What can I say? I’m single and over sixty, I write and I farm on 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. 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 for the post about how they treed a mountain lion. Good dogs!
As for the cats, I have 8 and they’re supposed to eat the gophers but, being cats, they prefer cat food, thank you very much.
In May 2016, I turned yet another new page on the farm. Earlier this year I sold the last of my Jersey cows in favor of Dorper Sheep, a South African breed that doesn’t need to be sheared and gains all their weight on grass alone, after an acquaintance informed me that they are “stupid simple” to raise. Stupid simple I can do! Then in July, I satisfied a life-long whim and purchased two weaner pigs–little gilts (that’s girl pigs for those of you who don’t speak “hog-farmer”). Oinker and Boinker were worth every penny. Oh, how they make me laugh.
I continue to raise turkeys, although I doubt I’ll have many to sell for Thanksgiving 2016. At five, my sweet Tom is beginning to show his age. Over 300 eggs this year and only 45 hatchlings. Who knew E.D. was an issue with older turkeys? His grandson, little TommyTwo, isn’t quite old enough to do the deed, at least not to produce babies that will be ready in time for Thanksgiving. It looks like I’ll have Easter turkeys in 2017. It’s the farmer’s refrain: Oh well, next year!
I’ve also decided to satisfy the many fans who’ve begged me to write stories about the children of the heroes in the Season Series. The first one, a novella, is already available. Perfect Poison features Jocelyn of Freyne, the squire of Gilliam FitzHenry of Spring’s Fury and his betrothed Avice of Lavendon.