Monday, January 25, 2010

Smor-gas-bord Farm

It was last Sunday that Huck emerged from the car and stuck his foot in something ominous.  No.  On second thought, it wasn't actually something.  It was a lack of something, a negative, an omission in the mud just the wrong size and shape.  He looked up.  He scanned the horizon.  And he groaned, "Something really big has been through our yard while we were gone."  Dinosaurs? Woolly Mammoths?  And then I too looked beneath my feet and saw the imprints where the wet soil used to stand smooth.  Now there were six inch deep divots scattered thither and yon indicating utter directionlessness.  Like dance foot prints taped to the floor, and unless you're shown the mysterious order that unlocks their code, you're going to look more like a high-speed twister game than a waltz. 

"Maybe a moose again?"  But I could feel it in my stomach, a matching depression, a negative, an omission where hope and peace had resided just minutes before, smooth and soft like mud.

Huck tip toed to the barn in his wingtips.  The cows must be in there, since they weren't in the corral, where they'd been locked for two weeks due to a prior jail break.  He slid away that broad, white door and I knew something was missing.  Two things.  Two bovinical things.  Red and white. And large, as Huck predicted.

Our savior arrived in a white SUV with a large hunk of cubic zirconium sticking out of his ear.  He had news, fresh, hot news of a cow spotting one mile north.  ONE MILE NORTH.  okay... let's go over that again: ONE. MILE. NORTH.  In the woods.

While Huck spent the hour leading those gaseous asses home with a bucket of grain, I found the hole they bore with their boredom, hammered in two more seven foot T-posts and tied up more metal fence.

And then Hendrika left us the next day too.  I blew that week's discretionary funds on more T-posts which I was unable to slam into the ground because.... in the mean time, I chipped off the tip of my thumb and finger nail with a vegetable peeler.  Blood and pain and #$%&*!!! gushed out fluently and profusely, about 45 gallons per minute.  Hundreds of aloe vera packs later, my thumb looks great.  And I just completed my first day back from 9 off of milking and mucking.  I enjoyed sleeping in all nine times, even if it was with a throbbing thumb.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to husband cows last year?!  People are prone to note.  Last year Spokane had 7 feet of snow.  Must have been hard.  Whaaa.  But this year is so much better.  We've had, inch for melted inch, more precipitation than last year.  Mostly in the form of rain that cannot percolate down through the frozen tundra.  So it sits on top, threatening to drown the chickens, steeling barn boots, molding hay, and completely sucking in my wheel barrow like tar pits vs. mammoths.  And because of that, and the prolific nature of the bovine digestive tract,  I've got mountain ranges of shit all over that field.  I'm trying to truck it to the garden edges from whence I'll grab it as needed.  But I rarely make it that far, instead dumping the steaming loads where the wheel of the barrow sinks so low I can't shove it further forward.  At this auspicious and random spot, I just awkwardly throw it down with a peak-out  fake-opposite wrestling move well worth at least several hundred points and a gold medal.  It involves far more physical contact with shit than I'm comfortable with and I'd rather not discuss it further.

Changing the subject: chickens.  They too are barely contained by my sagging, quick and dirty fences.  And they tend to fly off.  Only three are talented enough to escape, but they stay close when they do.  Yesterday, I looked out to see a barred rock (those are the black and white checked ones) pause from munching at it's chicken food to take flight.  Priscilla, the white one, was chasing it.  And Angel or Dragon or whoever the heck, I can't tell anymore, easily cleared the fence and flew and flew and flew with utter grace, up and away.  Slack jawed awe struck me.  And then struck me again when I realized that what was soaring from our fenced-in chicken yard into the blue sky and over the road was a hawk.  From our barn.  It didn't take anything with it that I could see. The chickens babbled and wailed in distress, but remained physically whole.  And the numbers of our obese chickadees and barn swallows were not appreciably lessened. 

The wild birds are the only ones that seem to actually like and eat the chicken food, and since our chickens turn their beaks up at it, they've got an all they can eat buffet.  Eating like a bird must refer to wild birds.  Because it turns out that any species facing The Old Country Buffet is going to have a weight problem.  But in the wild, one buffet begets another.  And I expect to see that hawk again.   

And Coyote got strep throat, tonsillitis, and an abscessed tooth which all conveniently culminated on Saturday night, when everything is closed.  And you know, we freak when that boy gets too sick.

And then for dessert I got to read a novel and entertain several different friends.  

Now I'm afraid I'm going to have to close the all-you-can-eat farm drama buffet.  Not permanently.  It's just that Coyote is watching a DVD of Ghost Busters and I'm going to have to join him.  Who ya gonna call?!

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