Micro speak

Le hasard favorise l’esprit preparé.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

- Louis Pasteur

Great gobs of goat grazing

Our goats spent the winter on lush rye grass, but are now back to work doing what they do best... cleaning up the underbrush in the forest beside our lake. They love eating the greenbrier that grows in abundance. If you chew a young leaf it has the flavor of black-eyed peas. In a few weeks the goats will have all the underbrush picked clean.

Skunks no more

I guess the ammonia worked. All of that activity must've been skunks movin' on out. We've neither heard nor smelled anything skunklike since.


Not only is there a skunk under my house. There is an entire family of Mephitis mephitis (literal translation - "double foul odor") in residence directly beneath my bedroom floor. Amber and I listened to their loving squeals last night. I first realized that we had these new roommates two nights ago. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to some strange thumps on the side of the house. Then I heard what sounded like a cat shrieking. I got up to investigate and then heard grunting, snarling, and movement under our bathroom floor. Visual identification was not necessary as the olfactory evidence was overwhelming. My first thought was that our cat, Harry, who has recently injured one of his legs, had been nabbed by a rabid skunk and was being consumed beneath my feet. I went to the front door and called the cats. Both Harry and Holly came to the door. Harry had lived to see another day.

So in the interest of science and clean air I did a little internet research on removing skunks from under a house. Being that this is baby season I assumed that mommy and daddy skunk had brought their little skunklings with them. So merely trapping the adults would not solve the problem. Then I would soon have rotting skunkling emanating up into the bedroom. Surely that would be worse than the current situation. So I decided to take the approach of coaxing my new skunk family into moving to new quarters. The cheapest approach to this involves mothballs and ammonia. Fight odor with odor. If these materials should fail, for $30 plus shipping I can purchase 3 lbs of granulated fox urine that is sure to do the trick! I couldn't find any mothballs at our local grocery store, but they had ample supplies of ammonia. So I purchased some, poured two quarts of the stuff into one of our sprayers and proceeded to dispense it at all points of access under our house, paying careful attention to the suspicious hole near our bedroom.

This application did not instigate an immediate response. But around 8:30 last night a litany of shrieks arose from the bedroom floor. I'm really not sure what happened. Hopefully they were moving out, but could have just been feeding time or mommy and daddy leaving to scrounge up some dinner. It was certainly the sound of young ones. We did not hear any other noise later in the night. I have another two quarts of ammonia on standby in case there is more evidence of habitation. In the meantime we'll try to enjoy the faint musky odor that still lingers.

Berry berry cold

"Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning." - George Carlin

Looks like we dodged a bullet last night. The forecasts ranged from 28-34 F, but the actual temp never went below 40. The berry gods cut us a break. Visions of all our baby berries dropping to the ground haunted us most of yesterday. Dire reports of snow flurries in Mount Pleasant and vast armies of mercury plagued snowmen rampaging across the countryside in a berry seeking frenzy turned out to be only a case of the peasantry gone mad with angst. Rumors. Merely rumors.

All of this worry over the weather only serves to reinforce one of our universe's great truisms... the only thing dependable about the weather is the weatherman's inability to predict it. And sometimes that is a good thing. Berry season is still on as planned. Carry on.

Nanny doles out some wisdom

Amber's grandma (Nanny) had the pleasure of seeing Kaya for the first time last Friday. In the parlance of East Texas... she was just tickled. Nanny took the opportunity to share some of her own stories of child raising. Here is a sample for your enjoyment.

Dad and Javier working hard

While yours truly is occupied with many non-farm things, Dad is running the day-to-day of the farm like a champ. His marketing prowess is so keen and his reach so large that even Whole Foods called today with an interest in purchasing some Greer Farm products.

Speaking of farm products, I guess since this is a farm blog I should probably mention the farm a little more often. Our berry plants are looking great so far. We've had much more moisture than last year and that has made a big difference in the plants. All the new and replacement blueberries are planted and mulched.

Dad and Javier just installed new drip irrigation hose on both blueberries and blackberries. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the irrigation problems we had last summer. The Dangerous Duo are now working on a trellis system for the thorny blackberries. For some reason the Chickasaw (erect, thorny type) are not living up to their description and do not stand up very well on their own. This makes for a nightmare when mowing between rows and certainly doesn't make the picking any easier. Our other variety, Apache (erect, thornless), stand up perfectly. Just another one of those joys of farming I guess.