I must have had a dark cloud over my head this week. Not only does the puppy have worms (which are being cleared up with medicine), it turns out the sheep also have worms. Jip probably got them from the sheep in the first place since I discovered him sampling some of the sheep poo last week. Note to Jip: you're here to herd the sheep, not clean up after them... So this morning found me in the livestock-dewormer aisle at the local Farm King (and by local, I mean 25 minutes away.) And all I could find was 83 doses of sheep de-wormer for $100 or a much smaller jug of goat dewormer for $25. I asked the employee that was hanging up horse tack if they had a smaller container of sheep dewormer and pointed to the goat medicine as an example. He told me, what I saw was what they had and added (a little gruffly) that he didn't see why the goat dewormer wouldn't do the same thing. So I went with the goat medicine and I was in a bad mood (seem like a perpetual thing this week, sorry Joey) but I was a little put off by the Farm King guy. Didn't he know how it feels to have both sheep and puppies with worms?!
Not only that, but Joey woke me up this morning to tell me that 3 of our hens had been killed during the night. Two were reduced to feathers and the third was completely missing. The bizarre thing was that he woke me from a dream where a black and white snake was coming down from the ceiling and a girl I haven't been friends with since junior high was being attacked while I was looking for a knife to cut it's head off...So between the chickens and the creepy snake dream, and then Jip barking for the good part of an hour, I finally woke up on the wrong side of the bed. When I went out to the coop, I was relieved to see that our beloved Georgia had survived the midnight raid on the hen house. She is the friendliest little red hen and loves to talk to us. She even likes to sit on Joey's shoulder like a parrot. We raised her from a chick in the suburbs 2 years ago and brought her with us to the country.
Joey suspects the hen-killers were raccoons. I am just upset that the rooster let three of his hens be carried away. Now we are down to 3 hens.
So all in all, we have had a rough week as farmers. I found a mouse upstairs in the house and there is at least one residing on our back porch. Our resources and patience are being attacked from the outside and inside. Life with livestock and a 103 year-old house has been an adventure and it is definitely different from my life in the suburbs. Today, I feel like I am surrounded by dirt and disease and blood and feathers. Life out here has brought me closer to life and death, and given me lessons in patience and hard work. I have tasted loneliness and the uncomfortable feeling of not fitting in. I miss my friends and family, being able to buy organic milk 5 minutes from my house, and living in a house with a dishwasher. In most ways, life is simpler out here, but sometimes I remember all the lives we are responsible for and remember it's not always that simple. Sheep and puppies need shots and dewormer and nutritious food, chickens need better protection from hungry intruders, and driving 25 minutes to go shopping can be a headache sometimes.
I think I am happy that we are getting away from our little farm for a night tomorrow. I need a break from the messiness of it all. And then I will start to miss it, and will be happy to go back. No matter where we end up in life, I think I will always want to share my life with farm animals. Now that I have raised sheep and chickens, rabbits, and herding dogs, I don't think I could ever move back to the city or live without livestock. Sometimes I just need a day or two to remember that.