Friday, May 15, 2009

Country/Suburban Collision

Been busy this week. Grandpa is here, building shelters for sheep and horses. There have been meetings, and a field trip to a dairy farm. We took advantage of a pre-school tour of the dairy farm where we buy milk, bringing Justice and the Seanster along. They'd been there before, so they "didn't learn anything," but the ice cream afterwards was good!

Mary and I have also been fighting a cold. Or...have we? This week we have visitors; Mr. Bun and the Pigs. A petsitting client has left us his rabbit and three guinea pigs this week. Is the cold an odd coincidence? I think not. My money is on allergies.

Our sometimes-neighbors are here. The farm next door is owned by a couple from the suburbs who come out on the weekends to garden and enjoy their place. We don't talk much... He likes to crow at our roosters. They crow, and he crows back. He also shares bird calls with other birds in his woods. The not-so-nice thing about this is that the roosters crow back. They go back and forth for hours, sometimes all day. It. Makes. Me. Tense. Rooster calls are bad enough, because they can mean, "I'm loud and obnoxious," or they can mean, "AACK! Hawk!" I don't know which it is, and I get tired of trying to figure it out. And I'm sure it takes some time off of the roosters' lives as well. Mentioning it to the neighbor isn't gong to help much; I suspect he does it because he knows it irritates us and he doesn't want us having our "obnoxious, smelly birds," anyway.

Part of the joy of living in our part of the country is dealing with suburban people. I have nothing against the suburbs; I grew up there. But there is a mindset we've noticed. Oh, we love the country, say the suburbanites. We go visit there, we pick apples, strawberries, it's so wonderful to have space and fresh air. That's fine, as far as it goes. But, occasionally, one of them decides to move here; we did. Half the time, they're not prepared for the distances to conveniences, and spend ample time trying to convince local government to change and bring in some of the "better things" about suburban life. Pretty soon the country becomes yet another suburb; that's what happened to the area where I grew up.

Sometimes people move out and expect that space and fresh air to be consistent, always theirs. They love moving into a subdivision that shares frontage on a country highway with a produce stand. Until that produce stand has to expand to meet the growing demand for fresh vegetables. One near us increased it's sweet corn fields, and began using a "cannon" to scare off the crows and raccoons. People in that local subdivision began complaining about the noise (we're talking a couple booms a day) and the "message it was sending to the kids about animals being a problem." (?) In the end, Farmer won out, but remarked that his next move would be further west. They're gonna lose their farmstand in the foreseeable future, because they didn't like the methods he used to protect their dinner vegetables!

Back to our neighbor, who enjoyed free eggs and free chickens for a couple of years. One year, he began complaining about the "obnoxious smell." I will grant him that, that year, the birds didn't smell good. We had found an organic feed that was locally produced. Since we are very close to DeKalb ag, and, in fact, the feed producer shared frontage with them, he used sorghum instead of corn in his feed. He was worried about pollen drift from GMO corn in the area, and substituted sorghum so he could continue to use the organic label. Chickens, apparently, become more odoriferous as they digest sorghum. We learned this in spades. After we quit using that feed, our neighbor continued to complain, telling us we hadn't "asked him for permission to grow chickens in the first place." (?) He took his complaints to the county health department and zoning board, both of which told him we weren't doing anything we weren't legally allowed to do. So, since we continue to raise chickens,(maybe 20 laying hens and 2 or 3 batches of 50 broiler birds each per year) he doesn't talk to us anymore.

We're devastated.

And now the phone is starting to ring, and I must begin my day. Talk to you soon!


Kim said...

Don't forget about the suburbanites who let their dogs run free because it's the country.

Those dogs then come torture your dogs, causing them to bark, which then causes those same suburbanites to call animal control over your barking dogs! Of course those same loose dogs go after your chickens and chase your horses which causes all kinds of trouble!

I'm ready to move to the middle of nowhere to get some peace!

Melody said...

Oh, yeah...the dogs!

Dumping animals in the country is a popular "sport." Around here, if a dog doesn't have a collar, locals will probably shoot it, thinking it's feral.

Our own cat was most likely dumped with her mom when she was a kitten, according to our vet. She was too eager for human company when we picked her up, and she knew how to use a litter box. Not common for a feral-born cat.

Elephantschild said...

"message it was sending to the kids about animals being a problem."ROFLOL.

Yeah, far be it from me to assert that cutesy-wootsy racoons and crows EATING MY LIVELIHOOD is a "problem."

Maybe we should just let the fancy-pants suburbanites starve for a winter.