An Honest Days Work

I began my quest towards a backyard chicken flock this morning at about 7:00 AM.  I got up an searched the Internet for some pictures of chicken tractors (movable chicken pens) and drafted up plans for my own based on the things I saw that I liked.  At 8:00 I headed to the local hardware store to pick up the necessary lumber and a few other supplies.  I made a quick stop at McDonald’s to get some Chicken Biscuits for Richie who was still in bed.  I knew I might need a helping hand and nothing gets him out of bed faster than the promise of food!

After we had a bite to eat and took care of an emergency with our cat (see below), I began to build the yard portion of my chicken tractor.  After several long hours of labor I finally finished the chicken yard.  I am sore and sunburned but man does it feel good to have accomplished so much!

Now all I have left to do is build the hen house! That is a project for tomorrow though!

The open end with no chicken wire is where the hen house will attach to the yard.  The two sticky/outy things on the front are the handles.  Eventually there will be wheels at the back.  You can lift up on the handles and easily roll the “tractor” to its new location allowing the hens access to fresh ground and feed!

I also added a door in case I need to get in and out of the yard for any reason!  I did this ALL BY MYSELF!!! I am very proud of my work!

Cat Emergency – Several days ago our cat came home and I noticed that the top of his tail was swollen.  He has been acting a little strange lately too.  He hides under the couch for 10 or more hours at a time.  He was still eating so I wasn’t too concerned.  Well last night he was on my lap and was laying in such a way that there was pressure on his tail from my leg.  He kept meowing and getting very upset.  Eventually he went under the couch.  Well as of 8:45 this morning he still had not come out so we moved the couch to get him.  When I picked him up some blood started to ooze from his tail.  Of course he was crying and scratching and quite obviously not happy!  Well then the wound started to ooze all kinds of nasty stuff in amounts you could not believe!  It was the grossest thing ever!  We were able finally to get a look at the wound and it is some sort of puncture wound.  We are unsure as to what caused the wound but I guess it doesn’t matter.  Once it was completely drained we were able to clean it and give him some antibiotics.  He should make a complete recovery!  He is currently hiding in the barn.  He is so mad at me I don’t think he will come home for a day or two!

I see dead people!

Something REALLY CRAZY happened to my husband and I last Thursday.

Every Thursday we go to a Bookstore/Coffee Shop in town for my husbands Chess Club meeting.  I don’t mind going because I get to hang out with my good friend Dee and we can look at books, talk about school and sip coffee.

We left the meeting last Thursday at about ten after 9, so it was close to 9:40 when we got off our exit.  The weather had been strange the last few days.  Rain, wind and tons of lightning.  Richie was listening to his new Rolling Stones CD that he had just purchased and singing along.  I was watching for deer like I always do.  Richie tends to focus more on what is right in front of him and since we see deer almost daily I always try to watch for them.

We pulled off the highway and then proceeded to cross the bridge that goes back over the highway.  I glance ahead and noticed something just off the edge of the road on the opposite end of the overpass.  “Boy that is a large, dead dog!” I thought to myself.  I glanced at the clock then but just as we passed by the dead dog I saw out of the corner of my eye what looked like a HUMAN foot!

I was momentarily dumb struck, in shock, FROZEN! I couldn’t make any words come out.  Richie, who saw NOTHING, kept driving until we came to a stop sign about a quarter of a mile away.  I was still unsure of what I might have seen.

“Richie???” I said weakly.

He glanced at me and his eyes got wide.  He later said I looked as white as a ghost.  “What?”

“Um, I think I saw a dead body back there,” I said matter-of-factly.

“WHAT?!?”

“Yeah I’m not kidding.”

“WHERE?”

“On the overpass.”

“Okay, get the cell phone out.”

So Richie spins the car around and I start dialing 9-1-1 and prepare to hit the send button.

“I’m afraid to look so just tell me if I need to call,” I say.

I cover my eyes only sort-of.  I am still peaking through my fingers.  As Richie rounds the corner we both see the body and Richie says, “CALL”.  But I am already talking to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

“There is a body on the side of the road,” my voice manages to shake out.

She asks my location as Richie gets close enough to roll down the window to yell out at the body of the woman that is lying completely NAKED on the side of the road. “Are you okay?”  Just then her knee moves ever so slightly and I here a haunting moan come from the woman.

I am yelling into the phone, “She’s not dead, she’s not dead!”  The operator tries to calm me down but I am so freaked out.  Richie is now pulling past the woman and turning the car around again.  Once he realized she was naked he thought it was best that I be between him and her.  He pulls back to the spot where she is laying spread eagle style on the side of the road.  I can only imagine what has happened to her.  I’m afraid she was raped, beaten and dumped there.  Left to die in the rain.

I roll down my window to the woman who was only moments ago moaning like she was about to take her final breaths of life.  “Mam, are you okay?”

“Oh yeah, I’m FINE,” is her reply as she starts to sit up.

“Did someone hurt you, are you okay?” I ask again.

“I’m okay.”

“Well I am on the phone with the police and they are on there way.”

You would think this would be comforting to a woman who is laying naked, in the rain, on the side of the highway.  Instead all hell breaks loose at this point! She jumps to her feet screaming, “You called the police? Why did you call the police?” And she starts running after us!  I am rolling up the window, terrified beyond belief.  Richie grabs the phone and tells the officer who has just asked if we see a car around, “NO! I don’t see a car! I see a CRAZY NAKED lady chasing after us and I’m getting out of here! She is obviously on drugs or something and we aren’t sticking around here to find out! She is YOUR problem now!”

As Richie speeds away I turn around to see a completely naked woman running back and forth across the overpass bridge with her arms flailing around and I burst into tears!

This was SURELY the scariest and weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

A few days ago we found out the name of the girl.  We also found out that she was probably tweaking on Meth and probably has no recollection of what happened.  So the moral of the story is:

DON’T DO DRUGS!!!!!!

Farmgirl at Heart

Welcome to my second post in the Farmgirl Blog-a-thon! This weeks topic is “What being a farmgirl means to me”.

The blog-a-thon is being hosted by my friend Tina over at http://gardengoose.blogspot.com.  You can also see my previous post to learn more about the blog-a-thon.

I have talked on this subject a little before but I will try to go into a little more about my journey to farmgirlhood!

I really think my initial journey into farmgirlhood began in 1987 when my family moved to Vermont just before I entered the fourth grade.  We moved from a crowded neighborhood in a fairly large Connecticut town to a large rural farmhouse in the Village of Quechee, Vermont!  We were on 7 acres (which seemed like millions) and surrounded by land, land and more land.  We could not see a single house from ours except for the distant farm house at the horse farm that bordered our land.  Our land was full of treasures to be discovered and my sister and I spent hours exploring.

The rock wall that seperated our yard from the horses was centuries old and a place of fun and imagination.  The pond in the backyard became the hub of much of our imaginary play.  We played with our dolls in the stream, cooked “meals” of berries and wild cucumbers in the woods.  We played cowboys and indians with bows we made from sticks and arrows left behind by hunters.  We caught salamanders, snakes, frogs and tadpoles.  We “fished” in a fishless pond but had fun none the less, even building a raft out of found materials.  We got to see deer and fox and even giant loggerhead turtles laying eggs in the front yard. We once had pet Swans for about a day but they weren’t too happy in our pond and we had to return them to the original owners.

Kids in Vermont had a different appreciation for outdoor play.  Video games had yet to reach mainstream popularity and cable TV was still a dream for most pf the rural people around us.  We actually played outside! Most every memory I have of being a kid takes place outdoors.

I dont remember doing a lot of gardening but I know that we had a small garden at least one year.  We even made a scarecrow and called her Matilda.  The thing about Vermont was that most people gardened so we were constantly receving bags full of fresh produce.

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks back we did make maple syrup.  This was one of the highlights of my childhood and I have such fond memories of it.  If you are interested in learning more about our sugaring adventures you can read my earlier post.

One of my “heros” has always been Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Every time I watched Little House on the Prairie or read one of Laura’s books I felt a connection to her.  I love cooking and making things and loved to read about all of her adventures.  I loved it when the power went out because we would play “olden days” and pretend we were the Ingalls sisters.

Early on I really began to enjoy crafting and creating.  I was always trying something new wether it was crochet or sewing or just making things out of stuff I found around the house.  I remember crocheting little fish with my friend Shannon.  I remember when my mom gave us scraps of fabric and we hand sewed pillows and filled them with the soft fibers of the milkweed pods we found outside.  We slept on the pillows that night only to wake up with puffy, red eyes and sneezing fits!  One Christmas I even prepared a “how-to” video for my family with directions on how to make things from christmas ornaments to stationary out of old magazine pages.

My friend Shannon was also a huge influence on my love of the Farmgirl life.  Shannon lived on a beautiful farm with all kids of animals.  We spent hours wandering the barns, chasing cats, playing in the hay, and exploring the ponds.  We used the old kitchen to cook all kinds of things.  One fond memory is making bread in an old coffee can.  We spent many nights sleeping on the sun porch and dreaming of our futures living on big farms.

As we got older, my sister started to dream about city life.  While I was intrigued by the city I knew deep down I would always live in the country.  We both moved away from Vermont and went to college where we both met our husbands.  Amanda’s marriage took her to Boston, Rockton/Rockford, Illinois, Nashville and then back to Illinois.  Although she now lives in a suburb she has always been much closer to the city life!  My marriage took me to a rural town (population 224) in Arkansas!  We live on 200 acres of land!

I love rural life! I love that we can have 3 horses, 4 dogs, countless barn cats, and 1 indoor/outdoor cat.  We have plans to get 2 beef cattle and a milk goat in the next year.  We are getting 3 or 4 chickens sometime in the next month or so.  We have room to grow fruit trees, berries, veggies and herbs.  We can hunt deer and turkey right in our back yard.  If we were the squirrel eating type (which we are not!) we could hunt those too.

I guess it truely doesn’t matter where you live, you can be a farmgirl anywhere, but for me I truly enjoy the rural lifestyle.  I enjoy being able to “live off the land”.  Life seems a little simpler and a little less hectic.  We can hang out underwear on the clothes line and no one will see it.  We can let the dogs run free and they won’t bother anyone.  Our rooster can crow at 2 am and the only people he will wake is us.  Farmlife is good!

If you ish to connect with other farmgirls check out the forums at Mary Janes Farm!

 

Farmgirl Blog-a-thon

My friend Tina over at Garden Goose is sponsoring a Farmgirl Blog-a-thon.  You can check out her page for all the specifics but the basic idea is to encourage all the Farmgirls over at Mary Janes Farm to post on their blogs and to let the world know a little bit more about what it is to be a farmgirl.

If you have read my blog at all then you know that I value the concept of “getting back to my roots”.  My “hero” is Laura Ingalls Wilder and lately I have by trying to do things that bring out the Pioneer or Farmgirl spirit within myself.  For me, being a farmgirl is a way to better appreciate the wonderful resources that God has given me. It is a way for me to do something in my own little corner of the world to help protect and improve the environment.  It is my way to help keep a plastic bag out of the landfill or to free some field of the chemicals that have poisoned it for so long.

I know some people think what I am doing is crazy.  I can’t possibly make that big of a difference.  True, maybe that one plastic bag I refuse at the grocery store each week won’t make a huge difference but I feel a difference in my own life.  Maybe I can convince 1 person, through my actions, to do the same.  Now I am not keeping 52 bags out of the landfill but 108.  If that person persuades one person to use a reusable bag once a week it is now 160 bags that don’t go into the landfill.  Maybe my actions alone don’t make the difference but I am part of the collective that does and to me that is important!

Being a farmgirl is about simplification and love for our surroundings.  It’s about embracing a simpler way of life.  I am PROUD to be a farmgirl.

This week’s topic is “Tie One On”! An apron that is!

I have three special aprons!

My Southern Dairy apron is my FAVORITE!  I made this apron about 2 years ago.  It is entirely hand-stitched!  I made it one Sunday afternoon just for the fun of it.  It is a little wrinkly because I just took it out of the wash and haven’t ironed it yet!  I didn’t us a patter I just made it up as I went along.

My next favorite and most used apron is my school apron.  I am an art teacher.  This apron stays in my classroom.  It is just a plain green canvas apron but it tells a story when you look at it.  It is covered in stains from paint, ink, glue markers, clay, you name it!  The pockets contain pencils, markers, paintbrushes, paperclips and usually an assortment of random things I have found laying on the classroom floor.  I have had this apron since I studied art in college so the history of the paint marks on the apron is something I will not be willing to part with for a long time.

This last apron was given to me on New Years Eve by my mother in laws best friend Judy.  I love this apron because it is a full apron so it is great for when I cook things like bacon or spaghetti sauce that have a tendency to splash on my shirts!

So there you have it!

If you want to participate in this blog-a-thon be sure to check out Tina’s post at www.gardengoose.blogspot.com.

To share with other farm girls and to learn about the Farm Girl way of life visit: http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/

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