August 30th, 2007



I begin to understand why fencing is a chore that is never truly done. Fences and animals do not mix, though humans insist that they should. We gave up on the fencing around the various fields, the 5 acre, the paddock. We've had deer caught in them, had tractors run into them and tear them. We've never repaired the damages because nothing is actually confined inside them.

Our particular fencing woes are confined to several feet of chicken run. After 16 months, the entire bottom edge has been carved out with dirt baths that look more like escape attempts. The woodchuck, has, in fact, gone under the fence in one place that is now blocked with a brick. I think he might have been caught inside the run one morning when I was closing up his other exits and took the quickest way out. Yesterday, I pushed back an edge that would allow a small animal to crawl under, checked the entire bottom edge for gaps. It is my constant concern that a fox can get into the run.

Alas, the barn side of this equation is a very different matter. The barn is a series of posts with boards nailed to them. There is no foundation, per se. The boards come to the dirt and stop. I believe this is the nature of barns, that they are dirt-floored. Fighting the woodchuck along this line is difficult. He is persistent and stubborn. There is nothing for him in the run, other than a few scraps of feed, but he persists. I block these exits from under the boards with additional boards, with cinder blocks and bricks. He then digs another hole inbetween or pushes the blocks and bricks out of his way. I suspect it gives him something To Do. Meanwhile, in the barn, he has actually dug a bolt-hole about one foot from his dive-under-the-coop hole. This is the sort of thing a larger animal or human puts their foot in. Oddly, it's right next to the gas cans for the tractor. Does the woodchuck have a plan? Is he a secret arsonist?

My goal is to prevent him from hibernating under the coop and making it his permanent home. A lot of activity in the barn might help with that. Pine needles stuffed in the holes. And someone has now suggested old-fashioned, nasty, mothballs. Which are poisonous, but enclosed in something might just be a very bad smell that deters. Especially when placed under the coop.

Battle with woodchuck to preserve the coop fencing continues. There's a story in here somewhere. I'm not sure if it's his story or mine.

Frog Out


The girls discover cuisine! When we left they were having Pad Thai with rotten watermelon and loving it. Bizarre, if you ask me. My dad suggested they might like the Pad Thai. I already knew that I shouldn't throw out any more rotten veggies and fruit. And the odd thing is, they don't all like it equally. Some of them favor blueberries and raspberries (Walkabout) and some seem to favor watermelon and tomatoes.

Just thought everyone should know these details of chicken cuisine. I have no idea if the woodchuck eats this stuff. He's pickier.

Frog Out