The fact that I am a forgetful person makes homesteading all the more interesting, or entertaining, or stressful. It depends on how you look at it. With my hard-working husband’s work schedule, I’m often on my own to run the show here. The show being 4 kids, meals, snacks, house work, laundry, home school, 2 cats, 2 fish, 11 chickens, and a rather large veggie garden.
Yesterday I felt on top of things. Following 15 minutes of running around the house looking for swim suits, a swim diaper, lathering on sunscreen, filling up a water jug, pulling out a kiddie pool, and turning on the hose, I was finally able to get some serious gardening done.
The final act of yesterday’s gardening was turning on the soaker hose for my hay bale tomato row. Despite lots of rain, the hay bales seemed a bit dry. They needed a couple of hours of watering.
Once everyone was inside and the bountiful harvest stored, I relaxed.
At 9:45pm, with my two-year old fast asleep on my lap I suddenly remembered the chickens! It was dark out and the chickens were not locked up! This is incredibly dangerous for our chickens as we have coyotes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and more roaming the land at night.
I laid the baby on the sofa, rushed to the door, slid on my husband’s clunky rubber shoes, and ran like the wind to the first chicken house. They were safe. Door latched, I ran to the chicken fortress where I froze solid, heart racing.
It was so dark, yet there it was, the unmistakable white stripe of a skunk trying to find its way through the gate of the chicken fortress. Unsure what to do, I began to pray out loud that it would not spray! Should I go get a gun? No, then it for sure would spray me and the chickens and we’d simply reek for days! Plus, it was late and I was too tired to take a tomato bath.
I also did not know where to quickly find a flashlight as my kids use them and NEVER put them away.
My only option was to stand back, clap my hands, holler, growl and jump up and down. Finally, the skunk leisurely walked about 20 paces away. Seizing the moment, I karate kicked the gate open andentered the run, straight into a jumbo cobweb. No time to panic! I listened for the sound of happy chickens, shut the door, moved the block in front of it, shut the gate behind me, and ran back to the house.
Once inside, with baby girl still crying, I tore off my clothing in an arachnophobic fit, searched for spiders, and ruffled my hair over and over. This made baby girl stop crying and look at me with a smile. Off to bed she went while I got cleaned up and took many a deep breath. Ah, the life of a ‘Greenie’ as they call us beginner homesteaders. Never a dull moment.
It’s fair to say that I need to start setting a timer for the chickens.
Also, I remembered to turn off the soaker hose today after church.