Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pests... Meat Product

One morning I was fencing in some fresh pasture for the sheep when our neighbor found me. She said that while the sheep were pastured near her house, she'd woken up before dawn to the rustling of angry, growling cats nearby. A man with experience in the forest, who also heard the growling says with certainty that they were Bobcats. Apparently, the bobcats came to where the woods border the sheep paddock, but their meal was frustrated by our electric fencing. Getting zapped would account for the angry growling. When Chris Bernier, a wildlife biologist, came by with some food scraps for our pigs, he confirmed that there are indeed Bobcats in this area, but Fisher cats are common too. He explained that one way to improve the odds for our animal's survival in general, is to keep them out in the open where would-be predators are afraid to risk being seen.

Lucy and I hatched this farm plan based on our willingness, our resources, and our abilities. Encounters with large predators entered into our awareness only so far. We knew that with rotational grazing we could do right by the land, livestock, and consumer. But we only had a cursory understanding that the flexible electric fences we use also protect our investments. What we didn't know was that we would be learning much more about the intersection of wildlife and farming. Vegetable growers deal with predators, or pests, all the time, but on a different scale. Either way, the pests meet the product at eye level.

Thanks for your interest, Oliver

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