Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Writing Mom on a Farm

This is my parents' place. A farm in Indiana. On 12 acres. It's gorgeous. This was my view last night.

They are my heroes, seriously. My dad gave up a wonderful job--and my mom a beautiful red truck--to return to being a full time pastor. It was scary, but he was following his dream (now you know where I get it from). They decided to use their dream home (and 12 acres of land) to start a little farm. They usually raise 50 chickens at a time, out on this land, but thankfully for me, they're only raising 15 this round.

I am not a farmer. I have no skills when it comes to animals...chickens, dogs, etc.

I'll let you in a little secret. We have a cat, and I want to give her away...and have tried and failed. But Angel Kitty makes my husband and happy--and hides from my kids--so she stays. And my husband is responsible for taking care of her.

This week, my parents went to see my sister and her new baby. (Hi, Kati and baby Tom Tom!) So I packed up my 4yo boy and twin 2.5 year old girls and moved into my parents' place. Since my husband is working a lot, the bulk of the responsibility rested on my scrawny shoulders.

I had 15 chickens, a cow (not the dairy kind), and a dog to care for. It should have been easy. The dog and cow are fenced in, requiring only a morning feeding and checking their water buckets. The chickens are almost ready to go outside in the field, so they are hanging out in their area in the barn. I need to feed them and fill their water twice a day. Easy, right? Sigh.

First morning on the job--the cow and dog get out. The dog hides in the neighbor's yard, so my husband has to carry her back and lock her inside the fence. But the cow is a different story. My husband calls me at the daycare, frantic. I tell my boss the situation and head back. The two of us lead the cow back to the pen, but it has other plans. So we do our best to keep him from the road and wait on Jeff--my husband's friend, the cow expert. With Jeff's expertise and special paddles, they herd him back in the pen, while I hold the dog inside. Phew!

Are you wondering where the kids are during all this? That was my first question when I pulled in. They're strapped in the running van, watching The Little Mermaid. Trying to care for farm animals and supervise three children is not easy.

But the hardest part was itching to work on my new story and keep my kids contained. It is so hard to get my kids to sleep at someone else's house--even my parents' place. My daughter, Addy, even figured out how to unlock the doorknob in her room. So I finally give up and put on a movie for them to watch and relax. At my house, that totally works. At my parents' place? Nope.

While I'm plugging away on my computer, Addy ghosts into the only room in the house without a locked door--the laundry room. She reaches on top of the dryer and pulls down the laundry detergent--the special dye/perfume-free type--and dumps a bunch all over the floor. I flip out. I don't even know how to clean that up. Adding water to it would create a soapy monster. Plus there's the little girl covered in soap, slipping and sliding.

I toss her over my shoulder and bathe her. Then I put her in her bedroom and lock the door, threatening a spanking if she opens the door. She doesn't. Then I attempt to clean the mess.

An hour later, I finally sit down at my laptop again and have only ten minutes to work before the movie ends, my daughter calls from her bedroom, and the rest of my day begins.

I didn't choose to work on my writing the rest of the week after that ordeal.

There were more exhausting stories from the farm. My son getting stuck in a mud swamp with some sharp object stuck in the bottom of his foot (also the same day as the laundry soap). My son trapping himself in his sisters' swing. My daughter bringing me soap bottles without lids, a razor, a pair of scissors, and pen after pen after pencil after pencil--which are still in the cereal cabinet, Mom and Dad. Oh, and my favorite, Addy taking highlighters and drawing all over her face, arms, and chest. She had more baths this week than she's had since she was a baby. But I can say I'm thankful we had no potty messes. :)

I am thankful to be home again. I am not meant to take care of animals, especially chickens that peck at me when I try to get their food tray out and a cow that eyes me with distrust while I feed the dog.

Hope my stories entertained you. ;)

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