We went to a farm auction on Wednseday looking to pick up some equipment to make haymaking easier. Although the hay loader went out of our price range, we were able to pick up a dump rake. It was quite the conversation piece; many of the older men gathered around it to reminisce. One gentleman, probably in his 70's, came up to tell us how he had not run one since he was a little boy, and seemed very happy we were going to use it rather than use it as an antique yard ornament. It made me laugh a bit inside, as he was Amish and has been using more current technology for years! But the dump rake is home and worked great for Dan yesterday. We'll have much less hay wasted by being left in the field, and it will be much simpler to load several piles of hay than forking up long, narrow windrows.
On a much sadder note, we've had some deaths in our chicken flock recently. We eliminated a raccoon who had eaten several of my best layers and though it was over. Three of the 4 killed were my Ameracauna girls, so I'm having a bit of a blue egg shortage at the moment although I do still get one or two a day. Unfortunately, one of the feral barn cats has developed a taste for chicken and last night killed her 7th hen. She has got all our adult Giant Cochins, both my Porcelin bantam girls and a mother Phoenix died defending her babies. We have no choice but to kill her, as she is wild and would not be a candidate for the local humane society. It makes me sad though. So I just want to remind everyone out there that farmers do not need extra cats. Over the years many midnight feline drop offs have occured here because people assume that if they can't give away kittens then they will have a happier life on a farm than if taken to a humane society. I have 4 "bitty kitties" that came to us in this way in October. Please know that not all have a happy life- established barn cats, a new road, lack of food if they don't know how to hunt...many other kitties don't make it long. So let me just channel Bob Barker for a minute and remind you to spay or neuter your pet if you personally can't handle a litter of suprise babies. I can't take care of them either, and it breaks my heart when I have to destroy one!