Last weekend, My Own Farmer and I decided to take a short trip to the eastern side of the state to visit my sister, my brother and my dad for Father's Day. We slept in, since it felt like a holiday, and as I packed our small suitcase at eight o'clock that morning, I thought that we would have an hour for a leisurely breakfast and maybe we could even sit out on the porch and enjoy a slow cup of coffee before we left.
The thing is: a farm is a jealous mistress. She laughs at you when you start to plan. Then she throws obstacles in your way. As I folded the last pair of jeans, I heard cars honking out on the road in front of our house. A glance out the window confirmed my suspicions. The sheep we had herded back under the fence last night, were once again free-ranging the roadside. We had made repairs, but sheep are pretty good at finding a new hole.
There's no way we could leave town with our frisky flock foraging at will, so I hollered for My Own Farmer and we drove the half mile out, shooed the sheep back under the fence and did another quick repair, crossing our fingers that it would hold until we returned.
We drove back to the house and I slipped out to check on the chickens and make sure they had enough food and water to last until we returned. All the chickens ran up when I called except one. She'd looked kind of poorly for a few days, but this morning the issue was obvious. Her crop was distended like a balloon and a quick check on the internet made it pretty clear that my only choice was to operate.
My Own Farmer and I gathered what we'd need. Sterilized surgical scissors, a syringe, warm water, needle, thread and a surgical clamp. He held her while I cut into the crop, used the clamp to pull a softball size mass of compacted grass out, squirted the opening clean with warm water and then stitched her back up.
We still had thirty minutes before we were slated to leave, but as I was pulling out some eggs for a quick fry, I heard a commotion out behind the house. The cows had knocked the chicken gate open and then bumped it shut, penning themselves in the chicken lot.
I headed out and after ten minutes of red-faced running, I pushed the cows back out the gate and shut it so they couldn't get back in. Back to the house, but no more time for breakfast or that leisurely cup of coffee. I made a quick clothing change and we were in the car only ten minutes later than we had planned. We picked up two sausage biscuits at the local mom and pop on the way out and enjoyed our leisurely cup of coffee on the road.
Sometimes my family wonders why I don't plan for vacations and visits months ahead of time. I know better than to antagonize the farm with foolish plans. It's always better to surprise her. Our chances of actually leaving are better that way.