Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dancing in Destruction

Cows and fences.  Owl and chickens.  The cycles of creation and destruction continue to cause me to go insane... break down sanity, re-create insanity.

The cows are in the field peaceably chewing cud and sitting.... Oh wait, that's not quite sitting, more like frozen in mid-roll...like giant balls that need a few pumps for that minor deflation. They are pregnancy defined.  They look like what all women feel like at this point in the similar nine month gestation.  And they're kind of crazy too.  Not that they scream about vacuum cleaners or throw bins of dried currants across the kitchen or sit around naked in open windows during 104 degrees of un-air-conditioned heat because who the frick cares who sees. The cows too have been wearing the same clothes for a very long time... they haven't, however, dribbled yogurt down the front and smeared chip powder on the sides.

The grass was popping up green everywhere, and for some reason, in the spring, or really all year, the grass seems greener just outside the fence.  And our electric fence wasn't working, because sand is not a good soil type for completing a circuit, it turns out.  And because I have no idea about anything electric.  And because Huck's been out of town for most of the last six weeks. And what was I going to do?  Say, "Hey sweetie!  So glad of you to drop by for a few hours this week.  Don't play with the kids.  Don't do the dishes.  Don't ... ahem... take care of me.  Just go out and get this crap done!"  NO WAY.  Until... there they were, giant bowling ball cows going for the split, leaning so far over the fence, they'd smashed it down to two fully-surmountable feet tall.  And panic struck.

Luckily, Huck was home and my parents were visiting.  And between us all, we got that fence up and running.  And the furry zeppelins haven't touched it since! Except for once.

Then the owl attacked.  The good news was that Huck was home that night too and I needled him out to check on those screaming chickens.   What he saw was a pile of feathers and only three chickens cowering in the hutch and a three foot tall owl on a post a few feet away.  We were both glad there were no saucy remains to deal with and we set a spotlight on the coop.  But in the morning, that crafty little chicken, Goldilocks, was there!  She'd hidden some place far more clever than the coop and was only a little damaged.  We've gawked at that owl a few times since, just feet from our faces.  And I say to it, in my most dominion-ating voice, "Go."  And it does.  It's an uneasy peace, if that's what we can call it. 

And we went to the sweet old neighbor lady's farm auction.  70+ years of accumulated farm stuff... on auction!  And here were all these farmers,. checking out the crap of 10 out-buildings.  This is how men work, apparently.  They go hunting.  They go fishing.  They go to farm auctions.  Call it useful.  Call in necessary.  And then they sit in a travel trailer, drink beer, and watch satelite tv for three days.  No honey, I didn't kill anything this time.  Maybe next time: heeheehee.  The farm auction: men wandering around, coffee, donuts, chatting for hours with a few bids thrown in so they can call it work.  It makes we wonder if women aren't really ruining work, upping the work bar. Now men have to actually WORK at work. Three martinis and wheelbarrow full of fresh chat is not longer considered work.  No wonder so many resisted women in the "work" force.

And the auction itself!  The habeeda habeeds habbadada 15 hoppity hoppity hoppity 20! Gave me anxiety in my chest and a pounding in my head.  It think it's all part of the clouding of the brain that makes an auction so very profitable.

An auction is a nutty way to sell things you'd normally have to pay to dispose of.  Old-school Craigslist.  But not.  Because the auction preys much more cleverly on desire and competition.  Something that might have sold for $10 on Craigslist, is suddenly bid up to $85!  Twice the price of new!  Three half quarts of oil?  Really? The curiosities: threshers from the 30's and 40's.  And an oven from every decade since 1930.  All in all, a fascinating waste of a day. 

But when I didn't get that riding lawn mower, I realized that I actually wanted one.  We currently have no working mowers, unless you count the push-reel mower which was great for our city lot, but can't do a thing out here, but make me sweat and curse.  My friend's father-in-law bought a fancy new riding mower and needed to offload his old fancy riding mower.  He named his price.  And I said I'd check with Huck and our bank account to see if we could try for it.  And then he says, "Listen, I just want the thing out of my garage.  You should really negotiate with me.  I'm going to be a push-over and I suggest you take advantage of me.  I'll deliver it.  I'll fix the wheel.  You just name your price." Okay!  So that was a cheap mower and I felt kind of bad about it.... but it was his idea!  And I spent two blissful hours cruising around our property yesterday.  Oh my god, what fun!  Gave the kids rides, mowed weeds to keep the Noxious Weed Board happy for a while, and mulched through some failed projects involving manure in really stupid places (because, I thought, I'm not going to move it twice.  I'll move it to where I want it and then... let the kids play tether ball in it until it biodegrades into...not manure.)

I've got my four chickens, my three (soon to be five) cows are contained, my 3000 square foot garden has increased to 4500 thanks to a work trade with the neighbor, and I've got a powerful, snazzy riding lawn mower. And my husband's home.  I am a very happy, very dancing farm girl.


  1. I can relate to this post totally!! I am wondering about the chickens.. do you have a "roof" on your run? I am wondering what to do about that. Also our lawn mower just died. Funny. This "farming" stuff is quite a lot of work! I don't even have any cows or chickens yet!!! but a dog, possibly, on the way. I am feeling about 70 or what I think 70 feels like. Your posts inspire me... or at least make me feel that I am not alone! :) xo

  2. It's a steep learning curve... and I feel like I spend more time fixing broken things like trailers and fences than actually doing the fun work! (Although, when fixing fences, it feels like that was what I was born to do-Seriously!) As far as chicken run tops: I tried one at first, but with only a bit of snow, it caved in. And so I ripped it off. And have adopted a "renewable resource" stance toward my fouls. They will be eaten. They will die. They only give eggs for four years anyway... so I'm not stressing about being too protective. However, you do want to avoid becoming the known predatory buffet for your region. In the end, I just don't know. It's a dance between what you can get away with, laziness, and trying to do right by your feathered dependents.



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