Family

Instead of complaining, look at naked babies!

I have not been posting because I’ve been in a big old funk. I mean nothing going right, don’t have any money, the world hates me, my kids are all sick, I don’t fit into my bathing suit, we’re out of coffee, drinking-orange-juice-after-brushing-your-teeth FUNK.

I was so funked out that I was not going to come on here and drag anybody into the funkterland under the Sea of Funklania down where the Funk-finned Funksharks live.

Most of the story is just FUNK, but there are a few things that really were going wrong, the biggest of them that we had a predator (best guess is coyote or a neighbor dog) get under our fence and kill fully half of our adult chickens last week. If you haven’t yet realized it from my constant writing about them, we LOVE our chickens and they are a big part of what we do as a family. They’re my feeble substitute for the horses and rabbits and geese and ducks and sheep and goats that I had the privilege of growing up with, because I wanted our kids to have the connection with living things that are used by humans for food. I am blessed enough that the kids jumped into it with both feet, and they are good little farm kids and work really hard to make those chickens’ lives wonderful.

Anyway, we had just finished setting concrete all around the edge of the little chicken barn, because we were worried that something was trying to get under the sills. Once that was done, we were about as night-tight as you can get and we hadn’t had a predator loss in over a year. Unfortunately, dog species don’t wait for night. Whatever this was, it came in under a heavy fence in broad daylight and it wreaked havoc. We came out to put the chickens in for the night and found our little bantam Cochin rooster gamely standing at the gate, badly bitten and half his feathers gone, his wives clustered behind him. It was obvious who hadn’t obeyed his alarm calls; all our young pullets (this year’s replacement stock) and most of the Serama hens were gone, and there was a big dug-out ditch under the back part of the fence.

The little hero rooster had some broken ribs and a punctured air sac, and his tail isn’t going to look OK for a while, but he’s going to pull through thanks to antibiotics and tight wrapping around his ribs. He’s already doing much better. But we lost 15 in a day, and there is nothing worse than having four kids weeping hysterically over little piles of feathers.   Then, the next day (seriously, the very next day) we were standing on the deck and saw a little sharp-shinned hawk plummet from the sky right onto one of the few remaining youngsters. We weren’t more than six feet away and that little bugger killed a baby rooster as big as he was. And THEN, just today, we had a horribly horribly hot day and we lost one of the growing-out babies, just a month old, to heat stroke, and we have five others looking pretty rocky and I’m trying to save them but who knows if I can pull them through.

Anyway, after that I went out and spent fifteen thousand dollars on gorgeous new fencing and electric wire, installed a misting system to cool them, and told my babies that nothing bad would ever get their sweet chickens again – oh, yeah, that is what I CAN’T do. I just keep dripping electrolytes down little beaks and try to fix the fence one more time with bits and pieces of stuff I can find in the basement. Hence the dive into the big old funk.

So MAN ALIVE, I needed some babies. Good thing I’ve got some.

My sister Dee was kind enough to give birth to a GORGEOUS baby two years ago, and even if he’s not a little boober anymore I can still count him. Isn’t Julian just breathtaking? They came up from Ohio for a few precious days and I got to see them at my mom’s house (please, you think that’s OUR lawn? HA!) and take pictures and tell stories and hear the latest from my sisters and it was generally the best time ever.

Then there’s Malachi, just a year old and all of a sudden he’s decided to be a person. He’s hysterical.

Malachi is my brother Jon’s son, and wow. He’s a super flirt and the funniest thing ever.

Hey, how you doin’?

And then he looks at you through those lashes and you get all squeally and give him gum. Of course.

Blake, the blondie, is my sister Missy’s son, meaning that these are all cousins, and obviously related in at least one way.

Poor bubbas. It’s so hard to be told to sit still! They look like I’ve been feeling this week.

So of course then they had to have a bubble bath in the biggest tub Geeba has, and that makes everything better.

(You can thank my own Meriwether for that nickname – she couldn’t say Grandma all those years ago, so my mom became Geeba to an entire generation of little-now-big kids, and it’s starting again with these beautiful boys.)

I told Delia that when they all get married and are each other’s groomsmen, these pictures are going to be blown up the size of a billboard.

There’s that beautiful smile!

 Hmmm – maybe I just need to go take a bubble bath. Good plan.
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11 Comments

  • Reply Julie Ellingson July 7, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Thank you for that. I needed to look a happy, beautiful children. Oh, the little knees!

  • Reply Patricia Marland July 7, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Beautiful babies!!!

  • Reply Ruffly Speaking July 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Aren’t they delicious? I just LOVE those boys.

  • Reply Addy Thank you July 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

    What a lovely *pack* of cousins. Just being near them could be an antidote for any kind of funk, no matter how deep.

  • Reply Suzanne Himmler July 7, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Oh, the poor chickens! My sweet daughter had just gotten her first two chickens (Peaches and Dobby) and was devastated when a raccoon killed one. Her little Dobby followed her around until they brought a few more home.

    The boys are precious, sometimes I wish we could fast forward to see how handsome they will be in 20 years, but I suppose we’ll have to wait.

  • Reply Micaela P. July 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    *sigh* I could look at your nephews and their baby pudge forever and ever… mine has no pudge left anywhere and is getting ready for his *8th* birthday. And my oldest? Will be 21yo in less than two weeks! The nerve of my boys, growing up so fast!!!

    I’m sorry about the funk, I hope something good & worth celebrating comes your way soon!

  • Reply Beth July 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

    So sorry about the chickens! Predation from above is tough to protect against without roofing the whole darn thing. I seriously considered looking into getting ducks but between the hawks around here and the coyotes and foxes and raccoons, I would seriously need either to cage my whole yard with buried wire or get a Great Pyr…..

    The kids are stunningly beautiful.

  • Reply Laura S. July 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Apex preditors are beautiful until they eat your own babies . . . I send my condolences for your loss of so much of your flock. As for the funky blues, it must be going around . . . I hope you perk up along with me. I don’t have any babe’s to photo but looking at your extended family sure did help. I’m knitting up a storm; that’s my therapy; even in the summer.

  • Reply Jessica July 10, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Oh, dear, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. No wonder you are feeling low!

    I hope your luck starts getting better and you get to enjoy a lovely summer with your girls and your dogs and the new chickies that will be added to your family.

  • Reply laura c. July 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Sorry I didn’t make sense earlier.

    I’m sad about your chick’s. Our neighbors been having problems too and has had some friends donate fertilized eggs and has borrowed the 4H incubator and tightened defenses too. 23 of 24 hatched all healthy and strong. A mixed bag of breeds and fun to see grow.

    As for the kids and the tub, they make me smile and think — that’s where that beautiful tub is! I was promised one just like it as a wedding present but it’s still on the to do list . . . i’m glad it is *there* to make such wonderful babes happy on a hot day.

    Definately save those pictures!

  • Reply Flea August 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Oh, the cousins are BEAUTIFUL! I just want to eat them up!

    You poor, poor thing, losing your girls. I only have three chickens in my little backyard (we lost our fourth to a hawk a few months ago). And two ducks. Don’t know if it will help, but maybe call around to grocery stores and ask if any of them are replacing their produce misting systems. It’s what we have on the back porch for the poultry and it makes a HUGE difference. My girls are wet all afternoon, wandering in and out of the mist.

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