The Buffet Line…

Every afternoon around 4ish, the girls leave the piney fenced area and do what I interpret, as lining up for the evening buffet.  Starting at one corner of the barn, they form a line and forage up against where the long grasses meet the building. Slowly, they make their way down the building where they then turn right and eat their way down the fence line.

This tall grassy space is completely contrived. It was inspired by free birds — mourning doves particularly — who, during this very hot summer, seemed to thoroughly appreciate the tallest grassy area where I simply could not mow between the tree and the fence. So, I morally and ethically decided to control my unintended gentrification of the farm and I began to keep things a bit wild and untamed in the places and spaces where I could. It’s been maybe a bit too untidy in the wrong places, but, oh well.

Although, the free animals really appreciated the changes, one did not. My next door neighbor is a clean and tidy sort of man. He mows outside my fenced area when he believes it needs it (I do pay him) and he has requested I take down some old cedar logs in the front, so he can trim behind them. We’ve had many conversations about how much more tidy the place would be if everything was flattened out, dead logs hauled away, the old pond filled with dirt and flattened and everything trimmed. In other words, a really sanitized space. Kind of, sort of… like his rather suburbanized property — even though its RURAL. He does have a garden in his backyard and he has no problem shooting any animal that comes near it. I told him that I throw all kinds of produce out and about on my property, so his small nuisance mammals are more than welcome to come over here.

My mower was on the fritz a few weeks ago and the grass grew much too long for — the little mower that could barely — so I paid my neighbor to mow inside the property. When he was done, I was feeling a little sick. Every blade of grass that could be trimmed down — was. I usually keep a nice long border of prairie grasses (weeds in his view) around the “pond” and he actually drove his zero-turn onto the inside of the bank and trimmed it down to nothingness! I suppose most people would have been thrilled.

He has offered on multiple occasions to freely take his bulldozer thingy and get rid of all the fallen trees, dead logs, and other natural stuff growing or decomposing in the back of my property, where the free mice and other small mammals live. I know the free mice live there because that’s where I put the ones that I live catch. He says everything will be flat, neat, and clean (as if that would convince me)…I just nod and put him off for another day.

I really like the guy, even though on this point and a few others, we are worlds apart (he can’t stand the dogs…and tsk tsk’s my decision to get chickens.) He’s a hardworking,  trim, neat, and clean guy. What can I say?  If I listened to him though, my chickens wouldn’t have their buffet line, and the mourning doves wouldn’t have a cool place to nap in the hot afternoon. And what about the mice?