Not Normal Is Our Normal

This week has been a doozy and I keep thinking, “Our life is not normal…” but if I keep thinking that, and “not normal” is our day to day, then that makes it normal for us, right?

The Errands

Last week, I had a non-grocery item order from Walmart. Things we needed like hair ties, planting pots, aloe gel, kleenex – boring stuff. I made my trek to town to pick up the order and to go to Goodwill (I had a box to drop off), our farm store, and hardware store.

Halfway to town, I realized I left the box I was going to drop off at Goodwill in the hallway at home. Cripes.

I went to Walmart first, parked in the pickup spot and waited for them to bring my items to the car. I will say as much as I would rather shop anywhere else, ordering items and having them brought to your trunk is a lovely convenience.

The Discount

After that, I went to Goodwill anyway, so I could browse. I’m always on the lookout for specific things at Goodwill, including oil lamps, lanterns, enamel (camping type) cookware, cast iron cookware, etc. I was hoping to score some winter gear for the kids, but that didn’t happen on this particular trip. I did manage to find about $8.50 worth of items to purchase, however.

When I walked up to the register, she gave me my total of a few cents over $6. I said, “Oh..” and started looking to see what she may have missed, but she said, “I gave you the senior discount.”

…. the senior. discount.

I chuckled and expressed sincere thanks (she saved me two bucks!), gathered my items, and walked out to the car. Once I got into the car, I started cracking up. Of all the (pleasantly?) surprising things that have ever happened to me, getting a senior discount was definitely a first.

I went to Hobby Lobby next to see if I could find wool yarn (it’s harder to find than you think) and yarn needles, for which I had a successful mission. The yarn I found was on clearance, and the yarn needles were 30% off as well, so another bargain found!

From there, I went to the hardware store and purchased a few supplies Hubs needed. I went to our farm store and picked up some toys for the puppy (obviously), a squatty potty (which they did not give me a senior discount on, disappointingly enough), and a few other things I’m not recalling at the moment.

Those few errands (that I felt rushed through) took me two and a half hours.

I told that whole story just so I could share my senior discount experience, basically. I used to be flattered when I would be carded at the age of 28 while buying beer. Now I’m… humbled… I was simply given a senior discount with no age verification requested, at the age of 40.

Life comes at you fast.

The Arrival

Today, our 40 meat birds arrived. Was I ready for them? Absolutely not. Was it a surprise they were coming? Absolutely not. So why was I not prepared and ready? Absolutely no idea.

Our lovely post office lady called me (I really do adore her) to tell me, “Hey Val – your babies are chirping here at the post office.” I wonder, if she had known they were chicks I purchased expressly to raise for eight weeks before processing them for my freezer, if she still would have called them “babies”.

I told her I would be right down. We live two miles from the post office and it takes a whopping five minutes to get there.

Except “right down” meant nearly 45 minutes later, because I had to get ready for the chicks.

I hunted for the big trough we use as a brooder, dragged it from the tree row, around the shop, past the coop, to the garage. This physical exertion was the first in a chain of events where things simply did not go my way. A giant metal trough slamming into my ankles with every other step was just the beginning.

I then proceeded to dump in pine shavings from an open bag we had. The problem was, moldy chunks of pine shavings were pouring into the brooder.

I then had to drag said ankle-bruising brooder to the garbage and somehow empty all of those pine shavings into the garbage. Using one of the kids’ plastic snow shovels. It was not done effectively or efficiently, because I was in a hurry and working by myself. But it was done, nonetheless.

I opened a new bag of non-moldy pine shavings and proceeded to convert the trough into a brooder and do the same with a bulk tote.

Then I couldn’t find the heat lamps. Which of course is an issue this day, because we have an unseasonably cool predicted high of 73, clouds, breeze, and rain. Naturally. And chicks don’t have feathers and therefore cannot regulate their own temperature, so I needed the lamps.

I cleaned and filled the waterers, cleaned and filled the feeders, and continued to search for the lamps. I went inside and asked Hubs where the lamps were. He was not at all irritated I couldn’t find them and he had to go look for them.

Welcome Home, Chicks

Finally, a disheveled sweaty mess, coffee breath and all, I made my way to the post office to pick up the chicks.

Once I retrieved the box, I immediately noticed they smelled awful.

Awesome.

Getting them back to the house, I opened the box to find the most likely cause of their stench. One did not make it alive, and based on its condition, I’m guessing perished only moments after being put in the box to begin with. Then was in the box for two days while they shipped here.

Gag.

The others, I quickly picked up one by one and placed first in the tote-brooder, dipping their beaks in the water (so they know where it is). I put 15 in the tote, and put the remaining 25 (thankfully they had put one extra in the box, so the demised one was not technically a numerical loss) in the trough brooder.

I Now Own 64 Birds

By this time it was almost 10:30 am and I had still not let the other chickens out of the coop.

Because remember when I lost one a couple of weeks ago? She randomly reappeared. After having been missing for a week, she was just one day back with the others. Alive, but somewhat traumatized.

At any rate, the chickens have been having to stay in the coop longer so I can get eggs, as they had started to lay elsewhere on the property in a location I still am not aware of and cannot find. In order to remedy that, I keep them shut in the coop until late morning so they’ll lay in there instead of any random place on our 32 acres.

After introducing stinky meat bird chicks to their temporary new home, I let the laying hens and guineas out of the coop, and collected six eggs. (Thank you, ladies.)

The End

As I recount these experiences, I realize they’re not “normal” for most people. In telling one of my friends of all the goings on here though, she replied, “This stuff always happens with you.”

Which, I suppose, makes it normal for us.

It’s not a glamorous life. But it’s a life I love and appreciate.

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