My husband knows how to control me. It’s a little embarrassing to admit just how easy it is. If he wants me to do something, all he has to do is smirk and proclaim I won’t. Then, like a trained monkey, I’ll immediately proceed to do whatever it was he wanted me to do in the first place. I see the cycle, I know it, and yet I’m powerless to resist it.
Case in point: just last week, he applied the aforementioned smirk and informed a friend of ours that I don’t make money on our farm, but I am really good at spending it. He says he didn’t mean anything by it, that he understands it takes money to get a farm set up before it ever brings money in. But we both also know that when it comes to selling animals and goods, I’m much better at giving them away. (Or worse, keeping them!) I’ve gotten pretty good at trading, which makes me happy. No money to bother with and everybody gets what they need. But selling, not so much.
So here we are, less than a week after the comment, and I’m rounding up eggs for my first paying customer. Dance monkey, dance.
There’s only one problem. My girls are making me look bad. Any other week, I’d be up to my eyeballs in eggs. I give them away, I feed them to dogs, and I slide them into every possible recipe and still there’s a surplus. Until the week I say, “Sure, I can bring a couple dozen to church with me on Sunday.” Then, inexplicably, the nesting boxes are empty.
My chickens are all happy, healthy ladies. They aren’t sick. They aren’t in molt. I hear the egg song every day, so I know they are laying eggs out there somewhere. Just not where I can find them.
I tried reasoning with them. I tried threatening any non-conformists with freezer camp. They simply cock their heads and look at me as if I amuse them.
Next week, I start work on the new chicken coop. This one will have a run on it so they don’t get out to free range until after the eggs are laid. Even with getting the lumber off our own property, I’ll spend at least $20 in materials on it. (That’s ridiculously cheap for a chicken coop, by the by.) I’ll put a solid week’s worth of work into it, too. All for $3 in egg sales. But I will have made money and proven him wrong.
Or done exactly what he wanted me to - I'm not sure which it is.
The way I see it, though, is our pantry is overflowing, our grocery bill is lower than ever, and I get to sit in my swing each evening to watch my animals. Somehow, despite my horrific sales skills, we always have enough. We’re happy, we’re fed, and we are getting a real chicken coop.
Life is good.
It's been a rotten day today. There's no one thing about the day that's worth complaining about, it's just one of those days where things start piling one on top of the other to create a general ickiness. And it's quite possible the animals are conspiring against me. I have a sneaking suspicion the kids are in on it, too.
On days like to day, it does me some good to remind myself what it is I love about this life in the woods with all my silly animals. So here are some of my favorite things about our little corner of the world...
It should probably irritate me that the cats keep sleeping on top of the chicken coop, but it's actually kind of cute and the chickens don't seem to mind.
It cracks me up that on any given sunny day, there is a menagerie hanging out underneath my Jeep. Apparently, it's quite the place to be.
I love that I don't need food in my hand for my girls to come to me. If I'm in or near their pen, they make a beeline to get their neck scratched. I took one of our wethers to my parents' house last week (I was loaning him out to eat down the brush in their field.) When he got out, all I had to do was go outside and call his name for him to come right back to me. I love that about my goats.
These silly puppies remind me just about daily why it was I didn't want hounds on the farm. Still, they have a way of making me smile with their antics. They love shimmying through the goat fence to play in the hay. The goats pretty much ignore them - they don't let much get in the way of their food.
The expectation on our farm is that all of the different types of animals get along. Meanness just isn't allowed. One of my absolute favorite things is to watch the odd couples around the place - like when the goats snuggle with a dog, or the time one of the dogs fell asleep on his back and a cat curled up on his stomach to sleep. I'm pretty sure they stayed that way the entire night.
I love, love, love the duck look! Chickens have their own look too, but ducks do it best. They cock their head to look up at you with such endearing curiosity. That look is a big part of the reason I still haven't gotten around to sending anybody to freezer camp for the year. It's just too sweet.
Doggy smiles are the best. My dogs work hard keeping us and our animals safe, but they're always quick with a hug and a smile, too. I have yet to come across the situation or day that can't be made at least a little better by a hug from a canine.
I've had so much fun building the new site. I'm beyond excited to share it with you, my wonderful readers! It has a lot of features that will make updates and blogging easier, which hopefully means I'll be better about keeping up with both. Even better, it should make getting in touch with me easier for all of you because I love hearing from my readers.
Have an amazing weekend, all!
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.