Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Farm Life No Photos

This morning I was going about a few Monday morning chores, even though this is Tuesday.   Rather than posting a pretty or interesting photo, I will tell you about the past week.   

About a week ago, we were invaded by Earwigs, aka pincher bugs.   Do you have those where you live? We have them in abundance and they are a favorite snack of the chickens.   Every time we move a rock or planter or storage bin, the chickens swarm and eat the thousands of pincher bugs found underneath.   Last year we discovered they were nesting in the bark of our Eucalyptus tree.   Peel back the bark and you can find millions of them.   They are also in the bark of the redwood tree.   They don't kill the trees and provide a feast for any birds that like to dig for their dinner.   

About 5-6 years ago, I noticed that in the evening there were gazillions of pincher bugs crawling up the side of the house.   They were looking for a way in, which they can find in any little crack.   That was when I brought home my first chickens.  They made short order of the bugs.   The present day flock of hens does not have access to the perimeter on two sides of the house.   Therein lies a big problem.   

The pincher bugs began their invasion into the house.   Little cracks, electrical outlets, plumbing....they found a way inside and it was mayhem beginning about 9PM.   We don't have a regular pest control service because I have some concerns with chemicals being sprayed in the house and outside.   So I went to the farm supply store and bought some diatomaceous earth for earwig control.   I dusted the doorways. And it has done a pretty good job of killing the invasive pincher bugs.   They are still not 100% under control, but it's manageable.

On Thursday, about noon, I looked outside the kitchen window and saw a snake!!!    I have a very intense fear of snakes, and this one was a rattlesnake.   Although young and not yet having rattles, it was about 3 feet long and right in front of the steps.   The chickens were standing around watching it.   Erik was gone to the Bay Area and wouldn't be home until evening.   OMG, WTH should I do????    It appeared pretty sluggish and not moving so I carefully went outside (always with boots), walked around it, and tried to consider my options.   I had no idea where the hoe or shovel were and I wanted to do something quickly to contain it.   So....not the brightest idea....I got a large heavy rubber tub and tried to cover the snake.    Yep, you guessed it.   It escaped and slithered (ewwwww, I hate that image) into a very large evergreen bush.   The EXACT bush where two of my hens lay their daily eggs that I retrieve.   I had noticed over the previous few days that an egg in the adjacent bush was broken every day.   I guess we know who was responsible for that.

So I texted Erik....."Snake in the front yard, went into the bush.   Rattlesnake"    That would give him at least four hours to plan his attack upon arrival.   I went on with the day, carrying the shovel with me that I since found nearby.   I retrieved the egg in the adjacent bush, very very carefully.   Later on, I looked into the bush where the hen lays her egg.   I saw the egg and the snake, just about to take the egg.   Freaked me out all over again.   I took the shovel and scooted the egg out of the bush so as not to let the snake have a reward.    Keep in mind, I hate snakes.   I don't know where I gathered the nerve, but when I fear my animals are threatened I go into protection mode.

Erik came home and immediately started hacking down the bush.   The next morning we both went out, heavily armed with a big lopping tool and my trusty shovel.   After about a half hour of cutting back the beast of a bush, he found the snake.   He snagged it with the lopping tool and we then pinned it down with the shovel.   That snake was probably dinner for the neighborhood turkey vultures.   And the next day the remains of the bush were cut down.   It's all in the landfill and will no longer house snakes in front of our house.   

Then on Saturday, one of the donkeys accidentally stepped back and onto a chicken's leg.   She can't walk and is living in a small coop within the larger coop.   I am not sure she will be able to walk on that leg and it makes me sad for her.   I hope she heals in time and is back out with her sissies.

The same morning, driving back from town, there were two dogs walking down the middle of the road.   They weren't moving to the side so I pulled over to offer assistance.   With cars starting to approach from both directions, I motioned for them to stop.   The dogs would not come to the side of the road, just kept walking down the center.   They were obviously tired.   Before long, we had 5 vehicles stopped when a woman drove up in her car, got out and put the dogs in her car.   Erik heard her say, "They're mine."   She lives not too far from our place so I know the dogs had walked a mile or two.   I was so relieved they were okay.   

And now this morning I am scrubbing the kitchen sink, cleaning out the refrigerator, and hoping that we have less to deal with this week.    I wish you all a nice week with no drama.   And aren't you glad I didn't post photos today?


TexWisGirl said...

instead of pinch bugs, we have spiders and scorpions. instead of rattlers, we have copperheads and moccassins. i'm not sure i like your deal. :)

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

We have cicadas... and the noise is overbearing and LOUD and annoying. Izzy loves eating them though, so her dog food appetite has been low.

We have rattlers and copperheads. These critters, none of them, have ever been in the house though, but I can hardly wait for the stink bug season and the ladybug infestations to arrive this year.. DAMN.. it's always something, isn't it?

Comfypjs said...

I am definitely not on board for ANY kind of snakes or pinch bugs, spiders,scorpions or cicadas. But ladybugs...I love them!

Teresa said...

Pinchy butts as I call them are here also. I hate them as much as June bugs! My husband laughs as I can pick up snakes, don't mind spiders, etc. One time we couldn't figure out why the fountail pump wouldn't work Yes, there were pincy butts in the tube, all lined up. Jeff got the first few out and them the pump shot the rest out. lol. I hope ypour chicken does get better soon. You must have been sick when you saw that happen! We don't have rattle snakes here. I am so glad as I would hate to worry about us or the dogs getting bit. Luckily we don't have much of danger here. I hope this week is much better for you.

Snooks said...

Scrubbing the sink and cleaning the fridge sound relaxing after the events of your last week. Especially the snake. YUK! No thank you. Hope your little hen turns out ok.

@ 3Beeze Homestead

missy max said...

What a week..We have stink bugs...just the past 2 years..They smell very bad when you kill them..

Lynne said...

We have chipmunks and moles . . . Tons of them. The chipmunks are invasive. They run like crazy with their tails sticking straight up in the air. We live trap them, an endless process, and take them to the country where they can run in wide open spaces. (I think they know how to get back to our house.) The chippies dig holes in the garden. . . tonight I found they had removed all my zinnia plants I started inside this winter.

The moles are just as pesty and we are trying to find new ways to keep our space grub free so the moles will go feed elsewhere.

Soooo happy the rattler is gone . . . and hope the chicken's leg heals soon .

Ellen said...

Oh my golly!!! What you've been going through! Not that much excitement where we live now, but when we lived out in the country in Missouri, there was always something going on, be it snakes (two of our dogs were bitten by snakes at different times) or snapping turtles, or an armadillo, you just never knew what was going to happen. Swarms to bees too. So sorry you are going through all this. Hope you have a better week!

Lin said...

Uh....we've got a couple of ants that are sort of annoying. Nothing like all the excitement that you have!

Mark said...

Oh man, I was on the edge of my seat reading about that snake. I'm not a big fan either. Glad you got him. Sounds like there is always something going on on the farm.

Daryl Edelstein said...

what a week, what a post .. no photos were necessary, I played the whole thing like a video in my head ..

Nancy said...

Those bugs would give me the creeps.

Glad the snake is gone.

Yay for you for saving the puppies! xoxo

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