(For those who read Cherie’s blog, I wrote this on Monday, before she put up her similar post and without knowing she was doing it. I am not just copying her. Although doing so wouldn’t be a bad idea.)
A neighbor once warned us that we really shouldn’t keep a horse in the same pasture with goats. The horse, he said, will hurt the goats. But our goats get along great with Rowan, their thoroughbred pasture-mate. The only problem I ever had was when I took our billy Johnny out of the pasture. Rowan was so upset over Johnny’s leaving that I thought he was going to break through the fence.
Cherie has a big grey cat that loves to sleep curled up next to our black Lab Ginny. We’ve kept pigs and horses in the same pasture with cows. Our chickens wander among our dogs and cats, and are never bothered by them. Cherie and I laugh about how well-adjusted our animals are to one another and wonder whether there is something in the air on White Flint that causes that.
Perhaps the strangest species mingling that I’ve seen occured last weekend. As I was walking toward our henhouse I noticed something unusual hanging out near the gate to the area where we put them up at night. As I got closer I saw that it was a large wild turkey gobbler, evidently coming to help himself to some laying mash, or maybe to court my hens. The chickens didn’t seem to mind having him around, and he didn’t seem particularly concerned with me. After checking me out, he wandered off into the woods. Later that day I saw him a couple more times, hanging out with the chickens. Eventually Ginny spotted him. Knowing that he didn’t belong there, she chased him off.
Maybe he’ll come back. Maybe I’ll end up putting him the freezer. But I doubt it. We’re already have enough meat put away to last us for another year, and I’d rather not have to bother with cleaning him.
But I’m sure I haven’t seen the last animal cross-cultural exchange on our farm.
There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere.