Here’s a snapshot of July from a few years ago …
“Well, life on the farm is kinda laid baaaaack!”
Really? Let’s see now. How has my week gone …
Two of our goats, Bambi and Jimmy, had a touch of something or other. Dave gave them a wormer and I gave them two doses of penicillin. It occurs to me now that I’m the family injector. Dave doesn’t say, “I need to give the goats (insert: cat, dog … hamster) a shot.” He says, “We need to give the goats a shot,” and then he waits for me to grab the paraphernalia and meet him in the goat barn, where he wrassles the goat into position and looks at me with patient, innocent expectation. On the second go-round of said medical procedure, the needle bent as I tried to insert it in Jimmy’s skin. He’s such a tough buzzard he just swung that whiskery head toward me, bared his lips, threw back his head, and laughed.
I saved a duckling, only to lose it later. Quacks-a-lot, the mother, sat on her second batch of eggs all month. When the one lone hatcher emerged from the nest (which Quacks had cleverly hidden against a fallen log and under a bramble of blackberry bushes) and wobbled after the mother to go meet her eight siblings and two fathers, I stood nearby grinning. It was the cutest picture you can imagine. The duckling was so new-on-her-legs that she’d take three flappy steps and topple to the side. Quacks would move a bit further away and urge Little Bit to keep trying. And try she did, though it took her a good seven minutes to waddle/flop her way to the waiting group. And they greeted her, as I’d expected, but not in the way that you welcome new members of the family. Those eight teenager ducklings rushed and pecked the baby, which pulled a fury out of me in about half-a-heartbeat. I swarmed the group, lecturing all the way, and plucked Little Bit off the grass.
Something you may not know about ducklings is that they imprint on you in about ten seconds. We’ve been through this before. Once a trio of ducklings determined I was their mother and used to wait outside whichever window I last poked my head out. I’d see them on the lawn with their heads turned to one side, rolling that one eyeball around to snatch another glimpse of me, Mama Duck. It wasn’t until our goose adopted them that they severed their emotional ties to me. So when I stood, earlier this week, holding that little taupe-ish fluff and whispering comfort, I knew I was in danger of stealing Quacks-a-lot’s position.
With Tera’s help, we cleared the chicken yard of ducks. She brought me three slices of bread and took Little Bit down to the pen. I stood up near the house and called out, in Motherese (you know, the language of mothers everywhere), “Here, Babies!” All eight teenager ducks — who know my voice and understand that those two words mean “bread” — skittered like the almost-able-to-fly critters they are and halted at my feet. If they were startled by my gritted teeth and eruptions of “I do NOT want to bless you,” and “You are very mean siblings,” they didn’t let on. They cleaned me out of three slices of bread and waddled back to the pen, no doubt to further torment the newcomer. But by this time, Tera had shoved an old pillow into one of their fence holes, and an old tin can into the other–and the marauding ducks couldn’t find a way into the chicken pen. With baby safe inside with its mother, I breathed easier … but I shouldn’t have. Two hours later, Quacks-a-lot was mysteriously out of the pen with the others, and Little Bit was nowhere to be found. I don’t know what happened to her, but I suspect she followed Mama out and the teenagers got her. I’m still sick about it.
I hemmed two shirts for Zac, and played cards with Tera, and taught a friend how to knit.
I picked and ate the first blueberry of the season … and it was bliss. Picked a bucket more so we can have spicy blueberry butter and blueberry muffins this winter.
I “supervised” as Dave demolished our rock hearth and wood-burning insert. I’ll supervise again when he rebuilds the hearth and installs a free-standing wood stove. And come fall, I’ll be busy making cocoa to go along with all the “sitting around the stove” we’ll need to do.
I harvested my lavender, and brought it in to dry. Soon I’ll have tiny bowls of pungent loveliness scattered throughout the house, and little baggies of the stuff tucked in Tera’s dresser drawers, and mine.
I pruned the weakest grape vines, and trimmed my comfrey, and replanted the chives and Sweet Annie the chickens uprooted.
I took Dave and Larry for a walk along the trail, and tried my hardest not to scream when Larry found and sniffed a squished snake lying at the edge of the path.
I counted my roses, over and over. Didn’t know I could count that high. When I could bear to do so, I cut three and brought them inside to stick in a Mason jar.
I made banana bread, and wheat bread, giant chocolate chip cookies, and eclairs.
I watched the birth of seven kittens, and the hatching of four chicks.
So the next time you hear, “Well, life on the farm is kinda laid baaaaack!” see it for the fib it is. Nothin’ laid back here. But I can’t imagine living any other way.