Written August 27, 2009
Remember when we were all young and you heard of dogs getting old and sick, and when the dog wasn't home one day after school, the kids were told that ol' Fido or Rover or Butch had gone to live on Uncle Ronald's farm in Kansas to happily roam the fields of flowers and chase butterflies?
Well, we actually are "Uncle Ronald's Farm" for a little Jack Russell Terrier named Billy. Billy came to our farm last spring after living an unfulfilled life in Scottsdale where he wasn't satisfied with life by the pool. Billy wanted to roam. Billy wanted to hunt. Billy wanted to be let through the towering arcadia doors to pee on the leather couches just once, for crying out loud.
Billy was attacked while lounging poolside in Scottsdale by a vicious coyote. It took weeks of IV's, drains and lots of antibiotics to nurse little Billy back to health.
So, one day, Billy came to live on the farm with us. Now, you should know that our neighbor has teased us that our farm should be called "Harmony Farms, where no animal will ever meet death," because he didn't believe we'd ever get around to butchering a chicken or a pig, in spite of our professed intentions to do so. Given this, it would seem that our farm would be the perfect landing place for Billy, the recuperating pup.
Well, Billy came to our farm where he now hunts and he romps through the alfalfa fields, and he chases small things under the wood pile.
And, one dark spring night, he was attacked by a coyote. Again.
There were 5 puncture wounds on either side of his little belly, making it clear that coyote just clamped on him broadside and tried to carry him off. But Billy, he's a fighter. He wriggled free, left a trail of blood under the girls' bedroom window, and lived to carouse his way through another summer.
Flash to this morning:
Teri: "Hey, I have to say you look HOT driving that truck!"
(Oh, sorry, it's just that we had just passed each other on the main drag in downtown Holbrook - he on his way back from an early safety meeting at work, me having just dropped off kids at school. And, I was NOT, by the way, on my way to McDonald's to get a soda before heading home.)
Mike: [Bashful protestations. "Aww shucks" and guffaws.]
Teri: "Oh, whatever. Anyway, what are you doing when you get home?"
Mike: "Getting ready to go to your mom's to finish her trim. Why?"
Teri: "Well, I was wondering, do you think you could get the porcupine quills out of Billy's lips?"
"Welcome to Harmony Farms. WE may not kill you, but it's almost certain SOMETHING will."
Harmony Farms Mortality Rate:
Ducks: 33% (Not counting the dead duck lying in our yard whose origins we're not sure of.)
Chickens: Whatever 3 remaining of 35 works out to be. And that's just for this year. If we added last year's carnage it'd be more like 3 of 60 remaining.
Cats: 6 of 7 remaining (sorry, not into higher math this morning. I'm recovering from the flu, cut me a break)
Pigs: 0 (that would be part of the neighbor teasing; they should have died months ago)
Goat: 0 (but she's only been with us a few months. Give it time.)
* Disclaimer: I did scoop 3 dead fish from the tank the other day, but I refuse to count them.
Love from the farm,