TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Tue, Sept. 17

Life in the Slow Lane: Summertime

Summertime, and the living is easy.

And humid. Okay, I know our 35 to 40 percent humidity here in Arizona passes for tolerable in most places, but everything is relative. At least we've had our first summer thunderstorm, although all I got was the noise and enough rain to speckle the truck. However, it was enough to cause me to declare that our Monsoon season has begun. The weatherpeople may not agree with me, but I find them equally as unreliable. Seriously? A declaration that it's going to rain in four minutes while the sky over my head is bright blue? Piffle.

Although my gardens love the rise in moisture, with the humidity come the No-see-ums. Lordy, but they've been horrible on the farm this year. Walking outside in the late afternoon means taking your life in your hands, or at least the potential of serious blood loss. They don't bother me as much as they bother that new guy in my life, who welts with every bite. We've started spraying him down in a mixture of coconut oil and Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. It seems to work for the bugs but the strong scent pretty much keeps me away as well. Poor guy

Today, the temperature today is pushing back into the 90s after a couple of cool days, and everything on the farm has hunkered down in their favorite cool spot. The puppies chose one of the grassy alleys in the front pasture. My massively pregnant ewes went into the back pasture. They've settled down into the storage area behind the turkey barn. I think the pallets I keep there make them feel protected. For sure the area is close enough to the ditch to catch the water-cooled air and stays shaded all day.

While they're back there, they speak to each other in grunts. I swear they're saying "oh geez, how much longer are we going to be like this?" The answer to that is around 28 days, although Tiny looks ready to pop at any moment. I remain really worried that she's again carrying three.

I haven't had a chance to report that I brought in thirty Cornish cross chicks almost two weeks ago. I had to do this because I have this great new brooder coop and that home-built chicken tractor, and I just have to use them!

These chicks are the kind that end up in every supermarket's meat case. I was surprised at how strong and healthy they were when they arrived. There was no pasty butt and they took to eating instantly. And they have never stopped. Their dedication to getting food into their bellies can be pretty comical. I've more than once found them packed into my homemade pvc pipe feeder. It's a 4 foot length of 4" pvc with the top third of the pipe cut off, and ends glued on to keep the food from spilling. All you can see of them is a line of fat little chick butts. They are supposed to be fully grown in 8 weeks, and I believe it. If I stand long enough and watch, I swear I can see them expanding..

In another week they'll be ready to put into the chicken tractor and out on grass. Then what?

Hmm, rabbits I think. That's right. Call me crazy or call it a wild hare of an idea, but I think I'm going to try raising rabbits. I've already figured out the perfect place to keep them. All I need now is to make a few cages and a structure to hold them, and a mobile coop or two.

Summertime, and the living is easy?

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