I’ve been farm sitting for the last 5 days or so. I have never done it before, so it’s been an experience. I’d always had the notion that I’d like to have some farm animals someday. Nothing crazy, just your regular goats-ducks-chickens. I’d dabbled with the thought of having a cow, pigs, and/or sheep, but now realize that I’d rather not, thank you. This farm has cats, ducks, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. There were goats, but they’d escaped one too many times and that was that for those goats.
The first night I got to the farm, the turkeys were hanging out on the front porch (turkey poop, much like goose and chicken poop, is not easy to avoid. And it is NOT fun to step in). I sat on one of the steps and just watched them. I’d never spent any time with turkeys, so I was fascinated. They, in my opinion, make the most soothing noises as they preen and groom themselves, shaking off dandruff and loosening little feathers. It was comforting just to be around them. The ducks are a little more paranoid about having you in their personal space, but are just as calming with their evening antics- noising through grass as they settle down and run bills through feathers, occasionally stretching out their wings and flapping furiously or opening them up and pushing them back as they luxuriously stretch out a leg, strikingly similar to a yoga pose. I’m quite enamored. I woke up the second morning to a dead duck with half it’s head eaten and another one (he had a gimpy leg) was gone. I think it was a fox. So now, I enclose them in their wooden shelter at night. I was told to just leave them out because they’re big enough to stay out all night, but I won’t lost any more. So now, it’s a chase around the pen until I can manage to round them up into their shelter. It ain’t easy let me tell you. Ducks are stupid. Really. They will run all around the periphery of the fence until they get caught in this one side where the chicken wire curls in on itself and quack furiously, still trying to move forward. I finally figured out that if you pick them up, they go limp in your hands, not fighting at all. No wonder the fox came for them. They just offer their necks up for grabs.
The pigs, despite their smell, are pretty fun to watch. When I water them, they like to stick their noses under the hose and occasionally bite onto it so that the water runs into their mouths. They also push and shove on the water bucket so that it topples into the mud. I sigh and just refill the bucket. When I bring out the food, they run around ecstatically, jumping higher than you’d think a pig can jump, and oinking and grunting til you fill their feeder bucket.
The chickens, well, they’re chickens. They cluck and coo and peck around my feet and make me smile when I find their eggs hiding in a corner.
The turkeys…oh, those turkeys. They are hilarious. Have you ever seen a turkey run? It’s all squawks and feathers flapping and waddling dangerously from side to side as one leg splays out to one side and then the other to the other side. I get to see this crazy action every time I start my motorcycle. I swear they are turned on by my motorcycle. Every time I start it up in the morning, I watch them. As soon as the engine starts purring and rumbling it’s contented little engine, seven turkey heads pop up. I imagine their eyes might open a little wide too. Then, they are falling all over each other in their eagerness to reach the bike, flapping down off porch railings and scattering in general mayhem til they pick up speed. Then they slow down and the four toms ruffle up their feathers all pretty and stalk slowly toward the bike and gobble in unison at the bike. I laugh every time this happens. Once they even ran toward me as I came home down the driveway, gobbling and cackling until I stopped the engine. Then they milled around the bike before finally losing interest and going off to search the grass.
The cats also have their own characters. One of them, a voracious licker, also snores. I’ve heard snoring dogs, but a cat? He likes to hang out on the bed as I read at night. The first time I heard him snoring, I couldn’t believe it. So I prodded him with my toe and when he woke up (it took some convincing), he grabbed my foot between his paws and started licking. I keep my legs tucked under his body so I can feel him purring as he lays there, or one on top of his stomach and one tucked between his front paws. He’s a very cool cat.
All this farm sitting has got me to realize that I really WOULD like to have a yardful of some birds and an assortment of other animals. My boyfriend, well, he’s into it too but likes to remind me that he doesn’t want to have anything from tying us down if we decide to go somewhere for a weekend. Guess I’ll have to wait awhile before I get my farm.