The past thirty-one days have just been a whirlwind. There’s a reason I haven’t blogged much. Lots of them actually.
December began with a medical emergency which I will not detail here, but it has been a month long ordeal that could have been much worse. We got very lucky and the road to recovery seems to be a short one. Yet such things are disruptive and stressful.
While all that hoopla was going on, I had four Christmas concerts to play, in addition to farm duties and deliveries. That happens every year. No big deal.
Next came the surprise chick, orphaned at birth by her mother, the search for companions and the thirteen eggs that didn’t hatch unless you want to count the foul green slime that exploded out of one egg as a hatch.
My daughter came home from college and within three days she ran up a fever that has been with her now for over a week. Other than a headache and fever, no other symptoms. She finally went to the doctor yesterday and was told she probably had the flu even though her flu tests came back negative. She was given IV fluids and extra strength Motrin and sent home.
Doctors have gotten very good at trauma but they are still in the dark ages when it comes to illness. No surprise there, but it makes me wish I knew a decent Shaman – preferably one who accepted duck eggs or live chickens as payment.
On Christmas Eve, very late on Christmas Eve, my dog went out on her regular evening rounds and came back with a face full of skunk. 20 degrees outside. So we brought her in, doused her twice with peroxide and baking soda and just dealt with the stink she brought into the house. At that point in the day we were too tired to care.
The next morning, after presents, the cat threw up all over the place. My husband cleaned carpets while I tried to get the skunk stink out of the house and cook the Christmas feast. Imagine a house filled with the aromas of cinnamon rolls, baking bread, roasting pork, skunk and cat vomit. On second thought, don’t imagine that. No point in foisting my misfortune upon you.
On the Saturday after Christmas, early in the morning, three deer were strolling down my neighbor’s driveway, (fenced on both sides) when a mysterious black cat (not ours) got my dog’s sudden undivided attention. The cat lit out and spooked the dear. The dear bolted down the driveway and spooked the horses. The horses snorted and blew like whales (and my husband says, if they could breathe fire, there would have been flames coming from their nostrils, they were THAT startled and ferocious.) The threats from the horses turned the deer back the other way on the driveway, but my dog was there using her “big girl voice” which everyone will tell you is REALLY scary. The deer didn’t know which way to go or what to do. Now neither the horses nor the dog were on the same side of the fence as the deer, but the deer didn’t realize that.
Fire breathing horses. Snarling dog. The deer could have jumped the fence easily, or run down the drive, crossed the street and been safe in the woods. But no. They committed suicide by charging headlong into the fence. 7:30 in the morning, folks.
I called my neighbor and we spent the rest of the morning gutting, skinning and butchering up the deer. We had never had venison until this year, now we have a freezer full. For dinner that night, I invited friends over and we made country fried steak out of one of the backstraps, along with gravy and mashed potatoes and green beans, it was as fine as a southern feast as I’ve had in ages.
This morning, I was almost afraid to go outside, lest the fates take note of me and send me more excitement. But life goes on and chores must be done. So while collecting eggs this evening, I noticed Stupid and Mannerless (my 2013 Speckled Sussex roo) was all bloodied up. I also noticed 0012 (my 2012 Speckled Sussex roo) was missing. I found him in the woods, quite forlorn. The two of them had been fighting and 0012 (always a mild mannered fellow) had lost and been evicted from the flock.
In three and a half years of chicken keeping this is the first time I’ve ever had a rooster dismissed by his flock. I cleaned him up a bit and then put him in the dog crate in the white room with the chicks. It stays between 50 and 60 degrees in there and that will give him a place to heal up. But when he does . . . what then? I wonder if he’d be interested in mothering three young chicks?
The elder flock went to bed early this evening, but the juvenile flock did not. The DLF simply had to have a cuddle before lockdown.
For 2014, I respectfully request more cuddles and fewer catastrophes for everyone.