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Rain . . . and Skunks!

On the Farm . . . what's happening this week - 6/22/15.

We received a little over 2 1/2 inches of rain in the last week. The produce enjoyed the big drink and growth increased accordingly. Even so Bill spent time working on the watering system he set up this spring. New transplants need to be watered, and we are well aware that watering will be a priority through the main growing season.

This year we've increased the amount of land in vegetables. That along with our water pump being a mere 1/2 hp, the fields being 400 to 800 feet from the pump and a small water pressure tank means irrigation will be challenging. Next year we hope to upgrade the pump and purchase a bigger water pressure tank. This summer we (meaning mainly Bill) will be monitoring and adjusting as we go.

Aidan, Marlee and Bindi discovered a skunk den in a culvert across the road from our fields. The babies are still in the nest and are very cute. It is hard to think about killing them. We dread the dilemma animals like skunks present to a farm like ours. We'd like to let them be but know from experience, we risk the lives of the pastured chickens living in moveable pens nearby.

A couple years ago we lost quite a few to a mystery predator over several nights before a skunk was caught red-handed feasting. Shortly after a den was found under an old shed. We had been oblivious to the female and her 5 half-grown youngsters living with us at 32727 Byrds Creek Valley Dr!

Over the course of the next week Bill used a live trap to catch a couple, but it wasn't a great solution. Even though never directly sprayed, he always ended up smelling like skunk. And where do you relocate a skunk anyway? While we were trying to decide how to proceed, it seemed we were beseiged by all the skunks in the surrounding neighborhood. We'd see them on our road when coming home at night, the barn started to possess a strong skunk odor and we found broken eggshells in the hay manger.

One day Liam went to gather eggs in the barn and was surprised by a big male curled up for a nap in a nest box after gorging on fresh, local, free-range, soy-free chicken eggs! I didn't believe Liam when he burst in the house shouting, "Skunk!" I had to see myself. He was correct, and Bill was gone to work. I couldn't say, "this falls under your department" and walk away like I wanted to. In my head I heard the childhood warnings from my elders about skunks carrying rabies and did what I felt needed to be done. I got the .22 and shot the skunk.

Needless to say we haven't found a way to co-exist peacefully with skunks yet, but it looks like we are getting another chance to figure it out this summer! Wish us luck

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