Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

Pick Me Up.

Posted on | December 13, 2012 | 6 Comments

Well, things went from bad to worse.

The hose sprung a leak after constantly being unattached and reattached to the water hydrant due to freezing temperatures at night.  So a lovely mud slick developed outside the barn door.

One of the ducks turned up injured.  Possibly broken leg.  She can move around, but slowly.  And kind of floppingly.  Of course not floppingly enough to be an easy capture.  Her wings still work and she’ll fly right down to the pond when we attempt to take her into protective custody.  So the best we can do is guard her each day during the morning madness at the chicken trough, chasing others out of her space to ensure she gets a sufficient amount of food.

Isaac, one of the sheep, broke off a horn.  We have no idea how.  We wanted to examine it to figure out what happened and check for infection.  But we settled for spraying it with Blu-Kote from a distance, which was all he would tolerate.  He ended up with almost that entire side of his face blue, kind of like a Braveheart in the barn yard.  Plus I had to go to work with blue fingers for the next 3 days.

Riccio developed another sebaceous cyst and we had to drain it and sprinkle it with wound powder.  These cysts are common in guinea pigs, don’t seem to be painful, and can be cleaned up pretty well whenever you find him sitting in his cage oozing pus on everything.  Draining them does require a strong stomach or apparently some kind of sick proclivity like those people that constantly post videos of bursting sores, boils, blisters, pimples and other disgusting growths on YouTube.  Perhaps someone needs to buy them a guinea pig.

We are getting slews of Christmas cards every day in the mailbox.  Which just reminds me that we have yet to make and order any cards yet.  And what are the odds of that happening at this point?

Which also reminds me that we have failed to get out the Christmas decorations or put up a Christmas tree.   Getting out the decorations means braving the disorganized mess in the shed.  In addition to putting “clean out the shed” back on the To Do list.  Where it will sit until summer arrives and I take it off the list because no one cleans out the shed during snake and spider season.  And then I will ignore it until I need to get out the Christmas decorations next year.  It’s an exhausting and dysfunctional cycle.

Should I even bother to mention that it rained throughout the entire Christmas parade—-leaving us soaked and dispirited on the sidewalk and with a mountain of wet blankets to wash afterwards?

Then there’s the fact that the little ones’ last day of school is tomorrow.  They will be out for 3 weeks and bored after 3 days.  So, at some point, I need to start planning activities, crafts, and outings to keep them off the iPad and away from the television.  Perhaps they would enjoy clipping the stacks of coupons piled on the counter or cleaning the leaves out of the gutters.

All of this was complicated by the fact that the laptop broke and only turns on about once every 1,000,000 tries.  All the usual tricks like taking off the battery or making it sit on an angle are beginning to fail.  Too bad the real computer broke 2 years ago and is still sitting, dusty and impotent, in the office, waiting for someone to come up with $500 to fix its hard drive.  Now The Other Half and I are forced to address questions like:

1.  Is it cheaper to fix the computer or the laptop?

2.  Should we even bother to fix the laptop or just replace it with another laptop?

3.  Do we need to buy replacement software or risk using open source software that may not be compatible with work or school requirements?

4.  Do we trust the repair departments at big electronic stores or should we try using tech friends who fix electronics on the side?

These are diffcult questions for people like us.  We have a television where the bottom part of the picture is always cut off because we don’t know how to switch the display from regular to full screen.  Any part of a program or movie with subtitles is completely lost on us.  We have had a stereo sitting on the entertainment center for over a year that we cannot play because we don’t know how to hook up the speakers.  We just settle for plugging in one of the kids’ portable radio/CD players on the kitchen counter when we want to hear music downstairs.  We just don’t do electronics.  Of any kind.

So the kids have repeatedly come home from school to find me laying curled up in blankets on the couch, wrapped in my latest scarf, too cold to move.  Because the wood stove hasn’t worked since the chimney fire.

Oh, sure, I made meals and dragged myself through the housecleaning.  I made it to Ultimate Frisbee games and basketball practice.  But anyone could see that I was missing my usual pizazz.

I think I could have seasonal affective disorder,” I mentioned when one of the kids asked if I was feeling sick.

They looked confused.

“It was sunny and 70 degrees all last week,” they pointed out.

Right, but that was last week!  It’s been gloomy and rainy for 4 days!”

“I thought you said you wanted rain in order for the grass seed to take hold, ” they countered.

Really.  Can no one just empathize?

Obviously I had to take things into my own hands.  I considered getting a pedicure but my last one didn’t have any chips yet.  A massage would have been wonderful but I can only afford that once every 3 months and I had a hot towels and aromatherapy massage in November.  I slept through $5 movie day at the local theatre.

Things were truly desperate.

Thank goodness, in a stroke of amazing luck, the laptop finally booted up!  So after checking and jotting down the kids’ sports practice and game schedules; perusing emails about Christmas choir, field trips, and continuing education assignments; and printing off some Highlights hidden pictures and word searches for the boys, I did what any reasonable farmer would do.

I went straight to Craigslist.  I looked under the farm & garden section.  I searched for chickens.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Someone was looking to unload some 3 week old Silkie chicks at $5/each.  Jackpot!

We made arrangements to meet up, I set up the brooder room while humming my favorite Christmas carols, and the next day I came home with my box full of sunshine. 6 adorable Silkie chicks, including a partridge and a couple splashes.

Aaah.  That’s better.  The perfect pick me up that I needed to get through these doldrums.

It can’t feel like winter when it’s spring in the brooder room!


6 Responses to “Pick Me Up.”

  1. Andrew
    December 13th, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    Look, hard drives are NOT expensive any more. With all the folks you work with (me included), someone would be happy to help fix the computer. Plus, if you have the original disks, then reinstalling the software shouldn’t be difficult. I’ll (try to) do it if I can bring Grace over to play with the ducks and goats! I’ll even hook up your speakers for heaven’s sake!
    Cheers, Andy

  2. Katherine
    December 14th, 2012 @ 3:52 am

    Girlfriend, my family is leaving this morning and won’t be home until Sunday. I am available for drinking wine at your house or mine beginning anytime after morning milking. Knitting or not, gazing at your chicks could be a plan for the day. Can you make a drinking game with two housewives, two bottles of wine, and a clutch of chicks? Every time a chick poops….

  3. Jill
    December 14th, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    Sister, you need another Other Half. The kids can’t fix all the speaker/tv problems? They are the experts you are looking for… Maybe Middle and Little could clean out the shed and decorate the house…? LOL other people’s “problems” seem so easy to fix.

    The chicks are adorable but where was the pic of the blue goat or sheep? Braveheart or Avatar?

    I was thinking about you this week as I chaperoned yet another stupid field trip. IMAX all the way in Raleigh when the movie (altho great!) was not in IMAX format or in 3D and was only 45 minutes long. It took longer than that to get to Raleigh for crying out loud. But the best part was having the kids in firemen turn-out gear jumping rope. This taught them what? Oh I know, don’t wear slip on shoes to field trips…

    Hope your holiday blues subside! And why doesn’t your wood stove work???????????

  4. Ferne K
    December 14th, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    Four days of gloomy rain, oh my! You could live out here in Oregon where four days is very apt to turn into four months. But we are a very green state, and I love the trees. Hang in there! The chicks were a great idea. Think I’ll check into the kitten situation myself. Good luck with everything and merry Christmas preparations!

  5. Linda Kerlin
    December 15th, 2012 @ 5:08 am

    Good day to you—I always enjoy your posts—they make me feel like I am not the only one out there with “all” that can happen to one in ones life—-but do enjoy taking care of your “critters” and “children—my children out grown so now I just get the grandkids but one will be moving back in with us and that shall be a challenge since we have not had children about every day for almost 22 yrs—-The “critters here are my life now and I woke up back on nov 1 with blood in my eye and I am still not able to carry water to the barn—and you know what that is like in the frosty weather??? so the husband has had to be elected to do so and he is not the farmer—I am —wrote all this to say—life sure has it ups and downs—keep the faith and you shall get thru—and no that at least I enjoy your posts–to bring me back up from that down feeling we all sometimes can get—Many Blessings

  6. Lin
    December 16th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    I love that Andrew. Everyone needs a friend like him.

    I like Jill’s ideas too–empower those kids to help ya with the decorating. And maybe even making a few batches of cookies too. I have found that more gets done when some people are excited about doing them again. And if you let the kids do it their way (within reason), then you can get some things accomplished.

    Aw, I hope things turn around for you. 🙂 NOT a good time of year for bad luck.

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