Fresh New Country Hell

Not our farmhouse

I’ve wanted a farm for years and years. I got wooed by the lovely old farmhouse photos you see on the Internet and in magazines, and I’m so into gardening and animals and sustainability that it just seemed like a natural progression. With the wants come the dreams.  The little stories you make up in your head about what it will be like to have a farm and a great, old farmhouse:  Verdant, fertile fields with the gentle lowing of cattle and the crimson sunsets that signal the end of your magical day! Juleps on the porch whilst lounging on a restored Adirondack chair with your partner by your side! We shall picnic on our lovely, manicured green lawn, admiring the good work from our farm animals, and communing with nature! The faithful farm dog vanquishing foes and fetching your slippers!

The devil's butthole

Here’s my reality. Last week our newish puppy was chewing on something a little too vigorously and it made me nervous so I dug it out of her mouth. It was a particularly rubbery piece of cat shit. After I boiled my hands, I vowed to never examine the puppy’s mouth again unless she appears to be choking.

I raked out the chicken house yesterday in preparation for our new flock this weekend, and found a whole chicken leg, foot and all.  Just kind of lying there with no story attached. The puppy follows me everywhere and when she came into the chicken yard, she immediately started limping. It’s because she keeps running across patches of spiny sow thistle, which from what I can tell are bristles from Satan’s asshole.

I poked a mound next to the pool and found out it was fire ants. They came pouring out and I’m pretty sure were going right for my eyeballs, but I’m faster. There are carpenter ants coming in through the utility room door. Poison is in all of their futures.

I fixed the smaller bathroom toilet yesterday (which had a leak), only to realize that there was an actual rind of black scum from our well water in the tank and bowl since I’d shut the water off to it for over two weeks. I had to apply this powdered rust and iron remover product that requires rubber gloves because it’s so caustic. I’m scrubbing the horror out of that heinous toilet for my best friend and her husband’s arrival this weekend, but that piece of shit is getting replaced as soon as our Lowes order comes in. Disgusting.

I pulled up a corner of rug in the dog run to see if there are hardwood floors underneath.  I’m pretty sure there ARE under the plywood sub-floor, but it also turns out one or more of our cats have been lovingly sharing their urine there as well. So that got scrubbed with a vinegar/baking soda/hydrogen peroxide/essential oil concoction, as have all the little puppy accidents that have been shared with us over the past few weeks.

Also not our farmhouse

In addition to the litany of small domestic crimes, there is the scary wildlife.  There are coyotes aplenty in these parts, and no cat or puppy is allowed outside during the dark hours.  They are EVERYWHERE at night, calling to each other from all around us, and our theory is that they’re living under the abandoned haunted house next door (actual photo of our real-life coyote-infested haunted house…you’re welcome). We know now why there is double fencing dug down below the dirt around almost the entire perimeter of the farm, and it’s not to keep stuff in.  They are so creepy-sounding (if you haven’t heard them, Google YouTube “coyotes howling”) and give me baby heart attacks the closer they sound to the house. I left the windows open last night so we could get the nice breeze, and A goes, “Terrific, a wolf’s going to come through the bedroom window and chew out my throat.” I said, “Better you than me. That’s why you’re closer to the window, so I can get away. Thanks for that!”

And, I’m not making this up, but there are wild peacocks in that area, too. I mean I’m no bird expert, but the alternatives are macaws or condors. The latter two seem unlikely.  The noises they make are wild!  It sets off the donkey in the next field, so we get surrounded by a Wild Kingdom cacophony of sound that they don’t tell you about in the (imaginary) “Buy a Farm!!” brochures.

When the livestock gets here, I’ll be dealing with worming and shots and animal shit and pee and fur and feathers and a whole litany of OTHER things I’m not thinking of or never knew about. There will be tears and outrage, but I’m also certain there will be belly laughing and awesome tales.

So, it’s everything I thought it would be plus a thousand more things that I didn’t think of, because books and reality are two different ways of learning.  I’m grateful daily for the whole stinky, scary ball of wax.

Note to self: Never kiss puppy on the mouth again.

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4 thoughts on “Fresh New Country Hell

  1. Bana Elzein says:

    hahahahaha.. You are hilarious. Whenever you ‘start’ something from scratch its NEVER the idealistic thing you expect. However.. you do get to that point eventually. It’s like trying to catch up on all those missions in Pioneerville.. you’re in a backlog and catching up right from the get go. There will come a point where the backlog seems doable but then a slew of fresh hells/missions comes along. There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Mostly people buy a fixer-upper HOUSE and can barely keep up. You’ve gone for fixer-upper FARM.. way more things to do.. like all the care-giving for all the alive things you want to keep alive and all the stomping on the alive things you don’t want to stay alive (Fire ants! did I tell you my fire ant story?). But, like I said, you will get there.
    My mom and I kept a small farm on 5 acres. When we moved in there was a house and a small barnlet that served as a place to store a lot of outdoorsy stuff. We had a pole barn built and we kept a horse, a variety of goats, chickens, some rabbits, a visiting cow, ducks and geese. Mom also oversaw a large garden for canning and cooking out of. It was as sustainable and organic as we could manage but organic is HARD.. really HARD. It was mostly just her doing all the work and I helped when I wasn’t in school. Chores got done daily regardless of weather, flu, Christmas Day and wishing for vacations. We also made lots and lots of mistakes. Our compost pile never got used because it just kept getting piled higher and higher with fresh barn clearings and garden weeds and we didn’t have the balls to ‘turn’ it or dig into it etc. Mom ended up just continuously burying veg scraps directly into the garden in different locations every couple days in order to get the benefit of it rather than tossing it onto the monster compost pile. (So divide your compost areas!!) Your animals will produce an unreasonable amount of poop.. seriously.. what you build won’t be big enough! However.. we got a lot of pleasure from our ‘farm’. Mom canned tomatoes and peaches. Froze lots more and we didn’t have to buy lots of canned goods. We ate well and all the work was worth it. My mom and I installed two pastures by ourselves.. one of them with hand held posthole digger and the other with a rented two man auger. Helped my uncle bale hay off our other farm (uncle managed that one and grew hay on it.), chased down escaped goats and rescued an escaped horse from a neighbour about a mile away one day. It sounds crazy and it is. But its so worth it and I want to do it all again as an adult. I need an A of my own!! I’m dead jealous of your endeavour but also know it will be hard hard work. Good luck Donna.. wish I could say I got your back but being as I’m way over here.. I got your virtual back! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Bana. You’ve given me tons to think about.

  3. Bana Elzein says:

    After I put in my monster comment the other day.. I wanted to share another tidbit. There are two alternative spellings for Organic.. one is Blisters.. the other is Ouch My Back. Those two alternative spellings is why they invented Round-Up and scorpion poison. Buy yourself a riding mower that is more little tiny tractor than mower and the plough, tiller, etc attachments for your garden and your back will thank you. This will also make hauling barn poop to the compost pile easier and donkey chow to the barn easier. At the very least.. a 4-wheeler with trailer.

    • I so appreciate the input that comes from experience, Bana. Please keep it coming. Know that we’re on a seriously limited budget, however, so for now, solutions are home-made, bartered, or charged to a Lowes card. A saw a little go-cart today that he wants to pull around a cart. I laughed and laughed.

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