The weekend previous to the time of this writing, both my phone and e-mail were inundated by inquiries as to the cancelling of the Saugeen Valley Fur and Feather Fanciers’ spring Buy, Sell, Trade Day.

Let me tell you, this was not forced on those making the decision. After considerable thought and back and forth chitchat, it was decided this would be done as a common sense courtesy, supporting those who are consciously containing the avian influenza outbreak in the Woodstock area.

Most of the emails I received were “is it on or is it off” inquiries from those hoping to sell whatever birds they had in excess. Most phone calls leaned heavily to those who wanted to pick up a couple of bantams to scamper around their backyards and gardens to eat up the insects, eliminating the need for pesticides. If you are either a buyer or seller, don’t be afraid to let me know what you have or need. I may be able to solve a few problems by linking some of you folks up.

Meanwhile, folks, I saw a hummingbird yesterday buzzing around my daffodils. Later in the day, on glancing down our back lane, a big Tom turkey was running along the back pasture fence trying to find a hole that he could conveniently crawl through. I’m sure if I could have heard his mutterings they would have definitely been “Don’t fence me in!” That didn’t happen.

When his harem of smaller-bodied hens, having squeezed through, started to disappear across the pasture field, he appeared rather frustrated and started to run back and forth in panic. When I approached him on my scooter, Jenney, my jitney, he woke up to reality and flew up over the fence. He did not land until he was far beyond the scattered hens.

The following morning, while scanning the landscape from my upstairs window, as I usually do while trying to wake up, I was not surprised to see a trio of sandhill cranes take to the sky just beyond our newly-landscaped pond. Their flight curved only slightly so I kind of felt that they had a general idea as to where they were going.

I felt it rather unique in seeing, in less than 24 hours, the smallest, the mid-size, as well as the largest of all the birds that frequent our farm. Kind of a birdwatcher’s paradise, don’t you think?

Our front porch is now loaded down with flats of seedlings that were pre-started in the house and are now planted in four-inch pots. As soon as they harden up a little and all danger of frost has gone, they will be transplanted in rows out to the three large vegetable gardens that have sprung up over the past three years.

The garden areas, about three acres in all, in order to eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, have been top-dressed with thick layers of manure from the barn.

This mixture from chicken, pigs and goats leads me to believe that we may have to hire a tree-topping lumberjack just to pick the ears of corn. As well, the possibility of hiring a couple of bulldozer operators to root out the potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas looks promising.

I can dream, can’t I?

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins