It was a day to make one wonder about the whole crofting business. While the garden is finally picking up speed, it is overrun with dandelion and yarrow. I have been pulling pig weed and volunteer timothy and giving it to the goats. My red “merlot” lettuce is giving up the fight, although the green leaf lettuce is fine.
We lost a chick today, not to running away, but to natural death. I thought one looked weak late yesterday, and it seemed peaky this morning. It perked up a bit after a drink of water and some food, but when I went to check the crate a half-hour ago, it was dead. I bought the chick feed that is supposed to stop coccidiosis, and their droppings aren’t loose, and their eyes are bright. I suspect this one chick, the smallest, may have been injured in the move or it was just not strong enough. Sometimes they don’t have well-developed lungs. Since chicks like to mob together, sometimes the small ones get stepped on and it doesn’t take much shock to do them in. Still, I hope nothing bad is starting in the birds. This is our investment in future egg-layers and I hope some silkies to sell next year.
Right now, the finances are so tight that I can pay the rent (landlords are traveling, back tomorrow) but I am holding off on the phone bill until I have an idea of what else is coming up. I do not have enough money for another tank of gas, and I don’t have the money for Nicholas’s meds due at the middle of the month. He can go a couple of weeks without it, but I hate to do that. I had expected some funds to show up two weeks ago, but I just found out they are delayed until later in the month or even the end of the month. I have enough animal feed and we have food to get through, although the last week looks a lot like a menu of rice, beans and whatever comes out of the garden.
Death is part of the life of a farm. Crop failure is sometimes beyond our control, as is the condition of animals who may arrive with an illness or be injured through no fault of their or our own. I’m not one to say “It happens for a reason,” as if God is some sort of harsh taskmaster, teaching us lessons. Bad things happen, painful moments dot our lives and sometimes form a solid line, not because we aren’t smart enough or don’t know enough, but simply because the universe is like that. Bad things happen to good people because bad things happen. No one walks in a magic bubble.
Someone said to me lately that all our trials (meaning my own, not hers) are so we will learn to turn to God. I was a bit brusque with her over that; she is young and on an evangelical high. And that’s fine – but the hard fact is “that man is born to suffer as the sparks fly upward.” Good Christians sometimes die horrible deaths. Good Christians sometimes lose everything. Because many Protestant denominations do not teach the history of the rest of Christianity, many evangelicals don’t know that at least 22 million Orthodox Christians were martyred in Russia under Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. These were bishops, priests, deacons and nuns. They didn’t die nice, quiet deaths either. Many died in prison camps. Stalin, once a seminarian himself, sent bishops to a remote Siberian camp to fish. They died in storms, of exposure, injuries, illness and starvation. Stalin thought it amusing to send “fishers of men,” the successors to the apostles, to be fishermen. Other monks were killed by Lenin’s renegades as his “soldiers” looted monasteries. Some were made to dig their graves, and were shot as they sang the “Pascha Nostrum,” – Christ our Passover. This was the evil answer to a great religious revival in Russia just one hundred years ago, and less.
So our setbacks are just that. They are the “go back three spaces” cards on the board game of life.