nest is also on the porch. We wondered what the jay had been doing?  Or was it actually one of the wrens that had been taken? Was the jay after the nest? Blue jays are members of the corvid  family, along with crows, those notorious egg steelers and nestling gobblers! The mother wren did not seem to be in the nest. I got increasingly concerned and so took a closer look. The eggs were gone! My heart sank.

But something made me look again, more closely this time, and I noticed the tiniest nestling I had ever seen. But where were the egg shells?! Oh! I forgot; birds are actually pretty smart. They take the shells of the hatched nestlings far away, as a safety measure. I looked again and saw that there were two nestlings. The second was bigger and was definitely alive. But there had been 4 eggs! I was convinced that the blue jay had found the nest and eaten 2 of the nestlings. I was afraid that the nest had been abandoned. Even though we feared the worst, we used the side door and avoided the porch for a few hours to encourage the wrens to come back. Although we heard the male singing over and over as if nothing had changed, we did not see any evidence of wrens frantically feeding their new nestlings.

A knot remained in my stomach throughout the day, although the work of transplanting corn seedlings and onion sets was thoroughly engaging. However, when I wasn’t engaged my mind wanted to find the cause of this little tragedy. Oh, I knew it was just “nature taking its course” but how could I fix it, or keep it from happening again, if I didn’t find the “cause”? Of course it turned out to be human intervention- me in particular. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been feeding the birds! As silly as this sounds there may be a tiny sliver of truth in it- unintended consequences, but that will have to be for another post…

The only upside to all of this was that we could use that part of the porch again and I could start using the little plot of garden right in front of the porch where the nest is located. Fortunately, I wouldn’t be back until Wednesday to take action on that… When I arrived this morning, sure that there were two dead nestlings that I would need to dispose of, sooner rather than later, I was shocked to see a little beaked mouth opening and closing when I peered in the nest! I am in awe of this little being, so much sturdier than I thought possible. Is there more than one? Will this little one make it into adulthood?

All I know is that life is fragile and fraught with danger, AND the will to live is strong!p1060785

Unpacking Race

My middle daughter and I took the Unpacking Race Workshop put on by Philly Theater of the Oppressed during the month of March. She had done it before and spoken highly of it. I wanted a different angle on racism; TO (Theater of the Oppressed) uses theater games, many of them wordless and involving body movement. It was tough in some ways; 40 seemed too big to me. About 2/3 white and 1/3 People of Color, nine of us Quaker. At 64, I was the oldest person there! Most were in the 25-35 age range. The first 4 sessions were a bit disappointing, with occasional bright spots. The 5th and final one was, great, which helped me see how the parts that didn’t seem so great may have led to the success of the final session. I am especially grateful to the People of Color who attended, their intelligence, their caring and their honesty made a difference. A big shout out to Nolwazi for reminding us that white people are only 10% of the world’s population. (I’m not sure why, but I find that reassuring!)

I learned/experienced new things, but also stuff that I already knew became more solidly a part of my understanding.  A deeper knowing that white supremacy and its system of overt and covert racism and white privilege is a social construct with the sole purpose (from its beginnings in Virginia in the early 1700’s) being to maintain the status quo, which was  that all the power was held by a few wealthily, land-owning men of English extraction AND to ensure the continuation of the flow of wealth towards those at the top, by creating divisions among those without power and to keep them from, together, creating their power.

This next part feels a bit risky to say-mostly because it can be taken the wrong way (and , of course, I mean it only in the right way!)  I also have come to think that there is no such thing as ‘the white race’, nor white culture. I am not white, I am American of European descent, and I have benefitted from the system of white supremacy and white privilege, as have all people of European descent. Our history has been obscured. The poor, often indentured servants of European descent and the enslaved people brought from Africa, back in the colony of Virginia, had begun to find common cause; there were uprisings and rebellions. In response, the men in power came up with a plan to divide the poor people, in order to retain their wealth and power. Essentially the plan was convincing those of European descent that they were different (better than) the enslaved Africans and offering them (a few) rights and privileges in exchange for keeping the enslaved Africans in place at the bottom. This continues today, but is obscured by the layers of history and culture which seem to confirm the differences and hide the bargain and the privileges.

I have come to the conclusion that I will not longer call myself white, but neither will I deny that I have benefitted from white privilege. I will use the terms of European descent, European American, or maybe Caucasian. I do sincerely hope this is not playing into the hands of those promoting white supremacy and privilege!

The experience of Unpacking Race has given me a greater respect for my parents, who essentially made an attempt to live, work and raise their children in an antiracist manner (way back in the 1950’s & 60’s).  Although I believe, they did not fully understand the enormity of the task, I applaud  their sincerity and belief that all people are created equal; that there is “that of G!d in EVERYONE”.  They left behind, middle class job security and the suburbs for low paying social service work and an intentionally integrated housing coop in the “inner city”. I am grateful for their efforts and for the positive things that this created, and I no longer blame them for the negative things, because there is always a price to pay for resistance and rebellion, even nonviolent rebellion.

I now also see that while those of us of European descent have benefitted materially from the bargain white supremacy offers, we have paid most dearly for it.  It was truly a devil’s bargain, though it was not our souls we lost, but our hearts! (Well maybe our hearts and our souls!) At the very least it damaged our ability to love anyone fully, even ourselves, when we agreed to oppress others for personal gain (or for any reason). But when did we do that (?!) you may ask. Let me be clear, no child of European descent can be blamed for an already functioning system of oppression/privilege. Every one of us had to be coerced and sometimes beaten into conformity in some way; ostracized, threatened with exclusion, if not literally beaten. However, as adults we have consciously or (mostly) unconsciously  agreed to go along with the way things are, rather than resist or rebel against it- that is accepting the bargain! The system that we exist in is unfair, cold hearted, punitive (even if it is “better” than other countries/systems) and down right genocidal towards people of color, and we of European descent have benefitted materially from it, both over generations and in our own lives. Somewhere deep down we know it and it eats away at us!

A conundrum remains: there is a cost to resistance against a system which has created such staggering material wealth and power (increasingly concentrated in the hands of  a smaller and smaller number of the rich). But I am now seeing/feeling that the cost is so much greater not to resist. There is the personal cost, the damage to our ability to love and to our integrity. But, there has been a great social cost as well. Make no mistake, every endeavor for social uplift, for real democracy, for the rights of women, for the environment… has fallen short or failed in this country because racism/white privilege has divided us and diminished our power.

A transformation is coming. We, 10% of the worlds population that are European/of European descent, can get onboard, or not. Getting on board is not only the right thing to do, it is in our own interest, as members of the human family. Carpe diem!

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Do No Harm

It is nearly impossible for someone like myself, a European American, recovering (well sometimes) from western civilization, and not yet indigenous to this land (I’m trying, honest!), to do no harm.Unknown.jpeg Take the little Carolina Wren pair that has made a nest on our porch. Really, right on the shelves we use to store gardening stuff!  Just in time for spring gardening. What are we to do?

I fell in love with Carolina Wrens about 9 years ago, right after we got back from our year of living in Botswana. It was there, in the southern part of Africa that I became a birder. I’d always liked birds, we’ve had bird feeders for the last 25 years in our various yards, but it wasn’t until the rains came and our garden in Francistown turned into a lush little Eden with outrageous flowers and over-the-top birds. During the rainy season which is also summer birds come from all over, especially northern Africa and Europe to breed in this paradise. Not only do they come to breed by the millions, they often metamorphose into shockingly beautiful specimens! I was enthralled.

When we came back to the US, I suddenly began seeing all types of birds that I had not even known existed. Carolina Wrens were one such species. Besides there energetic perkiness and gorgeous white eye makeup, they have an piercing call that seems much too loud for such a tiny being! You have probably heard it, even if you are unaware of it. It is described as  singing “tweedle, tweedle, tweedle, twee” or “tea kettle, tea kettle, tea kettle, tea!”  Nine years ago a pair built a nest in the eaves of our porch. I was surprised and a bit shocked because we have cats and they climb up the tree next to the porch and onto the roof where we let them in and out our bathroom window. But, as far as I know they had a successful brood. Its is a bit hard to know, since they are usually ground nesters and therefore make no noise what so ever- even when startled!

A few years back, much to my dismay, I noticed that a pair of robins had built a nest on top of the arbor just outside our back door. I was not only dismayed, but annoyed, because I thought we’d be sure to be the cause of the nest being abandoned, since anytime anyone went out the back door, the robin went squawking off! I took that feeling with me into Quaker meeting for worship. There with the help of G!d (Holy Mystery), I was able to see that perhaps with some self restraint of the humans in our household we could not use, or minimally use the backdoor for the 6 weeks (8 weeks?) that it took to hatch the eggs and bring the brood to fledge. And we did manage to do just that. What I had not anticipated was the delight we would all get watching that unfold, right outside our dinning room window!

Often, our best intentions fail, however. I remember about 20 years ago, watching with horror as our cat, Milo, jumped straight up and nabbed a bird from our feeder, five feet off the ground! Well, I had not intended it to be a cat feeder! so it came down that very day. For this very reason we have no cats at the farm. So, when I noticed this pair of Carolina Wrens building their nest, I was both please and worried. Should I do something to discourage them? I tried, I moved the flower pot they were building the nest in- twice thinking that would discourage them. But after reading online about their habits; they often build more than one nest and one is usually a dummy nest, I decided that maybe they knew better than I did and I put it back. I also thought that my coming and going, opening the door next to where the shelves and nest are, many times a day, would discourage them, or convince them that this was the dummy nest. But then, I’m only here about half the time…

When I announced on FB that this nest was being built a fellow birder warned me that the nest could be vulnerable to raccoons or other egg eating predators and advised putting up a fence of some sort around it. So, after seeing that there are 4 beautiful mottled eggs in the nest, I started moving  the stuff off the shelves that we might need in the next 6 weeks and began thinking about some way to fence off this area- not just from predators, but also to remind us not to come too close. During this time we did scare the wren off her nest twice and each time I was afraid she wouldn’t return. (And I still am!) I finally settled on using deer netting. With David’s help it got set up. Then, however, I began to wonder. Aren’t wren’s pretty smart about nest building? they are a successful species, and without my help manage to survive even when some end up as food for predators- right? Might the deer netting harm the wrens? (its hard to see and the wholes are of a size that a small bird might get caught in- maybe?!) Ai, yai, yai! what a nightmare!

Fortunately, or unfortunately the snow today knocked down the fencing. Are the eggs being brooded? did all of this scare them away for good this time? About half the time we are using a different entrance and we’ll be gone tomorrow mid-morning. No one will be back until Tuesday night or Wednesday, so well see…

 

 

 

The Seasons Flowing Backward

2016-01-30 13.39.30This April blizzard is giving me the sensation of time flowing backward. At the end of February we had summer weather; it was so warm and sunny that I went about my daily chores and wanderings in a tee-shirt. Then its been a mix of late to early spring weather throughout March and now a blizzard. Here on Back forty Farm the snow is accumulating at an alarming rate, and the weather report claims that the thermometer will go down to 21 degrees F tonight! Yikes! I fear for the fruit trees in blossom and for the farmers… And I am glad we got our asparagus snuggly tucked into the ground last evening. The peas are simply loving this weather, and the garlic doesn’t mind either. I wonder how the rhubarb is faring?! In fact, there is some we dug up and have not yet replanted- perhaps I should put them in the basement or barn for safe keeping!

Weird and scary even though its beautiful. Prayer warriors needed for all the local farmers and their employees.

Spring’s Negligee

The trees are putting on their negligees, that sheer coating of delicate green leaves that accentuates rather than covers their shape, bringing the eye and the attention to the beauty of their form. Fitting, for this time of year when the earth’s fecundity is bursting onto the scene. Trees more subtle than the bulbs and early spring flowers whose blooms are fairly shouting “look at me! fertilize me!”. Of course the birds are even more exuberant than the flowers, singing for hours on end at the top of their lungs and often from the top of the trees. Nest building is in earnest, too…However, nothing can top the amphibians- especially the tiny little spring peepers.

Last evening as I was tidying up a few things after planting 2 raspberry bushes and headed toward the front of the house, I could hear them. The nearest marsh is about a half mile away, down the hill and over near Chester Creek. But I could actually hear the faint roar of hundreds of spring peepers. To be honest, I wondered if there was a marshy spot nearer than that; it seemed unlikely that I could hear them all the way from Creek Road. I decided to take a stroll down our long drive to get a better “hear”. It was lovely walking down through the woods on either side as the light faded away into semi-darkness. There was a peacefulness, a quite yet full feeling, only the last few murmuring of birds as they settled in for the night, and almost no traffic noise what so ever.

At first, near the top of the drive, you had to almost tune your ear to hear the far way but distinct chorus of the peepers. As I ambled down the driveway the sound became gradually louder and louder until it was nearly a roar.  When you are right next to a marsh full of them at this time of year, it really is deafening! But not in the way that too-loud music is, or sirens, that make you want to cover your ears. Their roar is pleasant and thrilling, even awe inspiring. Such an astounding presence! Really, its hard to believe that these tiny beings can make such a loud noise. They are doing their part of the dance of spring, singing at the top of their lungs, too; “here I am! here I am! wanna mate?!”

Beckoning, Boundaries & a Harsh Lesson

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Beckoning is one of my favorite games. It is sort of like hide and seek, but much more fun. I didn’t learn how to play it until I was a parent with young children. When we lived on Osage Avenue and had a kind of “family compound”; two houses with connected yards, two of my sisters and their sons and my three daughters, we would play often. Our house was nearly perfect for this game with two staircases and an indoor trampoline for “jail”. One person is “it”. They close their eyes and count slowly to 20. Everyone else goes and hides- sort of… You could hide more or less permanently and wait to be found, but its more fun to just hide, then run away and hide again as the person who is “it” tries to “catch” people. You are caught if the person who is it sees you and calls your name. If that happens you must go to jail. If you are seen but called someone else’s name you do not go to jail. Anyone can free those in jail by beckoning them, e.g. sneaking up on the jail while the “it” is searching/chasing others and beckoning with a finger. In desperate circumstances you could even do a suicide beckoning, where you are seen by the jailor, but beckon all the prisoners before your name is called!  The jailor must count to 10 before catching anyone who was beckoned. The game/round ends when the jailor has caught everyone, or gives up. Its pretty hard to catch everyone, even so, there is never a lack of players wanting to give it a try!

I am nearly 64 years old and I still like to play, if I get a chance! I think this is partly why I get so into chasing the groundhog/s out of the burrows near our house to the borrows up the pasture. It has some of the flavor of playing beckoning! Unfortunately, this endeavor recently took a deadly turn alf events. When I noticed that the groundhog had returned to the burrow under the forsythia bushes once again, I tried the water treatment again, but did not observe if ki* had left. My husband suggested that I bait the humane trap and when we caught ki, we could just take ki and release it up in the pasture. I did and came back to check a few hours later. One of the apple halves was gone but the closing mechanism was not tripped. That should have given me pause. I checked the trap, unset it and set it again. We were leaving shortly to go into Philly and I would not be back until the next day- but I thought that I probably would catch anything, and if I did it wouldn’t be until the next morning. When I returned, there was a squirrel in the trap and it was dead! I was shocked and dismayed; I had not meant to catch a squirrel at all. Ki did not appear to be injured.  I tried to get some information on line about why ki had died. The only thing I found was a warning on one sight to not let a squirrel stay in a trap for longer than an hour or ki will die, but no info about why.

I am so sorry to have learned this lesson at the poor squirrel’s expense! Now I know that even humane traps can kill, so I will not be trapping anything else. I am, however, still engaged in this game or dance, if you will, with the groundhog. I feel sure there is a way to live near each other 9but not too near) without harm or encroachment.  The groundhog can live in the upper pasture where there is plenty for it to eat, and we can have our garden and our vegetables that we plant for ourselves. Is that so much to ask?

In the mean time, I have reconnected with the spiritual practice of animal medicine, or animal meanings from the Native American tradition. I first got interested in this about 15 years ago when I kept seeing foxes in West Philly! Up until then, I had seen  only one wild fox in my entire life! What beautiful creatures they are! A friend of mine recently loaned me his pack of animal totem cards and the book to go with them. Since I was engaged on such a level with the groundhog I was curious about groundhog medicine/meaning. But there  is no card for groundhogs in this pack or book. I went on the internet, but my first attempt produced nothing, in fact, one site even stated that groundhogs/woodchucks were not even mentioned in Native American lore or totems! I found that disappointing and odd since kin*are a native species.

Yesterday morning, upon seeing the groundhog out and grazing in the upper pasture, and noting my pleasure about that, I decided to try again. This time I found lots of information and I realized that I have a great affinity with this animal and much to learn from it.  Perhaps ki has even replaced fox as my primary animal totem, at least for this time in my life. Below is one description:

“A very difficult and powerful totem to have, 
Groundhog is the symbol of opening fully to the dreamtime. 
Of exploring altered states of consciousness more deeply and fully. 
Dreams will have great significance.
Lessons associated with death, dying and revelations about its processes will begin to surface. Groundhog can teach its people metabolic control. 
How to go into the great unconscious without harm.
People with a Groundhog totem need to have definite
 boundaries in their life and let those around them know those boundaries.
Groundhog’s power is strongest in Winter and two years is an important time period. 
Two years of intensive studying might be required to achieve 
true trances or alter states of consciousness.
This is often the totem of Shamans and Mystics.”

One thing that spoke to me right away is BOUNDARIES. I have needed to work on my own boundaries in the past, and even though I have made progress, its clear  there is more work to be done. I welcome this new teacher into my life and will continue my game of beckoning, but now with new found respect for this animal and its medicine.

*ki and kin are based on Robin Wall Kimmerer’s writing, asking us to stop using “it” for living beings. Ki comes from an Anishinabe word for other than human beings and she suggests kin be the plural, reminding us of our kinship with all life.

The Fullness

I went looking for the moonrise this evening. Jumped in the car and went madly roving up roads that seemed like they might offer an unobstructed view to the east. Finally went back past our street along Cheyney Road to the open field of Squire Cheyney Farm Park     and there it was, a huge round peach of a moon, the color of which I’ve never seen before. Orange, silver and yellow- but peach?!! That creamy pinkish gold color that delights like no other! Tears of gratitude sprang to my eyes, as I gazed; smiling till my jaws ached.

Cars rushed by. I wanted to shout at them to stop, stop and look at his incredible, awesome, gorgeous full moon! STOP! your missing it!!! None, did… There will be moon shadows and moon dancing tonight. Moon bathing, anyone? I have a friend in the city that has a tiny little “balcony” that’s really the fire escape from her 2nd floor apartment. She and her hubby, on warm summer nights sometimes lie down out there and moon bathe, if the moon is full.

The morning was a bit dull, the sun didn’t really come out until almost noon. But I went looking for signs of ramps (wild leeks) and found two more patches in the woods by the west side of the house. Then I lost one; for the life of me could’t find those little green spikes breaking through the leaves again. Ah, well… I’ll be able to see them when they get bigger, hopefully! Though, as they grow, the forrest fills in with leaves and much gets obscured! We shall see!

I stopped by a small farm I’d noticed on Rt 926 just past Goose Creek. There was a sign out saying eggs for sale! It’s called IMBY (In My Back Yard) at Misty Hollow. They only had 2 dozen for sale and I bought one. Also some peachsauce (like applesauce) and tomato paste made by Sally. I wanted to ask if the eggs were pastured, but did not. Jim is the master gardner. They are taking a sabbatical from their CSA this year, but fortunately still sell eggs! I hope to get to know them better. What a find!

The Boot

boot-stamping-on-a-human-face-1The same BOOT that is crushing the life out of Black lives, is crushing all life on this planet, even unto the extent of crushing the breath out of the planet itself. This BOOT holds down women, poor folks, People of Color, indigenous people… AND destroys the souls of those who wear it. This BOOT is a product of, if not synonymous with Empire. In its current iteration Empire is epitomized by Wall Street and the economic and social system that fosters rapacious consumption and exploitation of anything and everything- demanding new and increased profits; weekly, daily, hourly. Although it has counterparts in every country, this version of Empire is captained by the US, where the government is now openly bought and sold to the highest bidder.

In the US, our cardinal sin is racism. It is the reason, ultimately that every social reform movement has failed; for people divided will always be defeated! We must no longer cooperate with the BOOT. Resistance is imperative as we also build the new social and political structures that heal and regenerate rather than consume, wound and destroy. Racism must be acknowledged and repudiated in all movements oriented toward ending systematic oppression along with whatever else is their goal or mission.

In the  Christian Bible, this Empire is, perhaps, described most accurately as a seven-headed beast. Empire and it’s BOOT, have and have had a shape-shifting quality that has fooled us over and over again into complacency. While human beings have created Empire, and have seemed to recreate it over and over again, once created it seems to take on a life of its own, building power and convincing us that it is inevitable and even necessary. For those of us who receive the benefits and privileges of White Supremacy, whether we want to or not, whether we are aware of it or not- Take off the BOOT! Throw it away and let it rot on the the compost pile of history. Let it burn on the proverbial Gahenna! Then repent, turn around; come home, come home to the Kin-dom, to Beloved Community, where your soul can be restored and you can see with new eyes. Those who have had the BOOT pressed down on their windpipe, will  be revealed as the brothers and sisters we have longed for, as the leaders we have denied.

Beware!… Be aware of the fingerprint of Empire on all that we do- especially those things that we assume are our own freedoms operating.

 

Groundhog Day, Redux

I was meditating on a profound and deeply spiritual message this morning when I caught sight of the groundhog and suddenly all my equanimity vanished- just like that! It looked healthy, fat, probably pregnant, and disappeared into the bushes right next to where the kitchen garden will reside. I had thought I had managed to chase it (or some groundhog) off to burrows further away from our delicious crops last fall. Actually, we had  most of our garden ravaged by a groundhog last year and set a kill-trap for the culprit. When I discovered the dead groundhog in our garden, I was deeply dismayed. It clearly did not die instantly as the manufacturers promised and then it turned out to be a mother. Although, her children were already out and about on their own. We only saw one (probably the fox or another predator got the others). I immediately set about trapping it in a “have-a-heart” trap and relocated it off our property, most likely illegally.

I was not and am still not interested in turning our place into a “war zone” even if its a non-lethal “war”, but I do want to encourage the local groundhog/s to live in the upper pasture where there is plenty for them to eat, and not have them raiding and ravaging our garden. Last year it seemed that I had scared off the groundhog that seemed to quickly replace the one that met kids demise by depositing used cat litter in the burrows near our house and garden and also by letting the garden hose run for long periods into the burrow that was in the garden where the tomatoes thrived relatively unmolested. But most likely ki just went into hibernation! I did find two new burrows up the east side of the pasture last fall, which led me to believe the one (ones?) near our house had relocated.

I thought, I might be able to go back to my meditations, but no use. Seeing the creature left me distressed, I am sad to admit. I don’t actually dislike groundhogs. The little one I trapped was actually quite cute, but my husband’s violent reaction to our devastated garden last year left a seemingly permanent distress button that I don’t seem to be able to erase! So, having no used cat litter on hand, I decided to try the water technique.  I found the hose in a large coil in the basement,  hauled it up , untangled it, attached it to the spigot and dragged one end over to the borrow entrance that I assume the groundhog went into.

I let it run while I made breakfast and ate it, hoping ki would skedaddle back up the pasture! Who knows? I did not see it leave, but I feel a little more settled now that I’ve at least tried to encourage its relocation. Actually I’m not really sure why I find it so upsetting. My husband is about to install electric fencing around the kitchen garden with what he feels are sure-fire deterrents, but if they fail- it will not be pleasant around here. Actually, I’m being unfair, he is doing some great work on his own emotional sobriety, so only time will tell.

I have asked local farmers what they do about deer and groundhogs and the most frequent answer is dogs, though I have heard some other much more creative answers. I do not want a dog, primarily because it would also keep away the foxes, which I adore. But that may change when and if we decide to have chickens. I am not so sure I want to “farm” if it means coming onto conflict with the local animal kinfolk. Oh! There it is- leaving and heading up into the woods along the pasture! Yippee! I do believe the water persuasion may have worked!!!