After moving in next door to my parents, who, through the years, I’d only spent limited time with; I discovered a whole world beneath my feet that operated separately from the world we’d departed from. An over-grown summer garden, suffering the effects of generational business, as well as the prized poultry area, full of squawks and ruffles that I had not been privy to for well over thirty years, awaited my exploration and assistance.
As a man that takes advantage of every opportunity…those he seeks out as well as those that haphazardly land in his front yard; my dad quickly set us all to work, prepping for, planting and fencing around the fall/winter garden. At the same time, he was teaching me how to administer different medicines and supplements and ointments to the different animals he was raising. Like a whirlwind, Dad pulled us into his microcosm on earth and I, for one, loved it.
At first, I must admit, I wasn’t very excited about working with chickens. The garden is always a place I will enjoy, but chickens are pretty gross, really. However, after working in the remodeling business for five years, and pulling a few toilets and p-traps, not to mention changing diapers for eight years straight; gross is something I’ve learned to handle with a wee bit of dignity…after the first few utterances of disgust, at least.
Somewhere along the way, the silliness between the chickens jumping, out of fear and my own jumping, out of fear, wore off. Well, mostly. Mr. M still keeps me on my toes. He’s a shifty-eyed, intimidating one, I’m telling ya!
I sing to the chickens. It seems to calm them down and it seems to keep me calm. I am glad to be able to help care for this place my parents have spent so many years cultivating. But I will be the first to admit, I am sometimes overwhelmed. My boys aren’t as excited about the change in lifestyles as I have been, and they haven’t taken to the hoe with as much excitement as I had expected them to. Sometimes it takes more effort to get effort out of them than it is worth.
But this is just the beginning. I am fighting against the world to form well-rounded, fully capable, intelligent and dignified men…FIGHTING THE WORLD! But at least I have two folks nearby who are willing to step into this battle with me.
All of this— living so close to my parents, and handling the animals, and raising the boys in a new environment, has been one big crash course in farming and co-habitation.
I’ve always said that I want to spend my life learning, and I definitely stepped from a stalemate situation into a place of constant education. It is also a place of safety and love and plenty of laughter. A good place out in the country, away from all the noise and hub-bub, a place where boys can be boys and eventually grow into men.
I hope that you enjoy this journey along with me, as we’ve only just begun.
Yesterday, when I entered the caged fowl and rabbit area, I noticed pink things wriggling on the ground behind the rabbit and quails’ cages. Our young doe, who I’ve named Daphne, had her first litter of 5 kits. Only 3 were barely alive when I found their little cold, naked bodies.
I quickly prepared them a nest and got a lamp to warm them up. After they were warm, I offered them a dropper of water. They did not attempt to latch on, but I was able to get a little water into each of them.
When dad got home from work, he put the nest in Daphne’s cage. (I had tried this earlier, and tried to lay her in the nest, but she freaked and hopped out.) Dad experienced similar results.
Today, Daphne still does not seem interested in having anything to do with her precious little babies. We still have a lamp on them, and I have gotten two of the three to latch on, temporarily, to the dropper of water. The third did take in a little, but did not yet latch on.
As I carried on, cleaning water dishes and refreshing those and the food for all the caged animals, I came upon another of our young does. She had two big chunks of hair ripped out in the corners of her cage, so I quickly prepared her a nest as well. This young mother-to-be gave me notice!! Yippee! First time for everything.
I am about to go check on her for the final time this evening. I hope she is a better and more instinctual mother than Daphne. I will be able to let her adopt Daphne’s babies, if she does well with her own. I need some help here, I’m new to this! Hopefully, I can sit down and talk with Dad, so I will know other measures to take with the newborns. If you have any advice, I’m all ears! Ha and I’m pun-ny too!
Other reports on the farm include our d’Uccle hen’s daily egg!! Things like this will make a country girl happy. Well, the sun’s sinkin’ fast. Better go check on the mother-to-be and the babies.
Until next time, this is the Crazy Chicken Lady, signing OUT!
Vaya con Dios