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I often wonder if people think I’m living in some sort of Polly Anna’esk, rose colored glasses wearing type world. I’ve read back through some of the stuff I’ve written for this blog and realized that I seem to be taking the optimistic tint on most things that go on in my life, at least on paper.
I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with trying to put a happy or at least “I’ve learned a great life lesson” spin on things that go on day to day. Although I’ll admit that I once actually received an employee evaluation that said I was “too nice.” I’m still uncertain about what that meant but I’ve decided to merely blame it on my years working as a cashier for two chain stores who pressed the notion of maintaining good customer relations pretty hard.
Playing Polly Anna or not though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I don’t have my days, sometimes weeks and in the dead of winter, occasionally months. The end of September seemed to have been one of those times.
Within the span of two weeks the transmission went out on our truck, a valve sensor snapped off the van tire, we found out that both vehicles need two new front tires, Gabby got a virus, our second set of chickens (the egg layers) came about four days early before we’d had a chance to get the first flock (the meat birds) acclimated to living outside much less having their new outdoor abode built and then I received a call from the water company saying that our house in town (the one we still own but plan to sell after doing some repairs) had used over 70,000 gallons of water during September. On the bright side this water wasn’t in the house, it merely seeped out into the unknown under the house itself. Either way it still wasn’t good.
To top all that off after Dennis had finally gotten the new chicken tractor (movable chicken coop) built for the meat birds and we had moved them to their new home, a storm came their first night in it and blew the coop to the other end of our property. You think some odd thoughts when you’re searching in the dark, in the pouring rain, for chickens that you know are destined to be dinner. A lot of people might just wonder, “why bother,” or at least would think that the experience would make us a little less into the idea of doing this again but as crazy as it sounds that moment might have been the only positive one during our ordeals of those weeks.
I suppose you could call it an “aha” moment, although I don’t want to sound too incredibly pop culturish about it all. As I stood there in the rain picking up wet chickens, who amazingly enough were all alive, helped Dennis put them into paper shipping crates until we could switch the new baby chicks to a box and take them into the kitchen and then moved the wet birds under the heat lamps it dawned upon me that despite these birds being dinner eventually it was my job to make sure that they were healthy and lead as happy a life as they could until that time comes.
It made me think about all those pictures I’d seen on tv and the internet of thousands of chickens crammed into a tiny dark space to live out their life without fresh air and grass and where a dead bird here or there was not really anything to mourn. These birds, although not named, are still taken care of and looked after as well as the egg layers are being looked after. At that moment I really liked the fact that I could say that. Now mind you, it’s not fun to search for wet chickens in the pouring rain but you do feel a sense of accomplishment when you realize you’ve found them all and they are all fluffed back out again under the heat lights.
Thinking back I’m sure it all seemed pretty comical if you were watching from a distance. Even Dennis made fun of me at the time for turning the heat up to 85 in the house to keep the baby chicks warm until he could get to town for another lamp. Yeah that was one more for the bad luck streak, we had two heat lamps, one of them chose that morning to blow out.
Funny or not it helped me realize that I really want to do all this “play farming” stuff that we’re trying to do. It also gave me an even more profound sense of respect for all those real farmers around me, like our own neighbor who I saw out that very morning roaming his fields back and forth on a four wheeler checking his cattle and crops in the rain himself.
Now let me see, what was my point with all this? Okay, yup it really was a crappy couple of weeks. I am not always a happy and in love with the details of life. Two weeks out of though I can say we are surviving.
So to get myself back to being Polly Anna I’m going to list the positives and lessons learned. Trucks and vans can get fixed, good parents are wonderful to loan out vehicles until money trees start growing again, there really is such a thing as water under a bridge or at least under a house, little girls who get sick are really happy to get to stay home all day with Momma and Daddy as they try to keep baby chickens warm and when it rains it really does pour and we should always remember that yes it’s really worth it to pick up the wet chickens from the puddles.