Unusual farm guests not always unwelcome
There is something unseemly about seeing two peahens perched on top of my chicken coop. The chickens inside think so, too. They hoot and holler taking offense at such an untoward intrusion among birds of a feather. They have, however, grown less interested and even bolder over the last six weeks as the peahens become more of a feature.
They emerge in the early morning from the creek where they must roost, walk across the pasture and fly to the roof of the coop. I have no idea how they found their way to our farm. Now I want a peacock! Wouldn’t that be a sight, a great fanned fowl picking his way through the cow pasture to join the ladies, all three acting as some sort of weather vane screeching and howling as they do. The rooster would be put to shame, though I prefer the crow over the cry.
Unusual animal sightings make farming fun. Joe Lucas in Athens County had a large Chianina steer who would sit like a dog watching his fellow herd mates, quietly chewing his cud. I’ve heard of Sitting Bull but never sitting steer.
We have a cow who acts like a dog, Pavlov’s dog that is. When her feed gets low in the milk stanchion, she lifts her nose and nudges the knife switch above her to release more grain. And she is rewarded.
Romney’s dog Seamus may have ridden in a kennel on the car roof, but I drove to Columbus with two kittens cuddled in the wheel well of my truck. They had crawled in there and stayed glued at 60 miles an hour from northwest Delaware County to downtown High Street. Big diesel buses passed on each side of my tiny truck spewing fumes and air brakes into that wheel hole each time they slowed or stopped. My son whose sign shop is on Spring and High helped get them out; they rode back to the farm in a box behind my seat. As two beautiful calico cats, they now appear to lord their city travels over their stay-at-home, do-nothing-but-lay around country cousins.
I’ll end with an animal joke. A woman walked into a vet’s office holding an apparent dead duck. She asked the vet, however, to examine her duck. He assured her it was dead. She insisted he do something. So he took the duck in the back room and brought in a black Lab from the kennel. The Lab walked around the duck, sniffed it and lost interest. Then he brought in the office cat who jumped up on the table, walked around the duck and jumped back down. The vet told the lady her duck was indeed dead and the cost would be $195! She chocked, “Why so much?” He responded, wanting to assure her he had done something, “I gave the duck a Lab test and a cat scan.”
Sylvia Zimmerman is the owner of Fulton Creek Jersey Cheese in Richwood. She holds two graduate degrees and, when not working on her farm or pursuing her interest in sustainable agriculture, writes her own blog.