Friday, September 16, 2011

Not the woman I thought I was.

Okay, so I tried to be the hero. Bill was invited to last weeks Gator game. Of course he had to leave before feeding time, to which I said,"No problem". Then he told me there were visitors coming in an hour, to which I said,"No problem". I really wanted him to take advantage of the opportunity to be with with the guys. Then I realized that our son Micah had truck number two and I would be feeding everything on foot. No problem. I've got this.
Kissed hubby good-bye and started feeding baby chicks first. Our farm visitors came and I had a very willing, six-year-old helper for the evening. Everything was cruising along smoothly until it was time to carry the feed up to the hens. We used the wheel barrow to move three 30lb buckets of feed and laughed about how heavy they were. His six-year-old muscles did the watering, and I thought I was Wonder Woman and hoisted the buckets into the air and over the electric fence. No problem. At least that's what I thought.

The next morning Bill awoke with a smile on his face with visions of touchdowns in his mind, I awoke with a curve in my spine, a stitch in my side, and a hip that felt like it had been hit by a truck. Of course it was Sunday, so I lay on the couch until Monday to tuck my pretzel shaped body into the truck and go to the chiropractor.

He worked me over and said I may be a little stiff for the next day or two. Ha! Stiff didn't begin to describe what felt like a steel hand gripping my bones and twisting my muscles. And the next day happened to be butchering day. Quickly I called a friend with two teenagers familiar with chicken handling and asked them to come catch the batch that was ready. They did a wonderful job and in a half-hour had seventy six portly chickens waiting contentedly in cages by the processing area. The processing day went better than expected, and the next day of packaging was so much better with the help of our friend Theresa. Thank God for Micah. He's done so much extra work to help too.

Here we are on Friday, with another visit to the chiropractor behind me and things are looking up. I have been so humbled by the love and prayers sent my way by all our friends. I am truly blessed. Now I just have to remember that I'm NOT Wonder Woman, even if I want to be. (Even if Bill says so.)

Just found out that they published a pic of me on the cover of the Newberry/Jonesville Magazine today. If you look closely, you can see the silver bracelets Wonder Woman let me borrow for the picture.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chicken Adventures

The new coop is finally finished. (Thought you would enjoy a picture of the painting I did of it rather than a photo) The nest boxes are in, the perches are up and the door has a latch. Filling it with chickens has not been as easy as we thought. Not all birds go into coma-like states at night, thankfully chickens do. Maybe it's because they can't see well in the dark. Whatever the reason, it give us the advantage after the sun goes down.

Bill and I became chicken ninjas. We dressed in black, grabbed a flashlight and a carrying cage and headed where we knew they would roost. Some were in the old shelter, some were high up in the surrounding trees. Luckily, the moon was nowhere to be seen. Bill shined the light just enough to see body shapes, then I grabbed them one at a time from their perches. They screamed and squawked as I walked them over to the truck. Bill clipped wing feathers hoping that would be enough to keep them from getting over the electric netting.

The ones in the trees were a little trickier. Bill set the ladder under them, I weaved through the branches, reaching for two legs. Both the chicken and I would come down off the ladder with leaves, twigs and feathers flying. For two hours we stole the birds from their roosts and placed a total of 142 inside the new shelter. They squawked some more when we unloaded them and they had to figure out where the rest of the night would be spent and who would roost next to whom.

The next morning, we opened the door. It seemed that there hadn't been any fighting. The two groups of chickens that had fought like crazy were now drinking out of the same waterer. We even opened the door to the older hen's section and they were sharing nicely too. Wow. It looked like the plan worked!

Then, the clever little devils started taking a jump at the electric netting. They flapped and climbed at the same time and about 15 birds got out again. Now they were all the more wary and harder to catch. We've been catching who we can and clipping the other wing. I caught one yesterday that already had two wings clipped. There's little more I can clip that won't require an operation and stitches!

So...we are still hunting eggs in the grass, only the dogs are hunting them too and they've figured out all the good hiding places. Most of the time I find empty shells. The ones inside the new area are giving us about 7 dozen a day, and we can find all of them, so all is not lost. I'm thinking maybe the only way to deal with the rebellious is put on my ninja costume again and keep them in solitary confinement. Maybe they'll be reformed.