Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sink Holes

Blue's nostalgic request for a cake
About a month ago I was feeling like the worst farmer in the world.  My cows were sloshing around up to their knees and occasionally their thighs in a thick stew of cow crap too sloppy to shovel or fork into the wheelbarrow and WAY to gooshy to push that full wheelbarrow around in.  So with their every footstep came a schlurpping sound and guilt oozed into my heart.  What was I doing wrong?  Where had my barn and barnyard maintenance taken such a wrong turn?  Were these pneumonia conditions, tuberculosis?  Was this as bad as any factory farm? And to hell with the cows anyway, what about me?  My boots always sinking in to their rims and nearly getting lost in the muck.

the 10th annual birthday pinata
And then I read that we'd just had the wettest March on record and all my sins were washed away in the deluge.  It was the weather's fault, not mine.  AKA: all God's fault.  I was as good an animal husband as anyone, but I too am subject to the wiles of weather and clouds and La Nina.  As April has been warm, less showery (think: spring dry-heaves), everything has dried out, except a rim around the barn where the sun doesn't shine much.  So one can step with one foot on solid ground and the other... well watch out! 

On Saturday, we were planting our new trees.  They'd arrived on Friday, just before Blue's slumber party in the typical bad-timing fashion of this world.  And I'd had to stow them away until we could find some time to dig them into the field where some day they will provide shade for our cattle.  We also got in blueberries.  Blue's guests helped plant those.  They wanted to do farm chores in the morning so I set them to egg hunting and weeding and grooming the cows.  Cows don't normally get groomed around here, but it was something to do with cows, so I said it was a chore.  And so Blue's "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy slumber party," in which dinner conversation revolved around black holes and m-theory, ended up with a pact for all the girls to become farmers some day.  Said one, "I used to just want to work at NASA and live in SF, but now I want to be a farmer when I grow up!"

After they were all gone, Huck and I (in my slip-on Keens) were slowly moving with our girls-slumber-party "hang over".  I was headed out to the field to bring him some mint and lemon balm to "intercrop" with the trees and I opened the gate and stepped my right foot on solid ground and my left foot... well... not so much.  My left foot fell into a deep, cold crevasse of watery cow crap.  Down, down, down.  The chilly slushy filled my shoes, seeped in to my socks and up my leg.  The bottom of my overalls stayed on the crust of crap, while my bare leg sank and sank nearly up to my knee.  I had met my "Ramona the Pest" moment.  And there was no Henry Huggins to save me.  Huck, maybe.  And as I screamed and screamed, he looked up and saw me listing to one side and came to help.  But he could not be quick enough.

My foot pulled up just fine.  It was the shoe that was stuck.  If I slipped my foot out, it would fill with crap and then I would have to go down with both hands to fish it out, my face would me millimeters from the slurry and my knees would sink in... No, this foot would not return to the surface without this shoe.  And so I wiggled and pried and wiggled and pried and cranked up my non-prehensile toes to cling as best they could to that shoe.  Huck arrived just in time to catch me as my shoe popped up out of the earth, tossing me off balance.  Imagine if Huck hadn't been there; it would have been Sarajoy vs. the Cow Crap Tar Baby for hours on end. I stripped down at the spigot and hosed off that little adventure.

this head is made out of cake, I promise
Also: the cat and I were doing some gardening the other day and we heard a big bang come from the chicken coop. We looked at each other, bewildered.  And mosied over to check it out.  We couldn't see the chickens, but we could hear one, clucking like she was at the end of a tunnel or hole or something, this tinny sound. I hunted around and found her in the metal garbage can that holds their food - with the lid on top. I wish I would have looked up before it happened so I could figure out the mechanics of that feat. 

And the final Farm Missive O'the Day:  We have this resident bunny, the Widow D'lete, who turns out not to be much of a widow. We met her newest addition the other day.  Too bad is was dangling from our cats mouth.  Well, for the garden and the farm, that was a good thing.  But for Coyote, it wasn't: "It's so cute!  It was just too young, mama.  Too young to die.  It'd barely had any time to enjoy life.  It's so sad it's making my eyes wet."  And then there was Huck giving us reports: the cat has removed the heart from the bunny and the heart is still beating!  I wonder how that's possible.  You guys, the heart is still beating, even though the head got chewed off!  Wow!  

Wow, indeed.


  1. Best line is "hosed off that little adventure."

    Thanks for the report from the farm.

  2. Perhaps a pair of snow-shoes are in order for further barn-yard walks.

  3. It's so sad it's making my eyes wet! That is sooo awesome, it is making my eyes wet thinking about it! You are a great family!xo

  4. Thanks you guys!

    Dan, I had considered a crap-sled for snowy and muddy days, but the crap-shoes idea is mind-bogglingly awesome. I bet I can find an old pair at a thrift store.



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