For the past eight years my life has revolved around my little farm–eight acres of slowly improving red earth (it originally looked like Mars had exploded!) on Oak Creek in northern Arizona. I started with chickens, then there were turkeys and Jersey milk cows. A few years ago, I exchanged Jersey cows for Dorper Sheep, a South African breed that doesn’t need to be sheared and gains all their weight on grass alone (however, they prefer pig food), after an acquaintance informed me that they are “stupid simple” to raise. Stupid simple I can do! Then I fell in love with pigs. Oh, how they make me laugh!
But with livestock came the predators: coyotes, bald eagles, black hawks, mountain lions, and, worst of all, raccoons. Dang those nasty creatures! They kill just because they can; think dogs with opposable thumbs. (Five chickens in one night–they reached in through the chain link and killed the birds with no expectation of being able to eat them.) They are the reason I have my two amazing dogs, Moosie (an Akita/Sharpei mix) and Bear (a Hungarian Kuvasz). Moosie just loves to take on (and kill) the raccoons. Read the post about how they treed a mountain lion. Good dogs!
It looks like 2019 will bring big changes to my life and my farm. I am finally acknowledging that I can no longer work two full time jobs. When push came to shove, I chose writing over farming. So next year will be a year off of raising anything new except sheep (stupid simple, right?) and a garden.