The New Neighbors

Back in June, we learned that an old friend of FD’s had purchased the farm ground west and south of the pecan orchard. We heard he would be putting in wheat for winter cattle grazing on the upper south fields, and would sprig Bermuda grass on the lower river bottom fields.  We were thrilled about this. This man had been an important mentor and good friend to FD since he was a young boy, and he was one of the first people I met when I moved to Oklahoma. I hoped that he would allow me to roam the fields and river area freely. It would be great to have such a vast area to hike with my camera, and maybe if I was able to frequent the area enough, I could keep the deer poachers out of the area as well. With our new neighbor’s blessing, I planned to be the pesky photographer lady roaming the land every chance I got this fall and winter!

The orchard is a wild and woolly place this year, but the deer love the cover!

A few weeks later, the news was even better – our friend gave us the hunting lease on the property. Of course, since everything west of town to the river is city limits, there is no hunting allowed, but now I would be able to roam the property, drive the buggy to the river, and set up stands where I could sit and watch for wildlife to photograph! Being able to traverse the area with the electric buggy would save my legs, and allow me more time for photography. I could tote my iPad and write while I waited and watched. I could check fences and just keep an eye on things. I wondered if I might manage to run the coyotes off if I frequented the property enough. But mostly, I felt the deer and all wildlife would be better protected.

And so the very first week of our lease agreement, I happened to be at our lower west end of the property on a Monday, and heard water running. The old stock tank that our friend inherited from the previous owner had a horizontal crack running about a foot down from the top rim. Water had been pouring out from the gash maybe a couple of hours when I found it. I quickly went to the breaker box and shut it down and called our neighbor to let him know. He said he would get a new tank out pronto and was glad I called. He had checked on his cattle two days prior and it would have been another week before he would be able to check on them again. He thanked me for being a good neighbor.

On daily rounds checking the west end, I usually find the neighbors visiting the water hole before setting out to graze.
There is a lot of shade on this leased property. The “Island” is the most popular spot for the cattle. It’s close to the stock tank near our gate and it’s surrounded by lots of good eats!
Oscar and Lollipop are fascinated by the cattle. Lollipop usually stays behind Oscar, just in case!!
I get curious looks each time I pull up in the electric buggy.

FD has since posted “Leased” signs and “No Hunting” signs at the gates to our friend’s property. I make rounds every few days in the buggy to check on our new “neighbors”. Oscar and Lollipop love to ride along, but they are not quite sure what to think of these big, plant-eating beasts now roaming the land next door. Some days I leisurely check fences, picking up trash along the way. Early mornings, I make the rounds on our own property, and I usually see my new friends at the stock tank just on the other side of the fence. This autumn and winter, when the weeds aren’t so tall and invasive, I will walk further to the river boot and do some hiking and investigating in the woodlands.

The south end of the leased property is an area I look forward to exploring along the river.
Leased land looking north to river. That first transmission structure is where I cross the fence into the “boot” area of the river (left). The boot is a snarl of vegetation, but is fascinating to explore. One can easily get lost in the boot.
Leased property looking north and east along the river.
The red outline is the area I’ll be exploring on the leased property! I will want to take the buggy to our west end and park if I want to hike to the river. It wouldn’t do to park the buggy on the leased property since cattle are curious and they’d slobber all over the buggy and goodness knows what they could damage while I was gone!  I do take the buggy around the entire leased property to check fences and pick up trash.

I remember when we moved to this ten acres, I thought the area was huge and I found wonderment everywhere in the canyon and woods behind our home. When we bought the adjoining pecan orchard, and our property became 62.5 acres, I was elated to have such a diverse area to investigate and roam. I know it all like the back of my hand now. This lease opens up a vast area to explore… and with that, an opportunity to observe and study wildlife in another dimension. I plan to be a good steward of the land, and appreciative and helpful to our friend and neighbor.

I learned something new as I traversed to the other watering hole on the south end of the leased property recently – turtles get moisture from, and stay cool in cattle manure!

© 2018 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


40 thoughts on “The New Neighbors

    1. Oh, you would ask. I was wondering about the Eastern red cedar, but I think there is no mistake about their identity; and they are not something you would be interested in. So much of Oklahoma looks so similar. Although I do not know what the trees are in the background, they look familiar. I did not see the pecan trees foliated, and the blackjack oaks were defoliating while we were there, but I have seen many pictures. I SO want to get back to Oklahoma.

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          1. Wow! What a great read, and your perspective made me smile. I came to Oklahoma from Nebraska, and like you, I appreciated things here that other’s overlooked or poo poo’ed. As a landowner now, and having been here 28 years, I haven’t changed much the way I look at the landscape and plant life. It’s an amazing and diverse state. I loved that photo from Winslow Arizona… I would never have recognized you!

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          2. Goodness! I could go on and on about that trip! I do not get out much, not even in California. Every place between here and there was so fascinating. It was exactly how I expected it to be from studying prior to the trip, but was fascinating nonetheless.

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    1. You can bet I’ll be out there with the camera. I’m hoping to have plenty of time this winter to explore and also make time to sit, wait and observe. The river is such a diverse and beautiful area.

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  1. Your luck just keeps getting better. I am thrilled that you have additional land to explore. Do be careful when it is hunting season. Surprising poachers can be dangerous and should you encounter a “fruit cake” it might not be a good thing. I worry about you, Lori, I hope you do not become over confident.

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    1. Things have been going well. We also let a young man cut some of the Bermuda grass and weeds in the orchard – which helped both of us out. He needed the hay and we didn’t have to bother with mowing. So many wonderful things have turned up with this additional land.

      I’ll be careful, Yvonne. It’s good to know now, that not only the game warden has my back, but also the new landowner. And of course, FD will be working in the area a good bit too. We have a lot of work to do on the west end of the property.

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    2. I am always careful about my presence, and I carry my cell, and a weapon just in case. We have cameras in the area now, and FD helps to patrol it. It’s good to know also that not only does the game warden have our back with this poaching problem but also the new landowner. He wants his cattle protected.

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  2. What a wonderful development to have a friend buy the neighbouring property. Our immediate neighbours have sold. We didn’t have much to do with them, but they were very quiet. Have heard some things about the new people due to settle early next year. Hope we end up with good neighbours too. I’m still having to deal with neighbours two paddocks away are building a brand-new house on the ridge. While I can’t see it from our house, it is visible from the rest of the property. After two and half years of looking at rolling hills, I’m finding it hard to accept. Two and half years of peace, which I hope will continue.

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    1. What a disappointment to have your view changed in such a way. I hope you get good neighbors. About the only problem we have with neighbors is a lot of trash and rubbish to deal with, and of course the big dogs next door. It’s made me realize that doing wildlife rehab probably isn’t a good idea anymore. It’s not natural to raise orphans next to big, barking dogs. We roll with the punches don’t we? The flow of life isn’t always pleasant, giving us challenges all along the way. I hope though, that there is peace for all of us, despite the disappointments.

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    1. I’ll make sure to keep the photographs and video coming so you can have a virtual tour! You know there is something to the “electric buggy” ride through the woodlands. One bumps along the trails fairly quietly, and there’s nothing like the scent of the woodland vegetation and soil. Nothing like the wind or breeze, the cool or humid, and the sound of the birds or the rustle of leaves. But then… ugh, there are the insects and pollen from weeds! I wish I could take you on a drive too… I think you would enjoy it. 😀

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    1. I loved that photo too, Henrie! They’re such curious beasts. Can you believe you can hear them ripping off the leaves of vegetation and actually hear them chewing away? They’re just mammoth – I love to hear them plodding off to graze for the day.

      Everything is good. Mama and her triplets are still visiting. I believe they spend a lot of time in the orchard where there is a lot of cover this year. Finally, we are getting some good rains, influenced by tropical storms from the south. It’s a special time of year with the change of seasons. I hope you are doing well, my friend!

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  3. I laughed at the look in Lollipop’s eye in that buggy photo. It’s caution personified.

    I’m curious whether people up there have begun using purple paint as a sign of posted land. I’m not sure where or when it started, but it’s common here now, and I’ve seen it in Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas as well. The advantage is that on larger spreads particularly, purple-tipped fence posts can serve as a notice of posted property when a sign might be missed. I see it sometimes along rivers or creeks that flow through private property, too. A purple blaze here and there on a tree is less obtrusive — and less expensive — than fencing, and it helps hikers and kayakers know where they’re welcome and where they’re not. Hunters, too. “I didn’t see the sign” doesn’t work when purple’s everywhere.

    Your comment about the turtles seeking moisture in manure reminded me of butterflies “mud-puddling” to get minerals. There certainly are some interesting behaviors out there.

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    1. Ha ha! I noticed that Lollipop looked wary in that photo. She’s such a sweet and funny addition to our home.

      You know someone mentioned purple paint on leased land, in one of my long ago posts. I’ll have to check with FD on that. It would be a simple way to make sure the message of posted property wasn’t missed somehow. Thank you for mentioning this.

      You know, I didn’t think about the mineral and nutritional value to manure. That could have been another reason the turtle was there. It’s been interesting with this venture with wildlife to observe how scat is so very important in the ecosystem.

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  4. I was having happy-for-you thoughts as I read along, but when I got to the last picture I burst into flames, I mean laughter. Later, when I recover, I’ll go back and read again, smiling still.

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    1. I couldn’t resist putting the photo of the “green” turtle in the post. It was a very unexpected discovery while I was tootling around the leased property. That’s what I love about exploring at a leisurely place – you see the little things you might miss otherwise. There are lots of oddities out there worth looking at and wondering about.

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    1. I hope we won’t see any poachers either. Now that there are cattle on the place (deer aren’t so fond of cattle) and a landowner that does regular checks on his cattle, and FD and I have the lease on the property, maybe we can keep the poacher or any other hunters out of the area. I really am enjoying being able to traverse the large area with the buggy now. Before, I was on foot a lot, which can be exhausting!

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    1. It will be a new adventure for us, and I’m excited about having a bigger playing area along the river. You know the river itself is a life source for all wildlife, so I will have great opportunities to see wildlife in a different setting.

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  5. How fabulous your “territory” has been extended., Already the owner has seen the benefit of having someone keep an eye on his place/livestock. Your no poaching signs do look a lot better/more professional than the hand made ones we did – maybe people will pay more attention to the land being closed to them, too. Purple streaks? Another good idea that’s new to me.
    Wandering the land – and fall coming (snakes leaving) – just perfect!
    Love the cow peeking through the tree (cedar? Juniper?) Hope some rain came your way to cool things off a bit and give all a little drink. Take care out there.

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    1. I will have FD check into those purple markers on t-posts. If it’s known in this area, it would be a great idea to make it impossible to mistake that the property is off limits.

      I’m stoked about autumn and winter this year. Usually it’s about the snakes and tall weeds that keeps me from hiking to the river. The cattle are already mowing through the area and the tall Johnson grasses seem to be one of their favorite foods so they’ve already blazed paths through the area! That’s a cedar by the way. There are a lot of cedars in the woodlands. Most farmers and ranchers cut them down, but I find that birds seek shelter in them all year long, and they’re quite beautiful. They just tend to reseed and take over vast areas. Oh, and the rain did come. We’ve had just enough here – a couple of inches that fell gently and steadily. Other areas near here got four times that amount. I’m happy with what we got!

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