Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bulls Passing as Silently As Barges


So yesterday morning I pulled over to sketch the sheep.  I wondered why the bulls were absent.  I drew for a few minutes and then decided to pack it in as it was so hot.  Suddenly I spied a bull sliding past beyond the fence and partly obscured by the rose bushes.  He was so large and interestingly close--  then out of the corner of my eye I saw a second bull sliding past, and then a third.  They passed as silently as barges on the Mississippi--

reminding me of the evening I made this sketch of Jacob photographing barges from the levee at the Fly in New Orleans a few years ago.

Those silent, dark shapes slipping past like a strange parade in a dream.

Later I made this trail map as I was walking on the west river trail, fitted it in around another sketch of the sheep and a silent, gliding bull.  The plant is a very small orchid that is producing little scalloped seed pods.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Flerding and a Rafter and a Dismayed Cat


The brown mound beyond the sheep is a sleeping bull.

Yesterday morning was sunny and blue with wild chicory in bloom and  rafter of turkeys and their poults crossing the road.
Jesse waiting out a downpour in the carport near the groundhog-gnawed post.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Flerding


Flerding is the practice of mixing species in a pasture: a flock + a herd = a flerd.  Here is the college sheep and bull flerd keeping cool in the shade of some old trees at the edge of their shared pasture.  Flerding is a useful practice for dealing with coyotes, which are relatively plentiful here.  Here's a link if you're as curious as I've been about sheep and bulls sharing space!  http://onpasture.com/2014/06/23/flerds-sheep-and-cattle-grazing-together-for-pasture-management-and-predator-protection/

Monday, July 17, 2017

Barnyard Narratives


In the midst of normal-looking chickens sitting in the shade this morning were ominous little piles of feathers.  M and I asked a farm worker what was up, and he said some chickens had been escaping at night and falling prey to either a fox or a weasel.  They plan to reinforce the fencing today.  

The baby pigs are now several weeks old and average  about 18 inches long.  They race around the field in packs;  they roll and tumble and sleep in piles.  The mothers are looking worn out.  They escape from the babies by lying in the mud puddles, which the babies seem afraid to enter.

Yesterday one of the biggest boldest of the piggies put his toes into the puddle:

He eventually waded up to a mother and nudged her ear.  She batted him away and went back to dozing.  

He sat in the puddle and squealed until the two mothers reluctantly dragged themselves up and out of the puddle.  By then around twenty other babies were gathered at the edge of the puddle watching and squealing.  The mothers plopped down a few feet beyond the pond and in seconds the babies swarmed over them, nursing wildly while the mamas went back to sleep.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dog Days Approaching


As a send-off for our sweet guests yesterday, we had breakfast at 7 AM at Liberty House, where it is possible to eat outside at a picnic table overlooking their lush gardens in the cool morning.

And today I pulled off the road at the sight of newly-shorn sheep sharing a field with several bulls.

Everyone was knee-deep in grass, no jostling for territory, birds zooming in to catch bugs from the bulls' backs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Luxe, Calme, et Volupté for Pigs


The little pigs are venturing into the mud pond little by little.

The pond is still a haven and refuge for beleagured mamas.

But the boldest babies have started stretching out and discovering the allure of cool wet clay.  Hens are appalled and stay out of the pig field and all its amenities.

Meanwhile in new developments a skinny dipper Barbie has appeared on a rock overlooking the river.