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!
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.
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.