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Farming as Reality, or Sweetbreads has a Chicken on Her Head

Nevat playing in the leaf pile, one of many each day's wonderful moments

I was on the phone with my Mom recently, just recounting the tales of the day and so-forth, pretty typical conversation. As I was remembering our day it occurred to me that farming is now our reality and stuff that used to seem ridiculous to us was now just another moment in the day. The particular instance that brought on this realization goes as follows:

We went out for our standard morning chores. With all the rain we've had (I swear it must be 20-25in since Dec 1st) things have gotten pretty muddy. So muddy, in fact, our truck was stuck for about 4 days until we could find someone with a big enough truck to get it out. Over that time we resorted to pushing a wheel-barrow with feed and hay to all the animals and using our 4wd Subaru for anything that required a vehicle.

So I push on out the wheel-barrow and we feed the pigs and give them a good morning scratch and they grunt a lot and eat like pigs and we move on to see the goats and chickens. Since the chickens have only been with us for about a week we've yet to let them out of their coop. We want them to know it's home, so after 2 weeks or so we'll start letting them out. For now, however, if I need to do something in the coop, they'll be in there with me. 

That wouldn't be so bad in itself, except the only way in the coop is through a large metal gate that folds down to the ground to form a ramp... and it weighs a ton... and it would expose an entirely open side for the chickens to jump out if it were pulled down. Another thing that would happen if we put the gate down is that the goats would go inside. Chickens out, goat inside, definitely not the the goal.

So our solution is to lower the gate a bit and prop it up with stick. That way we have a crack at the top to put feed and water in and out and there's no way for anything to escape/enter. Seems perfect, and it was, but the chickens kept laying their eggs on the floor of the coop and there's no way to get them unless I go inside and pick them up. We have trap-doors that open to the nesting boxes, but you can't reach the floor from them. 

Which means that I have to get inside the coop basically everyday, which means the gate needs to come down enough for me to climb in, which is pretty far. This requires Sweetbreads to guard the door, keeping chickens in and goats out. Not so easy when there's 12 chickens and 11 goats, each wanting what the other's got.

So today as I climb in the coop I hear Sweetbreads saying, "No, no you stay out. Oh no, get out of there!" and that's when I knew a goat climbed in with me. Sure enough, I turn around and one of our Alpines, Springbok, quickly scampered up behind me. At that moment I turn around and see one of the Barred Rocks fly up onto Sweetbreads' head as she leans in to pull Springbok out. The chicken starts squawking like mad, the goat starts eating the chicken food, and Sweetbreads doesn't quite know what to do, but seems very calm about the whole thing. 

I look back at her and don't even blink. Springbok gets a little nudge and jumps out of the coop, the chicken flies off Sweetbreads' head into the pasture and finds a place to hide and I climb out of the coop to go get it. I catch the chicken and back into the coop it goes. We quickly shut the gate, feed the dogs and head back to the house since it's 30 degrees outside. No mention of the events that just took place.

In fact, I didn't even think of it again until I was recollecting the events of the day with my Mom. If such a morning had occurred on our first day out here it would've been all we talked about. Now it didn't even bear mentioning! Yet when I was telling my Mom all three of us were cracking up. I'll never forget looking at Sweetbreads with her head in the coop and a chicken perched on top. Wish I could've snapped a pic.

With so much else going on farming is definitely reality, but it's important to have a good laugh and recollect the little moments that mean everything. 


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