Farm Harmony

As evening draws near, a sense of peacefulness settles over the farm. It’s a special time of day. Chores are done. The animals have all been fed and bedded down for the night. All are content. The farm is cool and calm. It’s so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

As the sun sinks and dusk settles in, a new set of life moves onto the farm. They slowly, very slowly enter the pasture, gracefully scaling fences as they come. The deer silently approach, some with fawns at their sides. The grass is tall and lush. They graze peacefully amongst the horses, ponies and donkeys, knowing that they are safe here. I watch silently, soaking in their tranquility. Soon only their silhouettes are visible. Far off in the distance, I can hear the faint calls of peacocks who roam freely throughout the woods. They will roost high in the tops of trees tonight, safe from predators.

As darkness engulfs the farm, the huge oak trees seem to come alive with the golden glowing eyes of raccoons. The trees are illuminated like Christmas trees that have just been plugged in. There they will stay, patiently waiting for just the right time to climb down. During the quiet of the night they will wander about, checking nooks and crannies for morsels of food. Oh, those pesky little varmints!

As the sun rises, I watch 30 to 40 wild turkeys make their way through the pasture. I hear them before I can see them. Their gobbles and “puffing” sounds are loud and clear. They strut along, moving through the tall grasses. Behind them I can see the grass swaying, a tell-tale sign that chicks are trailing. Those same chicks will grow up before my very eyes and one day come in with chicks of their own.

Late morning, my “friend”, the coyote, nonchalantly trots through. He seems to ignore my chickens and other barnyard poultry. I’m sure that he knows I’m watching. He keeps his distance and I keep mine. That’s why we’re “friends”, you see.

The jack rabbits appear, seemingly out of nowhere, darting about, not a care in the world. They nibble on the grasses and low bushes, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for my above mentioned “friend”. They then dart off lickety split, coming to rest under the shade of the persimmon tree, surely to stretch out, yawn, and take a well-deserved nap.

Bella Vista Farms is home to a large variety of rescued domestic and barnyard animals. But, as you can see, I also enjoy and respect the many types of wildlife that frequent our land and roam freely about the farm.

Although we are not a wildlife rescue, I receive many calls throughout the year regarding problems related to wildlife. These calls are referred to my friends at Shasta Wildlife Rescue. Their dedicated and well-trained staff and volunteers are there to answer questions regarding sick, orphaned, or injured wildlife. Their goal is to rescue, rehabilitate and release.

If you find any type of wild animal in trouble, please call 530-365-WILD. If the center is closed, an emergency contact number is available. For membership, volunteer information, or to make a donation, their website is https://www.shastawildlife.org.

So, for now, the sun is setting – I’m heading to take my usual position – watching the harmony begin again.


Chic Miller

Since 1990 Chic Miller and her husband, Bob, have owned and operated Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal sanctuary on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood. The Millers care for hundreds of abused and neglected animals. Animals that come to this sanctuary remain there for the rest of their lives. Chic is a retired nurse and takes care of all the medical needs for the injured and ill animals. Aside from a few volunteers, Bob and Chic take care of all the daily chores. The Millers care for hundreds of animals, including dogs, horses, ponies, pigs, llamas, goats, cats, chickens and yes, even a one-legged turkey. Chic Miller can be reached at 530-347-0544. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary.

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