Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Death by Livestock

It's official, the animals on the property are out to make me more crazy than I already am, or to flat out kill me, and take the place over for themselves. Send help. I'm thinking a St Bernard with a cask of vodka. I hate brandy!

On Monday morning my beloved husband left me to fend for myself for a couple of days. The last time he did this, the cows, pigs, dogs, and horses all played musical pastures. I did not sanction this, but as the livestock outnumber me greatly, my vote was not considered. Since I control the food and water around this place, you would think they would all like to keep me happy, but apparently not.

So, back to this Monday. I'm up early (for me anyway, I like to pretend there is only one 7 o'clock in the day), and get the pigs fed. The horses and cows are on pasture, and have plenty of water. My darling hens, however, do need their outside waterer refreshed. As the darlings have begun to lay the cutest little eggs, I was in the mood to oblige them. Bad idea.

Keon the Yellow Lab was helping me with chores, mostly because he has an escape hatch built into the back fence that Brad has not had a chance to fix yet. I go into the hen's yard, and shut the gate, but do not latch it. I do not latch it because when I told Brad I'd really like a latch on the inside of the gate as well as the outside, his response was that I really shouldn't need one. Ahem.

Keon loves to fluster the hens. I keep both eyes on him when outside with the chickens. Now, he is not malicious at all about this. It is clear from the expression on his face, he thinks this is a delightful way to pass the time, and the ladies love to run about in all directions. Ahem.

When 13 hens hit an unlatched gate enmasse, it will fly open. Law of physics and all that jazz. Keon grins and goes his happy way. I am left to try to gather the girls back up, and put them back in their yard for the day. I don't like to let them run when I'm not home, as we have (a very few) neighbor dogs who roam, coyotes, hawks, eagles, things of this sort. All of the girls cooperated beautifully, except for two of my Buff Orpingtons. They were on the opposite side of the pen from the gate, and having a wonderful time rooting around in the lawn clippings from Brad's mow job of the day before.

I head around the other side of the hen house, certain I can shoo the Buffs ahead of me, they will obediantly toddle through the open gate, and I will contain everyone for the day. All was going well, until I stepped into the ginormous hole covered by lawn clippings. I was on my face before I knew it. Thank mercy Brad had mowed the day before, otherwise I probably would have landed on the wheelbarrow that had previously occupied that space. As it was, my right knee and shin took the blunt of the fall, and hurt like hell. Honestly, I laid there for a couple of minutes wondering if I hadn't broken something.

When I fell, the chickens, of course, left the yard enmasse again. I decided that they deserved a day of roaming, and it might just serve those two Buffs right if they did meet a coyote or hawk. I hobbled up to the house, Keon beside me grinning and very unrepentant of the trouble he had started. Happily, nothing is broken, although my knee swelled up to impressive proportions in the next couple of hours. It still hurts like hell if I bump it, and the deep bruise is turning a lovely shade of green.

I'm telling you people, I may not survive the animals here. I swear they have it out for me!

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