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.
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.