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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

Farm Girl Status Plus This Mornings Update

I think I mentioned that I am not a “farm girl” wannabe. As a matter of fact, farm girl never even entered my head, my resume, my thoughts or my dreams, either as a girl or now, especially now.

Today I may well, ulbeit sadly, qualify for the title.

Have I mentioned that Brian bought chickens? No probably not, it was not a mutual consent type of idea. It took me quite a while to begin to talk about it without whining….. as I probably am now, but I digress. This is about farm girl status.

Brian has just finished building what I call the chicken mansion…. Boy lucky chickens, I was eyeballing it for a workshop…… daydreaming about the things I could have made in there.

I have made no secret of the fact that I do not wish to be the “animal keeper”. If Brian wants to have animals, he should be prepared to take care of them…..especially in the winter, I am not your hike outside in minus 40 and chop through the frozen water with an axe to water the animals, kind of gal. I have been very clear about this, but I suppose we are not quite into winter yet. For now I get to drive my car into the cow field with the bucket of grain and feed the 4 cows and the 1 black bellied sheep. The reason I do not take the quad is that Brian kind of wrecked that for me.

This non-farm girl does not appreciate sitting on my quad, quite unprotected and have four 1,500lb animals come running at me because they want the grain. Quite literally, the ground shakes as they come running at me, it is totally unnerving! You see, Brian on occasion used the quad to go and feed the cows and he is a happy to call out “here cows!” at the top of his lungs as he brings them their grain. They love it and they love him! I, on the other hand, do not enjoy being surrounded by 4 huge animals all sniffing for the grain on me, it is not my idea of a good time.

So now I take the car and I try to be in and out before those cows realize I am there. I feel much safer and I can still hear my friend Nelson’s voice (he is a former cow farmer), “Jane, cows will kill you, you have to be careful!” Then I heard about a lady who got squashed between a cow and a fence a few weeks ago and died. So I err on the side of caution and take my car!

Back to the chickens… we have 49 broilers, otherwise known as meat birds. We moved them to the “chicken mansion” last week. Those chickens can run around, and squawk to their little hearts content all in a 6” bed of shavings. They even have a window they can see outside with. I am much braver with these animals. Some of them sit at the door and wait for me to head on in, I swish them away with my hand and tell them to move. They do.

I had to laugh, I was talking to a lady last week about our chickens, she said that she used to put welding gloves on before she went into the chickens to collect eggs. She reminded me that when my mom and dad had some chickens for eggs there was occasionally a time when my sister and I had to look after them. We were married and moved out by then so we both did not qualify as “farm girls.” My sister also donned the welding gloves but she also wore the welding helmet, just in case those birds ever got out and landed on her head! We can laugh now, but back then it was quite the serious business.

Brian leaves for work lately at 4 or 5am. It is still dark outside at that time, as a matter of fact, it is dark until like 8. The chickens have a little feeding schedule….. it is important for meat birds to have a schedule as they will grow very quickly if left to eat 24 hours a day and often will not survive gaining weight too fast. So, 12 hours apart, they get food and then 12 hours later they get the food taken away as well as freshen up the water.

I have told Brian, not that it helps, cause here I am out watering and feeding the little things, that I will not go out to feed them in the dark. I would have to take a flashlight, gun, and phone for the trip out to the mansion if it was dark.

The reason for this is self preservation, Mocha and Mila get up at 6, sometimes I can stretch it to 6:30 but as soon as Mocha goes out, she will find something in the bush to bark at. It almost is a daily occurrence. I have come to think that if a leaf falls from a tree and “crunches or crackles” she is on it!

Today was no exception. She barked quite a lot and I felt like there was something that she sniffed out. So, at 8, when it was light, we (me and 2 dogs) began our walk out to the chicken mansion, we were almost there and off Mocha went barking up a storm. I rolled my eyes and went into the mansion. I got the chicken food ready and noticed both waterers were empty.

I brought the water containers with me and headed up to the tap and hose, yelling at Mocha to please stop barking. Man, she was going nuts! Now I have seen a lynx on the driveway recently and I figured it might sniff out the chickens and be lurking about, but a quick look around showed me nothing.

I got to the tap and turned it on and turned around and stopped. There probably 100 yards down the driveway was a huge black moose. In between the moose was Mocha, sitting down but barking. My heart was very glad she was sitting down and not chasing it. I imagine she had already tried, but then I saw baby moose off to the side and figured, Momma was having none of that. As a matter of fact, Momma had her eye directly on me and she was watching me very intently while she ate the leaves and sticks of the nearest tree to her. I did not miss a beat.

I simply yelled at Mocha and told her to come, and then I yelled at momma moose and said, ‘Good morning’ and continued on my way to clean and fill up the water containers. Of course, I had not brought my phone with me to get any awesome pictures, cause why do you need a phone in a chicken mansion?

It was at that moment that I figured, here I am trudging through the bush to the chicken mansion, water containers in hand, moose in the bush, dogs barking, also loading up my arms with firewood, that I believe I deserved the title “farm girl.” Again, not what I wanted to go for, but non the less, here I am.

I am sitting writing this back in the house, warmed by the wood stove, as I watch the sun come up over the lake, the sky being painted by the invisible hand of God. As it gets lighter the blue, cloudless sky makes a brilliant back drop against the effervescent yellow leaves that remain hanging on the trees after the winds went through. It is breath taking, peaceful and glorious, I wonder if I lived back in the city if I would even see the incredible sun rise or even notice it with all the hustle and bustle of city life? Not sure but today, it makes it all seem worthwhile. (check out update at the bottom.....)

Update as of 6:00am - Mocha did her barking thing most of the night from inside the house. Do you think I could see anything outside? Nope. I barred her in a bathroom so I could sleep. When I let her out this morning, off she went barking her head off. So true to form, I put my gum boots on with my jammies, get a flash light and start looking around. Mocha is at the side of the trailer so I go down the stairs to shine around the corner. I am almost at the corner when Mocha and Mila, hightail it past me at lightening speed towards the door. I realize that there is something there and it is now chasing them. I spin around just a Mocha rushes by me and knocks me to the ground. All I can think is "what is going to eat me down here?" I have taken the skin off my hand and knee so moving is a bit more slow, except that I know there is something around that corner coming my way. I got up as fast as I could and hobbled up to the front door. We all tore in and once the door was closed, we all breathed a collective sigh.

I hobbled over to the window and took another look. Well there right outside the kitchen window is momma and her baby moose.

So today, Momma moose won and Farm girl is going to be hobbling and moving slower for a couple days waiting for the skinned knee and hand to repair. Those chickens will NOT be fed until it it fully day light this morning!

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