“Mustache” = “must ask” haha.
I’d like to introduce you to my new cat. Isn’t he stunning?
Well, maybe not “new.” I mean, I’ve had him for a month now.
Do you want to know how soft his fur is? Well, I don’t have any idea; I haven’t been able to touch him. He is wild.
This mustached cat is a feral cat who was on death row, the victim of a “catch and kill” program for feral cats in a neighboring county. I saw his photo, with his mustache and goatee, and just HAD to go and get him. How could I not? I showed up just in time; he was scheduled to be put down the Monday morning that I got there. Yes, he was saved by his mustache.
The animal control facility told me that they do not adopt out feral cats. They catch cats in their area, wait 3 days to make sure they didn’t catch someone’s pet, and then kill them. Controlling the cat population. Pa-leeese. Can you imagine the uproar if a county did that for squirrels or bunnies or birds? Yeah, I remember a politician who got in big trouble for poisoning the Canada Geese who were taking over his farm. Hunters can only hunt during certain times of the day and months of the year for wild animals. And yet, cats are free game?!?!
I love cats.
This little animal control facility had lots of cats there on death row. I left the building, sat in my truck, and I cried.
Later I sent an email to the animal control facility and offered to find and write a grant to help the sad situation of these feral cats they trap and kill. There are monies available to help start a trap, fix, and release program for feral cats. Guess what response I received? None. (As if that will stop me.)
Now, I mustache and must-answer some questions. I’ve gotten some lovely emails lately with some interesting questions in them. So I thought I’d answer them here. And then I mustache you a question.
First, I just have to say thank you to each and every one of you who has ever written to me or commented on the blog. The stories you share, the warmth you show, the friendliness and caring you offer, well, I just love you all! I have had a terrible case of “I don’t have time to write” lately and your outpouring of support and positivity helps me find the time to write.
So here goes.
Debbie: “I was reading were you had a old 1939 farm house in the mountains, I was wondering do you still have that? It looked really cute.”
Debbie, I loved that farmhouse. It was my introduction to farm living, though it was a part-timer, a weekender for us. I could write a book about everything that house taught me. You mentioned that you read the old blog posts and I probably talked about this in those. But that house had a certain special vibe in it. It wrapped its nurturing warmth around us when we stepped through the front door. It smiled. We’d step inside and immediately feel like everything was right with the world. It was tucked back in a “holler” on a dead-end dirt road outside of Asheville, NC. Heaven on earth. If there had been any way I could have afforded to keep that house, I would have. Forever. It was special and precious.
Debbie: “do you ever get down??? I like the way you can turn a situation around when things don’t go right and make them good. I need to learn that.”
Oh my gosh, Debbie, yes. I get down. We all do, right? In truth, it’s been a hard year for me. I’ve had to deal with a lot of things I didn’t feel ready or equipped for. But I don’t dwell on those hard parts; they are there if I wanted to focus on them, but I choose not to. What I try to do is concentrate on the good. In a day, in a year, in life, in people. I deal with the yuck, but I focus on the good. One thing that helps is that I have the worst memory in the world. That helps keep me bouncy. My Aunt Margie once told me, “God blessed me with a bad memory.” Me too. I try to hang onto the good and forget the not-so-good. Oh, another thing that helps foster a good attitude? Brownies. Definitely brownies.
Sharon: “I’ve decided to get chickens this year. Should I get a rooster? I read how much you enjoy yours, but I hear that they can be aggressive. Is there a downside? Also, with your rooster are you concerned about eating fertilized eggs?”
Sharon, I’m so excited that you are getting chickens. We have enjoyed ours more than I would have thought possible. Our chickens are fully enclosed. They are in a locked tightly in their house every night. During the day, they enjoy the outdoors in their chicken run. It is fully fenced, even the top. I say that because many chicken owners get roosters to help protect the flock. That’s not the case with me.
My rooster was the “free” rare breed bird that came with my hen order. I was super excited when I finally learned that SHE was a HE. I love hearing him cock-a-doodle-doo. It makes our farm seem like a farm. He is a docile, sweet, gentle rooster. He exhibits no agresstion whatsoever. He’s just a real doll. And gorgeous.
When he was a chick:
However, there is a down side. He’s very busy with my hens. Amorous. I have 14 hens and 1 rooster and he wears them out. I have purchased some chicken saddles for several of my hens who were loosing their back feathers due to his…uh…amorous-ness. I also have one who he has injured by grabbing the back of her head with his beak. He has pulled out all her feathers and is bloodying her neck. That attracts all her friends to further peck. This poor girl is terrified of him and screams and runs away as much as she can. Totally freaks out when he gives her the googley-eye. So that’s not good. I currently have her, with one of her friends, in a separate area that I call the “infirmary.” Her neck is healing. But, I may have to keep her separate until he simmers down some. He’s full of himself this spring. I should rename him Casanova.
The other thing you should do if you decide to get a rooster is to provide places for your hens to be able to get away from him. I have some large plywood sheets propped up against the walls and sides of the pens. The girls go under there to get away from any of his unwanted advances.
As far as fertilized eggs are concerned, I collect the eggs every single day. Because of that, there is no opportunity for any development. So, I don’t worry. I don’t think about it a lot, because I love animals so much, but I don’t worry. I’ve never had an egg that was anything but normal, regular, and delicious.
So, should you get a rooster? If you want one and can provide him with plenty of hens, then definitely. If you can only have a few hens, then he’ll definitely wear them out, possibly injuring them.
Julie: “How do you write? Is there a particular schedule or time each day that you dedicate to the craft?”
Julie, I am the most disorganized person in the world. I have a million projects going at one time. (I thrive on that.) I don’t often know when I’ll have time to sit down to write, so I just do it when I can and when I’m in the mood. I think if I had a schedule to write, it would interfere with my flow. I’d feel like it was a job rather than like it is the outlet that it is. So to answer your question, no.
Kim: “How did you get up the courage to drop everything and move to a farm?”
Kim, I have no idea.
Kim: “Are you able to make a good living farming?”
Kim, I have no idea. I think the answer is going to turn out to be no, but we shall see.
Pam: “I always enjoy reading about them, but I can’t follow your animal situation. How many animals do you actually have? How many do you want? I read about your pond, are you going to get ducks or fish for it?”
Pam, I have 4 horses, 15 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 cats (including the mustached one, the only animal we have who doesn’t have a name).
I love animals.
We thought about getting ducks for the pond, but have since learned that you have to care for them to the same extent that you do for chickens. I didn’t realize that. This means that they need shelter and safety from predators. We have lots of coyotes here. And hawks. I’m not able to protect ducks from them. I don’t have the proper fencing or housing. So, my current philosophy is that ducks and geese are welcome, but I’m not raising any babies that I’ll fall in love with only to put out on the pond to become food for hawks or coyotes.
As far as the fish are concerned. Yes, we WERE going to get some fish. But remember all those frog eggs I found in puddles and transported to the pond? Well, fish eat tadpoles. So we decided not to get fish this year. And my daughter doesn’t feel right about feeding and caring for animals that we plan to eat. Me either.
Pam: “How did you meet MaryJane?”
I discovered MaryJane by picking up one of her catalogs/ magazines at a local grocery store some years ago. I instantly fell in love with everything she stood for. Her book came out soon thereafter and I devoured it. I didn’t actually meet her until several years ago when she made a stop in Atlanta.
MaryJane is everything you think she is! She is authentic and fabulous. She is smart and extraordinary and real. She’s warm and funny. She is beautiful and dedicated and loving. She dreams of a better world and is willing to work for it. She cares about people and the earth. She thinks outside of the box. She is supportive and kind. I doubt she’s ever met someone who didn’t love her instantly and forever. MaryJane has impacted me beyond measure. But I’ve only spent maybe three hours with her ever.
Tammy: “What is the one thing I should plant in my garden this year? I’m a beginner, so make it easy to grow.”
Tammy, vegetables are easy to grow, especially if you purchase plants instead of seeds. Give your vegetables a nice sunny, well-drained piece of land and they’ll grow. Make sure to water them if there isn’t enough rain. I personally can’t live without greens in my garden. Lettuces, kales, spinach. Yum. Those are easy to grow from seeds, too. You should definitely grow a tomato. For that, buy a plant. There is no comparison of flavor or texture between the tomato you purchase and the tomato you grow. Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.
The other vegetable I love having in my garden is sugar snap peas. Try those!
The other thing I enjoy growing is herbs. Make a little herb garden with your favorites. Mine are basil, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, parsley. Buy the plants (rather than growing from seed) and you’ve got an instant herb garden. Fabulous! Nothing like fresh herbs. This is my tarragon plant at my previous herb garden.
Jeri: “Where are your Christmas trees shipped to? Do you think there is a chance that my tree came from your farm? I’m in Michigan. Can I order one from you next year?”
Jeri, this year our trees were shipped to Oregon. They are Frasier Firs. Special Frasier Firs that are grown with love. They are carefully hand-groomed and sprayed only when and as necessary.
We are a small wholesale operation, but maybe they’ll be a time in the future when we can offer retail or mail-order. I don’t know. But I want to learn to make wreaths this year. Maybe I could ship you one of those?
Jeri: “Which of the hats you wear is your favorite?”
Favorite? I’m not sure. Lawyer, Chef, Farmer, Writer, Designer, Entrepreneur, Creator, blah, blah, blah…I don’t know my favorite! I bore easily, so it’s nice to have a bunch of hats on my hat rack to pick from on any given day.
But the most important one is the Mom hat. Definitely Mom. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I think it is by far the most important. It has taught me to be self-less and patient. Before having a child, I was self-ish and snappy. I’m a better person since I birthed that baby 13 years ago.
Oh, I also like my red hat. It’s old and the dog, Oreo, chewed it, but it’s still my favorite.
Now, y’all, talk to me. I mustache YOU a question. Do you have a good recipe for brownies? haha. (Unless you really do have one.)
No, it’s the hat question I really pose to you. I know you each wear many, many, MANY hats. Can you pick the very favorite one you wear??
Tell us! After I hear all your good and inspired answers, maybe I can come up with my own?
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah