Category Archives: death

My camera is broken, and other randoms

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I feel like I haven’t been updating because I rely heavily on the images I post.  I don’t know why, my teachers in school always thought my writing held its weight on its own, but since my camera has been broken, I’ve been afraid I guess.  No excuse though.  So, I’m writing today to let everyone know what’s been going on round’ here, without pictures.

We had a wonderful volunteer come and go within the last two weeks, Sarah P.  She came to us all the way from the great land of Bentonville Arkansas, perhaps you’ve heard of it.  I don’t even have any pictures of Sarah, so I can tell you that she was blonde, had a lovely personality and smile, and was a hard worker.  I believe she had a nice time, she said it to my face, so I’d like to hope that it’s true.  Sarah, you are missed, thank you so much for your help!

The old birds have been moved to a new coop out in the orchard, to make way for the new birds to go into their old coop…that sounds funny when you say it out loud.  The new birds have out grown their apartment in the greenhouse.  I for one am glad to see them move, and get the greenhouse back.  I just went out to the orchard to see the new digs.  The chickens seem to be really happy, they have a lot of space to roam, and they are doing a great service to those trees by fertilizing them.  My main reason for going was to see my little angel Spaz.  I had heard from one of the brothers that he was a little escape artist.  Hard to believe with 8ft. fences.  I get out there and watch as all of the chickens run to the fence looking for a hand-out.  Hmmmm, no Spaz.  Maybe he’s in the coop I thought, then I look down and see him standing right next to me!  You ARE an escape artist!  I was so happy to see him.  I’m still not sure if he is a him, but nonetheless, he has feather…

UPDATE:  I had to quit writing just then, Paul had just come home and asked if I had tended to the birds in the greenhouse today.  “No” was my reply, usually the door has been opened by Paul.  Well, at that time i was just past three p.m.  I walk over to the greenhouse and walk in as Paul was walking out to a death scene.  There were a lot of birds dead, some almost dead and some very much alive.  It was horrible.  At first I felt very defensive saying that it wasn’t my fault.  I said “you didn’t tell me to open the doors”.  One might ask, Amanda, do you have to be told everything?  Well dear reader, I guess I do.  You see, I hardly ever tend to those birds.  I tend to things like my kids and the WOOF-pack.  I went back into the greenhouse to wrangle the birds that had escaped their enclosure.  I struggled putting them back in their pen.  I went to Paul and asked for help, but none was given.  Oliver said he would help me catch them.  He put on gloves, but I couldn’t let him, it was pretty bad.  I grabbed a big container and started to pull out the dead ones.  I stopped counting at around 15, at that time Paul came and helped me.  I would say at least thirty perished today due to my negligence.  It was absolutely awful, I was traumatized.  I hauled the container to the driveway and asked Paul if I should dig a hole.  He told me to leave them, I had to go to the nursing home to sit with a friend of ours, Ms. Barbara.  When I got to her place, she told me about her day and asked how I was doing.  I told her not so good, and let her know about the birds.  She said “Oh, that’s awful!” and then asked “Did you get crabbed at?”  I said sort of, if you consider the cold silence similar to being crabbed at.  And she said “Well, that’s just like a man.”  Dear reader, Ms. Barbara is 90, has dementia, but in my humble opinion is still sharp.  Then she proceeded to make me feel better, saying that these kinds of things happen, and could happen to anyone.  I told her I understood, but it had just happened, and my defensive feelings had turned to feelings of guilt and shame.  And being a Christian she said “well, just throw it out there to God then”, and she began to pray:”Dear God, bless Amanda and her family and those birds that are with you now Lord…”  I have no idea if birds go to heaven, or if God greeted them today, but when she was finished she looked at me and smiled and said “there, now the only thing to do is go forward with your life”.  I wouldn’t consider myself a religious person, spiritual, maybe, but by no means religious, however what Barbara did for me today was awesome.  I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to get me through what I was feeling.  At that moment, her cell phone rang.  She answered it and said “Oh, is this Paul?”  She looked at me and winked.  “Yes, she’s right here”, she handed me the phone and Paul said to me “Amanda, I just wanted to tell you that I love you, and that every things all right.”  Barbara had brought me up from 10% to about 95%  and Paul calling made me feel absolutely great.  As soon as I hung up the phone with him, Barbara clapped her hands together and said “See!  There’s your happy ending!”  I love that woman.  I still feel terrible for those birds who didn’t have to die, and the ones who remain have now been relocated to their new home in the old coop…whatever that riddle means.

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EEEEEEK!

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Okay, this is the point where I have to quit reading stories on the internet while at work. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kroodsma/the-record-summer-of-2011_b_974617.html

 

It WAS hot!

Talk about a Barn Burner! A story of life and death.

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The heat “wave” in these parts is becoming unbearable.  Not even those lucky enough to have air conditioning are safe.  Crops are failing, the earth is soooooo dry.  We are outside with a hose everyday, trying to keep our plants alive long enough for the fall, because maybe then it will be cool enough for the tomatoes to set fruit.  It’s limping along, to put it nicely.  The heat is the prime topic of everyone’s conversation, especially those who have lived in these parts their whole lives.  Yesterday it hit between 108° F-110° F, reports vary.  Still, that’s the hottest temperatures this region has EVER seen.  Coming from the Central Valley of California, those temps aren’t too surprising, but I will agree with the locals, this isn’t supposed to happen here.

This morning, I went to take care of the chickens, feed them and bring them water.  I let out the birds, and I notice there aren’t as many.  I walk into the coop and see our red rooster dead and laying on the side of the laying boxes.  Hmmmm.  I look around and Peter, our turkin, is also missing.  At this point I panic.  Did something get into the coop?  Where are the other bodies?!  I walk back and find Paul and tell him about what I saw and didn’t see.

“Oh, yeah.  There were six dead chickens yesterday, probably from the heat.”

This damn heat.  Those poor chickens!  My beloved Peter.

The baby chickens, about a dozen have hatched and have been moved into their own home.  We have lost two due to heat or pecking, I’m not sure, but there are ten now.  We’ll have to take a recount at the end of the day.  Yesterday the kids pointed out to me that one of the baby chicks had the bald neck, “It’s a Turkin!” they said.  When I saw it, I felt tremendous joy.  I looked over at Peter in his separate coop and told him congratulations!  “You’re a father!”  It pains me to write about his death today.  He was one of two birds in our flock that I said we’d feed until they died because we all were so fond of them.  Here is a link of how he entered our lives.  It was such a neat story, scroll down to the entry titled “Crazy Freak Weather”.  R.I.P. Peter.  Hopefully your child is also a male.

Today there is cloud cover, and there were some raindrops, maybe ten.  Just enough to say yeah, remember this wet stuff that falls from the sky?  Well, I’m going over here, I’m not playing with you today.  We’ll see.

Epilogue

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What became of the snake?  I didn’t want to touch it, but my neighbor Pauline told me I better get rid of it before it stinks and really becomes a problem.  The thought of this grossed me out.  “I have a machete in the truck” she tells me.  Uh Oh.  I ask her if she’ll do it, and she politely tells me that I need to.  I shudder.  So there I am with a glove on and a machete in my hand ready to hack that snake to pieces, when Paul’s beautiful logic saves the day.  He suggested that I get wire snips and snip the wire that the snake is snared in, and remove the snake in one piece.  BEAUTIFUL!  I wasn’t ready to wield a sharp blade and hack something to pieces.

Here we go, snip #1.

Paul says to me. “Stop looking like this is the worst thing in the world!”  I’m sorry, but to me this isn’t a pleasant experience.

So here I am, smiling and wincing, praying that this fat snake doesn’t land on my feet.

Here is the snake all cut out and still in one piece…Thank goodness!

This poor thing.

This is me facing a fear here.  I couldn’t tell if the pulse that I was feeling was the snake’s or my own, but it kind of felt like it wasn’t mine.  CREEPY.  We made peace with one another before I flung it into the woods.  Thanks Pauline for making me do this on my own.  When one is presented with an obstacle such as this, the easy choice is to not do it.  I had to A “man”da-up here and take one for the team.

 

So much excitement and all before 8am!

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So much excitement and all before 8am!

This morning Paul comes in and tells the team over breakfast that plans have changed.  The original plans were to work on digging more row space or picking blackberries.  However some of the eggs under the rumps of our diligent chickens are starting to hatch, so plan B, make a new coop for the baby chicks.

Paul and Patrick are discussing plans for the new coop.

Finding materials to work with.

There are always usable pieces lying around.  Pat is putting the pieces to be used into a pile.

PS.  Don’t call it a come back!  The Missouri Angels were gone for about ten days visiting their family and such.  They made plans to go to New Mexico, but the farm there told them they were full at the moment, so they came BACK.  They couldn’t get enough, and I guess neither could we.  It feels really great to have their help once again.

Jake and Laura are stitching the holes in our deer fence.  So far so good on the security front, the sweet potatoes are still there.

Laura is going to LOVE this picture!  Sorry girl, I caught you blinking, but it’s funny.

So I’m in the house doing some activities with the kids, when Paul comes in and tells me about a problem with the chickens.  He mentioned how he had about four dozen eggs under four broody hens and that we have lost some to what he thought were other chickens.  That may be true, but within his next breath he mentions a SNAKE.  I gasp at the thought.  We were all excited about the possibility of babies, I don’t want to hear about a large rat snake entering the coop and eating them all.  For some reason it made me think of the book Rikki Tikki Tavi.  Then Paul tells me that it’s dead.  Dead?  Did you kill it?  I ask.  He explains that it somehow slithered  through the top that is covered with chicken wire, realized that it wouldn’t fit and came back out.  Mr. Rat snake must have been greedy and hungry, because it stitched itself back through the chicken wire one more time, only to meet its untimely death.  Chickens 1, snake 0.

It totally grossed me out getting this close to a dead snake.

An inside view.

Jake “Snake” Jones, sharing a moment with his brethren.

Crazy huh?  We don’t know what to do about it.  I personally don’t feel like cutting that snake out of there.  So if there are any volunteers, please raise your hand!  Maybe the snake can serve as a reminder to others to steer clear.

 

It was so DRY!!! How dry was IT?

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My goodness gracious.  It has been so hot and DRY lately, things are dying all around us.  Lawns are brown, trees are loosing their leaves, the people are wilting themselves.  Team WWOOF is so bored, I can tell.  They spend a lot of time, all day usually, watering.  You see with the CSA, we can’t let things die on us.  Our customers are depending on a crop.  Let me rephrase that.  We could totally let it ALL die and the customer would have to understand, because they signed a piece of paper, and something like drought is part of the liability.  But we’re too nice, and since we have a lot of help and it’s too hot to do much else, we put a hose in their hand.  It’s funny, because as I type this out, it is currently raining.  The rain, which has only been going on for about 20 minutes or so has prompted me to write about the dryness, because I’ve been needing to.  One of our CSA members asked me the other day how things were growing.  I let him know how tough it’s been and how some things are just wilting away.  He totally understood if the bags were empty for the next few weeks.  He shared the story of his garden with me.  He said he and his wife had been gone for three weeks.  Even though they had someone watering it for them, they returned and their garden was dust.  This “heat wave” that the weather man has talked about has lasted for two months now.  It’s more like a heat tsunami!  This wave won’t leave.  I guess my message to you dear reader is respect the fact that there is produce at your grocery store, and there are many, MANY factors that go into its survival.  Uh oh, the rain knew I was talking about it, it just stopped : (

The Farmer’s Market Through Isaac’s Eyes

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Isaac decided to take pictures of the Farmer’s Market this morning.  Here are a few:

They’re fun.

Again, : )