Category Archives: Homesteading

Has rainy season arrived?

The neighbor’s roof! Not a great picture but I wasn’t going outside!

The month of May was blazingly hot, as it is every year. At the very end of the month, we had a shower or two that sent the campesinos out into their fields to ready the rows for planting. Then June arrived and we’ve been hit with not one, but two, terrific storms. The first storm was so strong that the neighbor’s roof blew off, metal support beams and all. 

The rain brought out all the critters. We’ve been inundated with scorpions in the house. Every night we try to do a thorough wall check for these little buggers. Having been stung before, all of us wish to avoid that painful encounter completely.

Then the mice have been out and about. Fred does his part in the back to try and keep the mouse population under control. George takes credit for Fred’s kills in the morning, as any respectable head dog would do. And delightfully, Manchas has proven herself to be an excellent mouser, despite her small size. Yesterday morning, Cocoa and Fuzz roused me out of bed for their breakfast at the ungodly hour of 4:50 am. I didn’t see Manchas, so I flicked on a few lights and saw she had not one, but two mice in her clutches on the back porch. WHOOP!

Another home invading species that had taken shelter indoors during the rain was the tarantula. The day before yesterday, my son got into the shower and immediately jumped back out for a weapon. He became a broom-wielding naked ninja against a family of spiders, the largest the size of his hand. We think the spiders had been living in the woodpile and slid into the bathroom window to avoid the worst of the wetness. 

Finally, to remove any remaining doubt that the rainy season has begun, the chicatanas have hatched even though it’s a few weeks early. These flying ants are considered a delicacy in many areas of Mexico, but I haven’t been tempted to try them yet.

Unfortunately, due to the sheets of rain that fell during these two storms, any rows that the farmers made have washed away. The ground is so saturated that walking becomes a heavy-booted effort, so the remarking of the rows is extremely slow going. 

With Mexico in the throes of the worst drought in 30 years, the rainy season is received with gleeful anticipation. Here’s hoping that Tlaloc will smile upon his subjects this year. 

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Filed under Alternative Farming, Battling Nature, Homesteading, Native fauna and flora, Water issues

Jolina’s Kids

We’ve been waiting since nearly the moment of conception for Jolina’s kids to be born. They finally arrived and what a story we have here. First, she was busy giving birth in the goat corral and the other nanny goats started head butting her. Jolina has never been accepted by the herd, probably because she is my husband’s favorite. 

If her stomach had allowed it, she would have been already outside the corral with Terry, but she hasn’t been able to do any acrobatics this last week. So my husband and son ran out to save the day. Jolina had a baby half-in, half-out, and scampered out of the corral as fast as her delicate state would let her. 

In short order, Joel and Nina (yes twins) arrived. Jolina had enough of that sort of stuff and ignored her kids for the next two hours. To be fair, she did have a fairly traumatic birth experience. That didn’t stop her from chowing down a good supply of alfalfa though. 

Papa Chivo, AKA my husband, finally held Jolina still so her kids could nurse. Twice more he went out and forced Jolina into submission. I told my husband that I thought Jolina was a dud when it came to motherhood. He was mortally offended. How dare I insult his favorite pet?

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Jolina doing what she does best–eat!

By morning, Jolina was responding to her kids’ cries. My husband tied her in the food corral (otherwise she’d eat everything in sight) and her kids figured out how to help themselves to the milk supply. 

joel and nina

Nina looks just like her mother and Joel looks like Grandaddy Elvis.

Joel and Nina have certainly inherited their mother’s propensity for hollering and her circus tricks. Not 20 minutes after birth, one of the twins was inside the barrica (barrel) set up as a barrier to keep Red from bothering them, while the other was pushing it along. Another rescue was in order before they headed over Niagara Falls in that barrel.

They are good sized and healthy. The only issue we have is where to keep them. Terry had to be moved to the new garden area last night because his hysterical antics were making Jolina even worse. Fuzz is on the back porch. The Puppers are in the back yard. The corral has been divided for Lady and the goats. Red has his own stall. We just don’t have the space for more animals right now! Well, I guess we’ll do what we can.

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

Walking the Dogs

Practicing social distancing means we don’t get out much. However, now that the chicken feather guy’s lady dog is no longer in heat, our doggie walks again encompass the entire block in La Yacata. 

Walking The Puppers and walking Terry are two completely different experiences. We can’t walk them together because George and Terry still haven’t made peace with each other. So two walks it is.

All of the dogs have learned to spell w-a-l-k. Their excitement when it is time is evident. Fred and George start racing around the back yard. Terry starts whining. 

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The Puppers get the first walk. Sometimes they are so excited they forget to wait for my son to clip the leash on. When everybody is hooked up, out we go. Fred clearly has the superior nose. Sniffing the air when the coyotes have been by, sniffing the corners for new pee messages, sniffing the grass as it starts to grow. He even sniffed out a 6-foot long snake the other day.

George is the point guard. He takes his guarding and pee spraying the parameter very seriously. Sometimes, he checks out what Fred is sniffing, decides if it is worthy or not, and then pees all over it. 

Occasionally, a happy white lady boxer dog is in La Yacata. More often than usual these days since everybody is tired of their own company and head to La Yacata to congregate clandestinely. White Lady Dog is so excited to see The Puppers. She bounds up and stands nose to nose. Everyone is completely still except for furious tail wagging. Then she bounds away. 

Every day, they look forward to the corner where sometimes they see Lady White Dog and her “come up and see me sometime boys” invitation. Fred whines, sniffing away for any trace of her while George scans the horizon. 

terry

Then we circle home and switch out the dogs. As soon as Terry sees the leash, he begins this high pitched barking that only ends once he’s at the front door, ready to go. He leaps out of the gate like some sort of racehorse. Sometimes, my son isn’t fast enough for him, so he grabs the leash and tries to walk himself.

He sprints as far as the leash allows him to go, which is pretty far because I bought him a longer leash recently. When he reaches the end, the abrupt stop jerks him and my son’s arm. This happens every single walk. 

As we head up the incline, Terry seems to believe he must pull my son up the road. Maybe he’s not satisfied with the speed. We used to think that maybe he was hot on the trail of something, but have learned that’s not true. There isn’t anything pressing ahead that he is interested in investigating. He just plows on ahead. 

Now the terrain in many areas of La Yacata means jogging isn’t an option. I told my son that if he had a pair of skates (and a level area) Terry would pull him along for miles. Not gonna happen here though.

So my son and Terry have a miserable walk, each fully convinced the other is misbehaving. My son, for going to slow, and Terry for trying to race ahead. Terry is oblivious to everything except George’s pee spots, which he makes his own. 

The dogs at the corner don’t bark at The Puppers when we pass. However, perhaps because Terry looks like some sort of wolf or coyote, they sound the alarm, which Terry ignores. 

The White Lady Dog came up to Terry the other day and I swear, Terry had that look a 10-year-old boy might have if a girl came up and gave him a kiss. EWWW! Cooties! 

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Soon enough, we arrived back home. Terry is still in command of the front area, while The Puppers have the back. My son must go through the back to reassure The Puppers. They’ve started this strange ritual where they just have it as if they are gladiators in training trying to impress the master when my son arrives after his walk with Terry. This free-for-all goes on until the moment my son goes into the house. Then it’s back to lounging under the trees in the shade, waiting for the afternoon walk.

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading