Shit That Happens on a Farm

Here’s the honest-to-god truth about living on the farm: Shit happens. A lot of time we’re talking about actual, literal shit (so many animals, you guys, and so much poop), but there’s also a lot of metaphorical shit, and also a lot of holy-shit-did-that-just-happen shit.

For example, since the possible-foundering incident I’ve been super diligent about picking out the donkeys hoofs every day or two, and tonight I’m standing out in the pasture in my sweaty gym clothes trying to keep the mosquitoes off of me while I’ve got a death grip on one of Doc’s rear legs, and because he hates getting his hooves picked he starts thrashing his leg, and because I’m a badass who has been lifting weights for the last two years I double-up my grip on his leg like I’m not giving up that easy, donkey. And then Doc responds to my display of authority by kicking his back leg out so hard that he farts. ‘

That happened.

Have you ever had your face eight inches away from a donkeys ass when he lets loose? No? Okay then. This is what farm life is like sometimes: Donkey farts directly to your face.

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And, honestly guys? That’s just the beginning. Here’s some shit that’s been going down on the farm lately.

1.) Tornadoes. 

Seriously. This is Michigan, not effing Kansas, but in the three years I’ve lived here I’ve had tornadoes try to tear the roof off my house twice. The first time they passed about 10 miles north and 10 miles south of my house on the very day I’d had all the old shingles torn off the roof and nothing but a big blue tarp protecting the insides.

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At the time I thought that was a close call… and then earlier this week, late Monday night (or early Tuesday morning if you’re that kind of person) I started getting calls from concerned family and friends. At 1:30 in the morning. Apparently there was a tornado heading right for my little part of Michigan, but, because I live in an 150 year old house with 16″ thick exterior brick walls, we don’t hear shit when it comes to storms, so I pretty much slept through the whole thing.

I did get out of bed and put a pair of pants on, just in case, and I think that counts for something…

When everyone told me the trouble had passed I went back to bed and didn’t realize until the morning that 3 miles down the road someone had the entire top of their house torn off, and less than a half mile down the road there was a house missing half it’s roof shingles.

So the moral of that story is, I’m goddamn exhausted enough to sleep through a tornado these days. And also, I’m super grateful that the farm is still intact…

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If there’s ever a day you feel lucky, it’s the day after a tornado ripped the roof off a house down the street and the throw cushions on your patio furniture didn’t even get blown off…

Effing crazy.

2.) Baby Nugs, or Not. 

So, if any of you are calendar watchers (or happen to follow me on Instagram) you know that the female guinea has been sitting on her nest of eggs for about a month now. A normal hatching time for guineas is 26-28 days, and by my calculation that time should have been up between Monday and Wednesday of last week, so I’ve been on Guinea Watch for a full week…

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Day 26, nothing…

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Day 28, nothing…

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Day 30, nothing…

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At this point, I’m convinced I have nothing but a pissed-of guinea sitting on a bunch of unfertilized eggs. I’m sure I have to get her off the nest, but does this look like the face of a bird that is going to be quietly removed from her nest?

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Hell no.

So I decide to let her spend another week on the nest, and just today I walked out there to check on her, and it took me a minute to realize what I was seeing…

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That’s a very territorial guinea and also a dead baby chick (or keet, in this case) right outside the nest.

So, holy shit, those eggs are fertilized. And apologies for anyone who finds this graphic, but I managed to get the dead keet away from the nest, and it looks like it didn’t fully hatch..

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Poor little nuggle. I know this happens sometimes, but I don’t know if it means there’s a possibility that the other eggs will hatch successfully soon or not… So I just decided to give mama another week on the nest and see what happens. She’s certainly in good enough health to try and forcibly remove one of my fingers when I try to check her eggs, so she’s probably good to hang out on the nest for a while longer…

I have no idea if I’m hoping the 21 remaining eggs hatch or not at this point, so we’re just going to wait and see what happens.

3.) Broody Chickens 

Turns out my female guinea isn’t the only broody bird on the farm… I’ve had one Nug who decided to go broody and try to hatch her non-fertilized eggs a few weeks ago. My failsafe for this is putting any broody hens in “chicken jail” (a dog crate set on top of a pallet) to break them of their desire to hatch things, but I also have found that if I just remove them from their nests a few nights in a row, they may decide not to sit because of it, and it’s far less stressful for all of us.

So, one evening last week– let’s say around 7 PM when it’s still plenty light outside– I walk out to the barn and notice my broody hen sitting on her nest. I also may or may not have been drinking a bottle of wine at this point, but, regardless, I knew I wanted to get the chicken off the nest and also that I didn’t want to spend 20 minutes walking back to the house and fruitlessly searching for a pair of gloves.

Luckily, I had a “better” idea. I was wearing a sleeveless tank top at the time, and I figured if I just took my shirt off (I’m in a barn after all, who is going to see me?) and tossed it over the hen, she wouldn’t be able to peck me as I lifted her off the nest. So… I did.

I took my shirt off, and tossed it over the hen with the intent of covering her head. Right? That makes sense. That’s a good idea. And in no version of reality did I envision tossing my shirt over that chickens head in such a way that her head came through the arm holes. Swear to god, you could not do that shit if you tried. I freehand tossed my shirt over a chicken and she basically ended up wearing it, which meant two very important things…

  1. Her head– and therefore her beak– was still very much uncovered and able to peck the shit out of me if I got my hand near her.
  2. I was now standing inside my barn, not wearing a shirt… the chicken was wearing my shirt.

My options at this point were to attempt to remove my shirt from said chicken without losing a finger, or to walk back to my house in my bra and find a new shirt and pair of gloves. In broad daylight when everyone is driving home from work.

What. The. Shit.

I’m just going to let you all play out the possible scenarios for how that ended and let you pick the most likely one…

This is my life, you guys. And I love every goddamned a-doneky-just-farted-in-my-face-and-a-chicken-stole-my-shirt minute of it. Not glamorous… but it’s still pretty awesome.

23 Responses

  1. Oh, man! I was laughing and spit out my beer. Seriously, thank you, that last bit about the shirt and chicken was priceless. I really needed that laugh as I inadvertently lit my front lawn on fire this afternoon. When a special exterior wood stain says, “May spontaneously combust, take care in disposing of used brushes and cloths,” you need to take that warning seriously.

    1. returned the laugh and spit out your drink… my was Pepsi… at least it was outside, grass is easy to repair. Glad you are okay and able to comment.

  2. That was some crazy weather we had this week here in SE Michigan. I have never heard of 5 tornadoes from one storm system before around here.

  3. I was having a pretty sad week until I read you blog update. Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it. But, having lived on a ranch/farm, non of really surprised me. Lisa West is right, you are a great story teller. BTW, you went back to the house with no shirt….I’m betting on it…literally.

    1. I put a waterer near her nest, and I’ve seen her off of it a few times. Like chickens they do a lot of sitting (and using up their fat stores) when they go broody, but I think she’s also eating once every day or two.

  4. I say, if one can ROCK shit like you can, then life has got to be pretty d_mn awesome! (You crack. me. up. Thanks!!)

    1. P.S. I think you told that mama that you’re not giving up that easy, then took your shirt back – all fingers intact – and walked back to the house with shirt in hand. Because, authority. 😉

  5. First comment ever after a couple of years of having fun just reading along.
    Love your blog, love your attitude, envy you for your farm, apprechiate all the work you do.

    I feel sorry for the maybe-mama-to-be-guinea. If the eggs are unfertilized for sure, maybe you could give her the pleasure of motherhood by sneaking in a few fertilized eggs* that will soon hatch? They don’t even need to be guineas, but she will love them and eventually leave the unfertilized eggs behind.

    (Sorry if my english is bad, I am not a native speaker.)

    Keep going!

    ——————————————
    *Farmers from the neighbourhood with chicken maybe can help you out with some eggs?!

  6. There’s No Place Like Home…. you are a v/g discriptive story teller especially so with the value added photos to enhance the true aroma of a particular situation. By the frown on your smiling face Doc’s small stature doesn’t take much away from the pugnant buque of his windbreaking gesture reply to gripping his leg harder.
    Funny chicken stuff one can’t make up…heh heh I laughed hard 🙂
    I would have walked not ran to the house thrown on a shirt grabbed gloves n went back out and addressed it, bra covers more than work-out tops worn at gyms.
    Living in the country right in the midst of mother nature’s creations and continued work is totally rewarding on a daily basis. One experiences things often, that make you go hmmmm¿¿¿ don’t see that every day,
    awesome things that are priceless that many never experience. You indeed are living the dream Kit, and your critter coral is growing…have a great wknd, enjoy reading you, and learning too. I want to put in 4 for now, raised cedar beds, and will refer to your archives.
    🙂

  7. HA HA HA!!! so funny! i think i would have tried to take the shirt off the chicken for round 2. says the girl who won’t touch parrots for fear they’ll take my finger off at the knuckle. great stories, glad your house survived tornado #2. i’m sure your new bed and mattress contribute to your healthy deep sleep! as does your farm and gym exhaustion!

  8. This cracked me up… you are such a wonderful storyteller! You really should consider writing a book someday! (Something like Jenna Wogginrich’s books about running a one-woman farm, but a heaping sidedish of humor added.)

  9. Wowzer, what a week! You have such an awesome attitude, and such a great way with words – I think you need your own TV show about a girl on a farm

  10. You seriously can’t make that stuff up! Donkey farts and a chicken wearing a tank top! Your farm is awesome!

    And 21 guinea eggs? Really? What if they do all hatch!???

  11. I love reading about the shit that happens on a Farm. LOL. I am quite familiar with farts to the face. My horse tends to be quite the farter. Seems like every time I want to brush her tail she has gas. This past Saturday, she just let one go on me while I was standing behind her chatting with someone.

  12. Hmmm… with the chicken-shirt incident, I’m betting that you skipped going all the way to the house and just whipped up a new shirt out of scrap wood 😉

  13. Oh Kit, So I’m being bad and reading this at work. I think i almost imploaded trying not to HAR HARDY HAR very loudly about the Guinea wearing your shirt!!! This is something I can so see happening to me and am thankful for the lesson you just gave me. “keep your shirt on and go find gloves Cindi, your neighbors are closer than Kit’s”

    I love how down to earth and honest you are and not a bit hesitant to tell it like it is. So great. I also was just catching up on your last few posts, I tore up the ugly tile and 1/4″ plywood from the master bath I’m redoing. I agree with you, sub floor is BEAUTIFUL compared to a vinyl tile floor! Keep the posts coming and know you make a lot of people smile just reading about your days/weeks/years 🙂

  14. “Have you ever had your face eight inches away from a donkeys ass when he lets loose?” haha… that cracked me up!! Glad I found your blog!

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