Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
Sometimes there are weeks that are just great. Well, this week was not one of them. It started off very exciting with the hatching of our first homegrown, naturally-incubated chicks, and pretty much went downhill from there. Here is my attempt to show that, despite all the happy posts I share about the wonders and joys of farm life, not all weeks are sunshine and roses. In fact, things are pretty imperfect around here this week. We are, after everything is said and done, human just like the rest of you.
The week started with the hatching of a few of the eggs that our Golden-laced Wyandotte hen was incubating. I was over the moon that it had been successful and we had our first LOSA-born chickens! Unfortunately, this week I had a very heavy workload off the farm, and was not able to be out to monitor them as frequently as I would have liked. Two chicks hatched, and a third was in the process of hatching. Yesterday I found one of the hatched chicks had died, the chick in the process of hatching had died before it fully hatched, and the remaining chick was not doing well. The mama hen was not interested in the remaining live chick very much. I did what I could for it before having to go off to work. I thought I could follow the hen's lead and let her incubate eggs when she felt up to it, but in the future I think it will be best to force her to wait until spring/summer. The hen was keeping them warm, I had a heat lamp on them, and had surrounded their area with hay bales to keep it warm. I don't know what the problem was, but at least waiting until spring would eliminate the weather issue.
My promising doe Azazel California Poppy has been having issues with growth, and I did not know her G6S status, so my mom and I drew blood to determine if she was G6S affected and that was causing her slow growth. Thankfully, she is not affected, but she is a carrier. Being a carrier does not affect her at all (having 'normal' goats is best though) but it means that, if I want to be a responsible breeder, I will have to test all of her kids and only offer for sale the 'normal' kids. My buck is G6S Normal by parentage and any future animals I buy will only be Normal so I don't have to continue doing G6S testing, as the test is NOT cheap. But, that means an additional expense each year for her offspring.
Then, there is the snow. AND the cold. We continue to see below zero cold spells that last up to a week. The animals are doing fine in it and I am able to keep my barn closed on extreme days. But, the animals are getting sick of it, and although I love winter, this year I am getting sick of it too. Why? Well, because of the extreme cold snaps, we have heard that the frost line is not 7' below ground (normal is 36"). That is all fine and dandy until your water hydrant freezes in your barn and you now have to cart 20 gallons, give or take, back and forth from the house to the barn 1-2 times/day. For the rest of the winter.
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
Today marks the worst kind of day for this lifestyle...the day the meat birds get butchered. We didn't have the resources to do it ourselves this year, and truthfully, I don't think I could have done it even if we did.
So, we were able to take them to an Amish family who will do it for us.
I told myself from the beginning that these were destined for the dinner table, and I made every effort to not get attached. It worked until it was time to load them up and take them away.
I had cared for these guys for months. At least twice a day I was with them; feeding them, giving them water, making sure they are all okay, and towards the end, giving them produce scraps that they absolutely LOVED. I intentionally made every effort to not befriend them...to not sit with them like I do with my other animals, but what do you do when it is THEY that make an effort to befriend you? I think chickens are smarter than we give them credit for. When we came out of the house, they all ran to the fence hoping we'd have goodies for them. When I went to the barn, they would follow me down the fenceline.
How is it possible to not feel anything about little beings who revealed their personalities to you and followed you around like little puppies?
Well, it's not possible. At least not for me. Instead though, I do feel humbled, with a deep respect for the lives that we took. I honestly think there would be less meat consumption if people really thought about where meat comes from. That it comes from something that has a life, and emotions. When I start to sell meat to people, I have thought about having them come out and meat the animals that will provide their sustenance.
As I write this, our birds are being butchered. Their last night here I sat with them. And cried. And told them what was coming for them. And thanked them for what they would give to us.
July 12th, 2013 was the hardest day of my life. It was the day I had to say goodbye to my best friend, whether I was ready or not. It was the day I lost my sweet boy Shadow.
We had seen some signs that something wasn't right for a few months, but we attributed it to other changes in his life.
One week before his death, Shadow went downhill. It was time to go to the vet. He was diagnosed with advanced leukemia and there was nothing that could be done. My knowledge of alternative medicine didn't allow me to give up hope. We worked with his tired body for a week, but when God says it is your time, there is no fighting it. You just have to accept it. On the 12th, that is what Shadow and I did. That day I saw him struggling more than he had been the previous days, and I told him that it was okay to go; that I would be okay. At 4pm, heaven welcomed my little angel.
What made our relationship so special was that is wasn't between an owner and her pet. It was between two best friends. We knew each other at our very cores, and he understood me in a way not many people have an opportunity to be know in. I could fake emotions with everyone around me, but he always knew the truth. Always. He was constant in my life of chaos. He was calm to the storms in my life. He was my other half. Life doesn't feel complete anymore without him. There is an ache in my heart that won't go away. He is always on my mind. There will be no 'getting over Shadow' or 'moving on'. There will only be finding a new normal without my other half. My heart longs for the day I get to see my sweet boy again.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear.....