All in all, 2011 was a pretty good year, with a few notable exceptions. The growing season was almost non-existent, I lost way too many beloved chickens and ducks to predators, and our hoop house got destroyed not once, but twice, by freak storms. But I learned valuable lessons from the bad times, such as the importance of taking the safety off when you’re pointing a rifle at a coyote, and that a squishy slug, while utterly repulsive, will make a happy duck’s day.
Below are ten other important things I’ve learned, in no particular order:
10: Enthusiasm does not replace skill when it comes to using power tools.
9: Raccoons suck. Seriously. To your right is pictured pure evil, courtesy of our neighbor’s Game Camera, which I have dubbed “KillCam”. Thanks to my new best friend, we have discovered it was a humongous raccoon that chomped its way through all three of my poor boy ducks in the space of two nights. Game on. Tonight we’re borrowing the same neighbor’s hunting dogs, specifically trained to track raccoons. Yippee ki yay, raccoon. Enjoy 2012 while it lasts.
8: The farm critters eat a more balanced diet than I do, and even practice Yoga. We should all strive to be more like chickens.
7: There’s a reason none of the other famous nature photographers have goats for assistants.
6:You can never have too many seeds.
3: If there’s a limit to how many extension cords you can have in one back yard, we haven’t found it yet.
2: Enthusiasm is a great substitute for actual knowledge when it comes to gardening.
1: You can’t have a proper farm without quails, which is why Gene’s first task in the new year is building a quail pen for me. On an unrelated note, there is a never ending list of animals I’ve discovered you can’t have a proper farm without. Miniature pot-bellied pigs, I’m talking about you.