I told Big Boss that when we moved back to the farm there were some things I was NOT going to do…milk cows, butcher chickens or drive a tractor. Since most of our cattle are steers, the milking thing was not a problem. I’ve driven a tractor tho, when they were pressed for breathing bodies to help out.
The chicken thing went out the window a long time ago. Our boys had chickens, turkeys, guineas, geese, ducks..anything “fowl”, we had it and several different varieties of “it”. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Araucana chickens lay little greenish-blue eggs. Cornish hens, the huge white-feathered ones were the best fryers. And Rhode Island Reds are excellent layers. I just thought I knew chickens.
The two older boys were in charge of the actual murder of chickens. The chickens’ demise involved my clothes line, hanging by their pathetic chicken feet and a quick shot in the head. I know. Gross. But we had to eat. I was captain of the cleaning team, assisted by Baby Brother. Although the next statement could get me into serious trouble because we raise beef, I will take a chance and say it. There is NOTHING as good as a home-raised chicken. Seriously. Fried, of course.
Now might be a good time to interject a verification of the old saying, “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” It is the absolute truth. It does happen as my sons will also testify because one of those headless fowls chased them down the crick bank and almost scared all of us to death. You wouldn’t believe the racket that chaos stirred up. But since we live out in the country, no one heard it but me. And possibly grieving other fowl. But I doubt it.
Back to the subject and I do have one….because I had only three original “I Will Not Do’s”, I was hornswaggled into many jobs that I never imagined. Like working cattle. That means doctoring them if they need it, vaccinations, removal of unnecessary parts (don’t ask), temperature taking (you don’t want to know) and just general cow upkeep. Yep, I’ve had cow poo all over me and cow snot thrown my way and lived through it.
I’ve driven huge semis that scare me to death. I’ve even driven a combine briefly. Really no big deal as a combine is just a giant lawn mower. Right? I had no idea palms could sweat buckets. I’ve killed rattle snakes. (There’s a whole book in our snake stories!) I’ve kept the farm books and PEOPLE, if you know me at all, you know that I am not and never will be a numbers person. Thanks goodness for Apple IIe computers! I learned to saddle a horse…the right way. I’ve hauled cattle, thrown out little feed squares from the back of a pickup during droughts out to pasture cattle. I’ve got up in the middle of the night to chase cattle that somehow escaped their pens. I’ve gone after parts and more parts and still more parts. (parts for the machinery that decorates this place and that’s a lot of decoration!)
I’ve gone out with Big Boss and helped him dig up acres and acres of corn sprouts. Why, you ask, would we do such a thing? Because Big Boss has a phobia. He fears the corn seeds being planted too deep, too shallow, too dry, too wet, too close, too hot, too cold…and on and on. His dad was always in charge of corn planting and after his death, Big Boss was in charge. His worst nightmare was the corn not coming up. I finally explained to him that G-d had been growing corn a long time before His high-tech 20th century (it was 1986 ish at the time) farmers were put in charge of Corn Growing. The corn would sprout in spite of our meager efforts to help it along. DON’T WORRY! That was my story and I stuck to it.
I’ve also cooked for up to 60 farm folks during our corn silage harvest. And when I say cook, I mean a menu like baked steak, mashed taters, green beans, corn, salads, hot breads and 2 or 3 different desserts. Not to mention pickles, cantaloupe, watermelon, sliced tomatoes, homemade jams. Makes me tired just typing all of that. That was Granny’s menu and we maintained that menu for many, MANY years. Not so much now. DIL’s do it now and they do a great job serving up man-sized sandwiches with homemade cookies and brownies. I’m
tired lazy so I chase kids while they do the lunches. Chasing grands makes me tired too but that’s a GOOD kind of tired!!! 🙂
AND, I’ve got to watch a mare pop out a brand new baby and hunt eggs with my boys and learn SO many cooking tips from my MIL and ride a horse with my one-year old son after lunch each day (he went to sleep on every ride so I’d ride home, somehow get off the horse with son on my shoulder, tie up the horse and get son into bed. Then run out to unsaddle the horse and walk him over to the barn after naptime was over. Whew!). I got to see corn sprouts grow into 7-8′ plants and grind flour from the June wheat harvest and marvel at watching a baby chick grow in an eggshell with just the right lighting and….nope, none of those things were in my job description. But then…I married a Kansas farm boy who became a school teacher who became a coach who became a farmer. Huh, we’re kinda back where we started…