Scared of the country!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by witness, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. witness

    witness Member

    May 10, 2002
    I'm feeling pretty silly here, but I think that having a small child has made me a coward!
    We're trying to get out to our 40 acres in central Oklahoma... organizing a house, etc. This project has had a long ramp up, and now I'm a little dismayed at finding myself such a chicken about the critters we're running into out there. We went on Saturday and 4 big dogs came ambling up, rottie mixes, I think. Luckily they meant no harm and my friends were tougher than me and told them to scat as I took my baby to a less vulnerable spot.
    More embarrassing tho, was when the neighbor's 7 cows who'd presumably found a hole in the fence passed through. One did think about charging at my friend, but our dog took care of that with one bark. So I'm standing behind a tree with the baby! I'm not scared of cows! What's wrong with me?
    Then there are the snakes and ticks and my horrified vision of a mountain lion stalking my toddler.
    I grew up in town, but spent lots of time with my grandparents out in the country. I was NEVER scared of anything there, even when I picked up a rattlesnake.
    So could ya'll help clear my head a little? What are the actual dangers and how can we be prepared? We do have 911 service, but I'm sure it would take at least half an hour to see help coming up the drive. I want to compile a good first aid kit, and would also like direction on what to have on hand.
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2004
    Most of the critters you run into in the country are as afraid of you as you are of them, (except the ticks). Once you get used to being there, it will be better; new things can be scary.
    To tell the truth, I'm kinda scared when I'm in town.

  3. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 8, 2002
    Sounds like you are a normal new mother protecting her cub. Not so much the country, just things threatening your baby, right? Think about it, wouldn't you be just as scared for your baby in the city if four big dogs came along? A big loose animal charging down the street? Less likely to happen, but I think you're just being protective. You and the baby will get used to being out here. There sure is more danger in the city than the country, just a few different things. We never lock our doors out here, but sure did in the city!
  4. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I agree with ana and was thinking the same thing, you haven't turned into a coward, you are being a good mother of a very young child, Believe it or not , as they grow older , your feelings of overwhelming protectiveness change a bit and you can actually let them go outside and play, go to school, drive a car. I know from experience that it doesn't feel like it to you right now , but it is true. You are doing good, keep it up
  5. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    You wil be fine. The longer you are around these things, you will be more comfortable. Just don't get between a cow and her baby--she will protect it, and steer clear of, well, steers:)
  6. Cindy in KY

    Cindy in KY Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    50 miles southwest of Louisville
    Carla, first critters you get should be guinea hens then. Get you a flock of half grown ones, and keep them up somewhere 2 or 3 wks and feed/water them good. Once they are used to the new home, they will stay around your place and will be the FIRST to alarm you of anything out of the ordinary, even snakes. You'll have to get used to the racket they make, but I think you'll feel better having a loose flock around. I think 3 wks would be long enough but you'd have to ask some guinea folks for sure. Old saying is "If they lay there (eggs) they will stay there." :)
  7. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2002
    :) Okay, time to take a deep breath. And take a very realistic view of what the hazards are. It's quite normal to be overwhelmed by the unknown, but, if you take each item and dissect it, you can be at least minimally prepared.
    Dogs... could be a problem...budget for fencing, in the meantime try to find out who owns em, carry mace or ammonia spray, leave vehicle doors open so you could escape if necessary, gun if they behave in any way toward you that is threatening. pack instinct is possible... place your child in a protected spot and you keep the weapons on you.while you work. I would not take a chance on this one, regardless of how friendly they seem.
    Ticks...repellents and close inspection of body and clothing. clear debris and cut grass and weeds and move woodpiles away from area.
    cattle..don't feed them, repair the fence if you can. contact the owners

    It takes time to become in tune with country noises and critters, but you will develop an ear for what's normal and what's danger or orneriness. But it does pay to think of solutions, preventions, etc. I suggest until you have more confidence and some preventive means in place, that you don't go to the property alone. That way, you sure will feel more secure.
    I keep a loaded firearm not too far away nearly always. inside and out, because I sometimes am here alone.
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Carla, as the Mother of a baby your FIRST responsibility is to control what is around your helpless child. Stray cattle are not predictable, and therefor should not be around the baby. And, dogs sometimes put their paws on you in an excess of greeting, which can be hard on the baby if their paw goes on her by mistake.

    Also, since you are holding the baby YOU will be forced to move more slowly, therefore YOU should not be around stray cattle when you are holding the baby!

    Sounds like you have good instincts. ;)
  9. jerzeygurl

    jerzeygurl woolgathering

    Jan 21, 2005
    i am/was the biggest fraidy ever but im getting over it a little at a time.
  10. terriv

    terriv Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    I have no option (due to working now) but to put my always-homeschooled going-into-3rd grader in school next year. I called the school to find there are over 1000 kids in grades 3,4,5 and 1000+ kids next door in grades K,1,2 and over 1000 houses across the road (including 3 registered sex offenders) .....and over 1000 houses to be built behind the school. GULP. I'd take cows and dogs instead in a heartbeat.
  11. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    Funny, I was the opposite, totally terrified for my little kids when we had to live in town. There were streets and tires; lots of them of all sizes, huge concentrations of people which any number of them are predators, and the kids have desires to go places where their watchdog was not welcome. Whatever dirt in town is filthy with disease.

    Bears, cougars, coyotes and cows never bothered me in the least. A good farm dog takes care of those things,and any other breed of predator that comes around. As long as my little kids could not access drowning hazzards, firearms or explosives, or go near the road, I did not worry very much.
  12. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    A lot of people here survived growing up in the country and have a few scars to prove it. Buy a good first aid kit and relax.

  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jul 20, 2004
    I grew up in the country with little fear. My parents taught us the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes and we often caught and played with the non-poisonous ones. Then something happened. My little girl came within inches of being bitten by a 5'1" timber rattler that had crawled up on the carport. If her dog hadn't protected her, my daughter would be dead. Now I am terrified of snakes...any snake. My dog being bitten by a cottonmouth and nearly dying last summer didn't help matters any.

    But that doesn't mean I want to move out of the country! just means I keep a sharp eye open when outside and I don't walk through tall grass/weeds or go to the pond.

    I think it is good to have a healthy fear of things that can harm you. Just learn how to protect yourself (and your child) the best that you can. Sounds like you have a good dog who will protect you from roaming cows, etc. I wouldn't live in the country without a good dog (I have five).

    Good and your baby will be fine.
  14. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    You're just being a good mama bear is all. My babies are 13 and 16 and I still worry about everything. My youngest likes to forage and I woory that she'll get snake bitten or fall and hurt herself and not be able to make it home. I just send the dog out with her. When they started riding horses, I was a nervous wreck. What if they fall wrong and end up like Christopher Reed. Mind you, I grew up on a horses back. Once you get settled in and used to the place, it'll be home and home is safe. And those guineas...they'll take care of all of those ticks. :cool:
  15. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

    Dec 9, 2004
    I agree with everyone you will relax its just the mommie thing. Nothing wrong with that. And for the record the city scares me way more!!!
  16. gleepish

    gleepish Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003

    That is all great advise! Probably the best I've come across in a long time (Of course I haven't been active here in a very long time so that could have something to do with it.)

    When we moved to the country, it wasn't the critters that scared me it was :eek: the dark. I hated taking the trash out, or running out to the car at night.... luckily that didn't take too long to overcome, and I'm sure that Witness will adjust just fine given time!
  17. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 9, 2004
    Witness as all have said you're being a good mom. Don't go alone/alone with baby until you're satisfied it's safe to do so. Walk the fence line (safely) and repair/plan repairs to keep dogs and cattle out. If impossible (ie unaffordable) make a smaller fenced safe area around the house. Or use a playpen safe from dogs/cattle (maybe a cool enough vehicle) and move baby around with you in yard. If critters/dangers warrant be armed, at all times if need be.

    Luckily at my Texas smallholding we never saw a rattlesnake, though my friend a few miles away had to clear her farmsite trash in tandem with her husband, one in gloves/boots pulling brush off while the other shot the rattlers thus uncovered. I had a scorpion in the bathroom (when DH was away working nights!!!), a tarantula in the backyard, a few angry roosters who aimed at toddler eye level before becoming chicken soup, reportedly a rabid wild boar, and hornets that stung poor DD 5 times before I figured out their nest was under her slide and they didn't like her using it! We survived and can't wait for the next smallholding.
  18. Christine in OK

    Christine in OK Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Central Oklahoma
    Well, not knowing exactly what part of central Oklahoma, I can't swear to it, but I grew up in the Earlsboro/Shawnee/Seminole area, and I can say I never once ran into a mountain lion! I heard a bobcat once in awhile, and an occasional coyote (both after dark), but other than that, it was mostly skunks, opossums, and a few snakes. For the most part, just keep telling yourself that they're scared of you too!

    Honestly, growing up, I remember having more trouble with dogs that the town idiots dropped off around our place :soap: . Like we had nothing better to do than take care of their dogs they were tired of - plus, when they started chasing the cows (as they almost invariably did), they didn't last long.
  19. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    centeral Okla. S of I-40, E of I-35
    1st, your instincts are your best friend! Trust them.
    2nd, make a plan for each issue.

    Step one, short grass, [very short], guineas eat ticks and deter snakes and over all are less likey to jump at/on people than chickens. ( I have Red Star hens than are mean and get every snake I have seen, but they have also gotten in my face and scratched my arms!) Feed the birds near the outside of the childs fence so they patrol there often.
    Step two, a good fence that the child will not be able to climb out of, when they reach the climbing age, if they can walk well, they can climb.
    Step three, dogs on the outside of the child's play yard.

    These cover most average dangers, your watchful eye and instincts will cover most of the rest.

    I came back to add that I have seen some really nice looking stockade fences that have 'windows' cut into them, where plexiglass is fastened to the fence for secure "see through" fence.