Farm critters...


early spring landscape.JPG

Friday night:
Home from work in the Cities—kids home from school. Sitting on the porch with a Doppelbock, binoculars, and the Guide to the Birds of North America. The Red Wing Blackbirds descended on our farm like a noisy black cloud. Ducks are entering the mix of migrating waterfowl. Kids and dog romping in the sun.

Saturday morning: Send the kids out to play. Jens comes in sobbing that Happy is hurt. Sure ‘nuf. Sometime over the night Happy had an encounter with a wild animal and got her face slashed open. I’ve been suspecting that we have a Big Cat (like a cougar) around here—but Happy probably wouldn’t have lived through that encounter. Maybe a badger or something. She looks awful—her poor snout like sliced meat. We doctor her and love her up—she’s not racing around like her usual self.

Then the kids and I head down to play with our chickens. I’m so pleased to see a whole row of chickens sitting in their nesting box to lay eggs—better than finding the eggs on the coup floor. I’m feeding them some organic flax when Alma screams “Banana is dead!? Sure ‘nuf. There’s Banana crumpled up on the edge of the coup. We suspect murder. Now since we have 38 (now 37) “mixed heavies? we can tell them apart- brown, red, black, black/white, white chickens- most with names. I gather all the kids and run back to the house. Jens and Alma fighting over who gets to break the news to Dad about poor Banana.

Mike deadpans,
“Whadya do with it??
“Do with it? I gathered our children and raced to the house.?
Mike stares at me, “you left a dead chicken??
I wasn’t going to pick it up. I didn’t have gloves and, frankly, NO—I’m not handling the dead livestock.

Mike uses some old fashioned word like “I’m incensed you didn’t take care of the dead chicken.? [NOTE: the kids and I refer to her as Banana and to Mike it’s “that dead chicken?] By his way of thinking, I should be behaving as the farmer I hope to claim to be.

But by my calculations, as long as a woman has a living, functioning husband he can:

1) Sharpen all the kitchen knives- always
2) Handle all dead livestock

Back to my porch—this time a cup of coffee and the Co-op newsletter. They boys magically learned to peddle over the winter. They’re racing down the dirt/gravel driveway on their tricycles to low point between garage and ‘machine shed’ where they get mired in the mud. Alma red faced from racing up and down our ½ mile driveway. “Time me!? She’s at 6 minutes per round trip. My poor hurt dog stretched out beside me—tail wagging, smelling like a skunk. We had a baby skunk on the porch—cute little thing I hear. Happy “scared? it off- now she and parts of our house smell of skunk.

Point is… this is a wild place. A farm in nature. There aren’t many of these around. But right here on the southern edge of Malta township we have very few people (we’re the only ones in a four square mile area) and a fair amount of prairie pothole habitat. We have lots of deer, pheasants, mice, skunks, rabbits, possum (don’t get me started on the possum—ecological refugees invading other critters habitat niche), coyotes, waterfowl, a big cat (I suspect). Life, death, disfigurement. It’s all here—all in one day’s livin’.


You are incredibly funny. I'm sitting at my computer next to the window and notice it's snowing AGAIN and thought I'd either check the radar or your blog. You won. So instead of being confronted by a big blob of gray stuff coming our way, I'm laughing at your poor dead chicken, hurt dog (that wasn't funny but the skunk part was), and your husband's chores. The latter part, I might add, could have a few more than two items. In reality, these things are not funny, but the way you write about them tickled my funny bone. I can actually hear your voice saying this stuff. Thanks for the on to radar.

Come on sis, pic up the dead fowl. I deal with dead calfs, kittens, and cats. Hope Happy has her rabies shot. And get rid of the possums and sknunks ASAP!!!!!!!! They carry disease. Glad to hear you are having so much fun, SIS!!! I know you will never move to the boring CITY again. Sure was a good time to hang with the Girl and the little fellers I sure do miss ya all but glad you get to let them grow up with a touch of the real world. You both are GREAT parents. Have fun!

Love your sister the farmers wife and dead aniaml picker upper. I do at least 5 dead animal pick ups aweek.

Hi Kathy,

You continue to display great reading material. Nice to read how a "city gal" can move to the country and relate to the different life style. I had lunch with Cliff yesterday and mentioned this site to him.

Best to you and your family.


so sorry to hear about Happy, hope heals and feels better fast! 6 mn round trip - you got yourself a track star!

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on April 6, 2008 7:05 PM.

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