What’s on Your Agenda?

Some of our original Wyandottes

As long as I’ve lived on a farm—and it’s been a good portion of my life, it never ceases to amaze me that you must always be prepared to shift gears at a moment’s notice and take off running in a 180-degree direction from what you were doing. You might think you know what’s on the agenda for today, but it almost never fails that something else entirely will co-opt your time. Stuff happens, and you have to deal with it, at least if you raise animals. Sometimes, too, trees fall over, or there’s a flash flood you hadn’t counted on. Owning a farm calls for flexibility.

This point was illustrated yet again this morning. Sam & I went through our morning routine as usual, feeding, milking, and cleaning up. It was pouring rain, though, and it was obvious that the shed for the bucklings wasn’t up to its task any longer. Bear in mind that these are three bucklings I raised for my nephew and they are weaned and ready to leave. They have horns, because he wants to train them as pack goats—apparently pack goats need horns. They were ready—or I should say I was ready—for them to be gone two weeks ago, but they’re still here, so they needed their own place separate from the other goats. Those horns! None of our other goats have horns, and I was really tired of getting stabbed in the backside, too. Anyway, instead of doing any number of other things he’d lined up to do, Sam had to upgrade the bucklings’ shed this morning.

Okay, that done, we had brunch (nobody ever eats “breakfast” around here, unless it’s grabbing coffee and a cookie or a banana on the fly). Sam had to work today, so he got cleaned up, changed his clothes, and we both walked to the door as he prepared to leave.

We no sooner got to the back door than our two roosters ran past. There were two roosters, because one of our hens raised three chicks last fall and two turned out to be cockerels. The coyotes had nabbed their old man, and we were in need of a new rooster, so both of them grew up. They had been coexisting, more or less peacefully, so we didn’t feel pressed to get rid of the extra one—until today. Today, however, it was a battle to the death, and they were both exhausted and bloody. This had all happened, by the way, after we went inside after doing chores, while we ate brunch.

Well that was too bad, but we had no choice but to deal with it and hope Sam would not be late to work. The reality is we have these animals to provide us food. We give them the best life we can while they are with us, and we appreciate them, even love a number of them, but that is their main purpose. We are not Vegans. Now I have to pick and clean a chicken today, but at least the little boys won’t have to learn the back stroke. I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

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