Friday, May 20, 2011

106 and counting....

It has been 106 days since El Paso has gotten rain.
Gardens require daily watering.
Animals are coming down out of the mountains in their desperation for water and food. Last week a mountain lion was shot in town at a car wash.
Coyotes are wandering our neighborhood almost every night. The goats get hysterical, of course, when they smell or hear them, so I frequently find myself getting out of bed in the wee hours to check on our animals.
Two nights ago, I saw a large male coyote trying to get over the fence into the yard.
One nerve-wracking thing is that they have found many of the coyotes in this area are actually cross bred with Mexican wolves (a smaller variety than a timber wolf) which makes them less fearful and more aggressive.
The large male that was trying to scale our fence was definitely not fearful of me. He stared right at me and didn't run (okay, he loped) until after our dogs went after him!
The county has a bounty on coyotes and I wish I could have shot that coyote! There were 5 or 6 other coyotes with him, so I suppose that's his pack.
They were certainly interested in our goats and the chickens! Folks that live further out than we do have told me that coyotes have been making forays into their yards and chicken coops, etc.
A lot of small pets have come up missing recently, too. Cats, small dogs, that sort of thing. Our dogs are larger and they sleep inside (yet another reason to properly house train pets!), but they will wake us up if they hear a noise outside.
The county is also reminding people to have their dogs shots (rabies especially) up-to-date.  I suspect, that with as many wild animals coming down from the mountains, there may be an upswing in rabies in our area.
Coyotes and other predators can spread other diseases besides rabies, too. So, a darn good reason for keeping the shots for your dogs and cats that wander outside up to date!
I do hope it rains soon.  I am watering my little box gardens faithfully, but the absolute complete dryness beyond dryness is not treating them well. I despair over my tomato plants and I am afraid my cabbage and bok choy may not make it.
Hay prices have sky-rocketed around here.We give the goats alfalfa and the fella was able to get 20 bales a couple of weeks ago and he is trying to find 20 more bales, but people are holding on to what they have pretty tightly. Several local small farm type folks are thinking of driving to New Mexico or even Arizona to get a good sized load at good prices. He looked into prices in central Texas and east Texas, but the prices there are almost as bad as they are here.New Mexico is only two miles away from us, so the trip to get hay from there would be faster and closer.
In the meantime, I have heard from family and friends back East that the rain there has totally bogged down all the fields and farmers have still not gotten all the hay fields planted. In past years it would be mid-June when they got their first cutting!
 Gardens are a bit water-logged for those folks, too. One friend back east said she has had to start over on her tomato and pepper plants as roots have rotted from her garden being inundated with so much rain.
I guess all we can  hope for is good fall gardens at this point!


  1. I wish I could send you some of my rain! I have to re-plant some of my small melons and cukes once this bought of rain stops. I'm thinking of buying my birds some raincoats or umbrellas!

  2. We've having the exact opposite happen here with the percipitation....TOO much of it. Tomato & pepper plants are water logged and I still haven't been able to plant all my seedlings! I'm afraid they won't take off from being in those little jiffy peat pellet things for so long!

    Good luck with the coyote problem....I'm glad that your county is at least "letting" people shoot them. Not that I'm a "hey, lets just shoot everything that comes by the house" kind'a gal, but they can & will pose a threat to you and your livestock when times get hard.

  3. Carolyn, we are so close to the Mexican border that we have to assume that some of the coyotes are those that have crossed. Fish, Game & Wildlife officials know this and recognize the dangers these animals can pose to humans. There are still a lot of rabies cases in Mexico and coyotes are one of the animals that spread it. A lot of people south of the border don't vaccinate household dogs and cats and there are MANY strays there, too.Because of the high stray dog population there has been a lot of mixed breeding with coyotes and the "coy-dogs" frequently join up with packs as well. Once in a while you'll see people selling coy-dogs as pets!
    Of course, once that cute pup grows up and shows it's wild side, the new owners frequently dump them in the desert. That gives us partially domesticated coyote mixes that gravitate to human habitation in their search for food. Big problem out here.
    Coyotes are very opportunistic feeders as well...a wild rabbit, road kill, garbage can, a garden or a chicken coop...just looks like food to them! My neighbor caught a coyote eating tomatoes in her garden last year!

  4. Yikes. I've never seen a coy-wolf before.

    Praying for rain for you guys. I hope the wild critters leave your farm critters alone.


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