Weekend Links and Updates

Catching Huckle...while Shaun and Shannon watch.
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"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

James 1:12


Times have been a bit hard on the homestead lately. First, my dear daughter lost her pet rabbit, Pickles. She was an old lady and it was not unexpected, but that doesn't make it less difficult. 

I also spent about a month finding our meat rabbits loose in the yard...definitely a dangerous place for them to be, since we have almost every predator you can imagine. I finally realized the rabbits had figured out how to release themselves from their cages. People, this is unheard of! It began with Bluebelle. I kept finding her cage open - though she wasn't interested in escaping; I always found her hanging out in her cage. Then Huckle disappeared. (Thankfully, I found him in the sheep pasture and we brought him back to safety.) Then some of the kits got loose. (Again, I thankfully recovered them all.) A trail cam revealed the rabbits were bouncing against their cage doors. For fun, presumably. So now all the meat rabbits have locks on their cages (the pet rabbits never try such shenanigans). Clearly, Huckle and Bluebelle are young and smart and need lots of stimulation in their cage, so I keep adding fir cones, toilet paper tubes, etc. to keep them occupied, the little stinkers.

Then, much to our dismay, our Soay ewe, Shannon, disappeared. She just seemed to vanish, much like her lamb did this spring. There was absolutely no sign of a predator. We even thought we heard her bell in the woods once or twice. We hoped against hope that she had somehow leaped the fence (maybe because she was spooked) and we notified all our neighbors in case she showed up on their property. Then, two days later, the last of our sheep, our ram Shaun, disappeared. Again, no sign of a predator.

Shaun and Shannon last spring.

We wondered if a human might be stealing the sheep. However, Soay are very fleet, very shy, and very difficult to catch. They knew us and loved our treats and we would have trouble catching them. I don't think there's any way a stranger could grab them - not to mention it had been wet and there were no signs of tire tracks on either the gravel or the dirt that weren't our own. (We don't live where there are paved streets!) Finally, we decided it must have been a cougar. We are in deer central, here in the woods, so we know there are cougar around. We are just surprised that there were no footprints, no blood, no fur...no sign at all. But there is not another predator in our areas who could take a full grown sheep over the fence without leaving sign behind.

To say we are heartbroken doesn't really begin to cover it. Not seeing them at the pasture gate every morning is just awful. And there's really nothing we can do about cougar. The Department of Wildlife won't do anything about cougar without more proof that one stole our animals. And we would need a 19 foot fence and no trees anywhere near the pasture to make it completely cougar-proof. That's definitely not going to happen. So...we are not sure where we go from here. Maybe this means we can't have large animals on our homestead...which doesn't make us happy. Maybe it means I have to buy and train some livestock guardian dogs...which I really don't want to do. We have also considered putting up a barn and locking everyone up before dusk and only letting them out after dawn. This would reduce the risk of a cougar attack, but might not be enough to deter a determined cat.

I'm sorry to be such a downer today. The happiest news I have is that my husband got that famous virus for the first time. How is this happy news? Well, he's nearly over it and it just felt like a bad cold to him, that's why. He had lots of prayer covering him and we reacted immediately with over the counter and prescription meds. I'm very thankful because he does have seasonable asthma. And so far, no one else in the family has shown symptoms. Thank you, Lord!


* The Christmas season is nearly upon us, and I hope you will consider giving some of my books to your friends and family! Did you know I've written 28 books? Of particular interest to homesteaders are two books on dandelions: The Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook and The Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book. Both have 4.5 stars on Amazon and are priced affordably. I hope you'll check them out! Order Here.

* Get a free 2022 chicken calendar! 

* Got no land? No problem! This woman farms, anyway. 

* Does your state need to change its constitution to add a right to grow/raise food? How bizarre is it that this is necessary???

* Ranchers say the reason beef prices are through the roof is because of meat plants. Ranchers certainly aren't making any money...which is a good reason to buy direct from a local rancher! But some ranchers are also looking to create their own meat plants. 

* A few reasons giving up meat won't save the environment. 

* China tells its citizens to stock up on food now before real food shortages hit. 

The quail are laying away!

Oldies But Goodies:

* Teaching Kids to be Thankful all Year Long

* DIY Steak Fries to die for! 

* Want to homestead, but not sure where to start? Click here! 

* Raising Meat When You Don't Have Acreage

* Depression-era Tips for Today 

* Simple DIY low-sugar (or no-sugar) hot cocoa 

* Keto Thanksgiving Recipes!



  1. I am so sorry to hear of your loss! I have a hard time loosing a chicken to a predator, I can't imagine loosing a pair of rare sheep. I believe that if it were me, I would make plans for a barn or structure of some sort to keep them in overnight. You might want to invest in a Trail Cam to see what predator you may be up against. Hang in there.

  2. Thank you. We do have trail cams, but we live in a heavily wooded, mountainous area. To cover the entire pasture (even though it's not huge) would take hundreds of cameras. There really is no other predator who could take full grown sheep out of the pasture without leaving trace behind.