This farming stuff. It's really hard. There are days where it is wonderful and I sit out in the middle of the field and pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Today was not one of those days.
I went out to feed the chickens this morning. I make funny chicken noises and I am usually greeted by Alfonso, the rooster. His women excitedly follow, knowing that soon they will all be let out to forage for the day. But today it was really quiet. Hmmmm.
Something got into the chicken tractor. I don't know what it was. There is no tunnel that exited into the tractor, the chicken wire is all intact. There was a space - about three inches wide by two inches deep - where something could have gone in. The result: two chickens are dead - Alfonso the rooster and Anna, the two year old hen.
This is the scene of the crime - where Alfonso was killed. It's a mystery because there is no blood. There were scattered feathers and sadly, Alfonso was decapitated. But no blood. Anna was at the fenced end of the tractor, and she looked like she was just asleep. But she was dead.
Poor Alice. She has what looks like a few lost feathers on her head, and she was (and still is) pretty freaked out.
I am grateful for the neighbors I have. I ran up to their house and they helped me move the tractor and scooped up the dead bodies. Later in the day they came to my rescue again and helped me relocate Alice and the tractor to her new location in the back yard.
Anna and Alfonso are buried on the hill where the other animals are buried.
Anna is eating a little and she even laid an egg this afternoon. I think she approves of her new location. But she will need company soon as chickens are not solitary animals. Saturday she'll be getting two new chickens to hang out with. The whole 'pecking order' thing worries me, but that really is out of my control. They will have to figure that out.
So many people when they think of farming, think of happy cows grazing in green meadows, sheep baa-ing behind white sturdy fences, beautiful straight rows of organic vegetables growing. The reality is that there are a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that happen. Today was a 'tears' day. This farming stuff is hard. Not only physically tough and financially ridiculous, but it was also emotionally gut wrenching. These poor animals were killed in their home and they couldn't get out. They were not eaten. They were killed and left. I don't understand it.
Tomorrow will be a better day, but I know there will be other hard days ahead. The honeymoon is over. I am grateful for The Lovey - the love of my life and man of my dreams (and more), the animals I live with, the place I call home and the people that surround me. But farming.... you've lost your sparkle.
I will get up tomorrow and it will be a better day. It WILL be a better day.