Crofting: Disorganized Day

She's just biding her time.

The day started badly. The smallest chick left got smothered during the night, probably trying to huddle under the larger birds. She wasn’t growing as she should, and since yesterday’s swollen eyelid incident, I had thought she might not be strong enough to make it. There’s no use in coddling along the ones who have something wrong with them, as eventually they weaken the whole flock either by breeding or by getting an illness that might have been otherwise avoided. I wish Nicholas wouldn’t get so attached to the weak ones. I can look at it as part of life – not all chicks can survive – but he is a softie at heart.

The surviving four seem to be getting bigger and are healthy. If I lose anymore, I am going to complain to the seller. We take exceptional care of the chicks. They aren’t crowded, the crate is clean, they always have feed, grit and fresh water. I haven’t tried putting them in the barn yet, as our nights get cool about this time of year. They will start spending some time out there once they have fully fledged. They can have lots of hay for bedding, with pine shavings underneath. I think I’ll invest in a reflector lamp and a good extension cord as well.

Three items that don’t seem to stay on a farm long: Heavy extension cords, good 100-foot hoses, and battery chargers. They grow feet and shuffle off down the road, I suppose.

The dead chick put me in a pensive mood all day, with just an undercurrent of anxiety. I don’t want to have put a sum of money into what I hope will be our future egg and breeding stock and lose it to unknown causes. A friend down river says she had the same thing happen recently with her rare chick purchase, losing three out of eight in a week.

The goats went out on the west side of the house, under overcast and breezy conditions, but by the time I got home from a run to get a prescription for Nicholas, the heat and humidity had risen, and Vanilla was panting like she was in Lamaze class. I transferred them all to the barn, leaving the sliding door open into the new fenced pen, now known as the goat porch. It is really for the chickens, but it is useful to be able to leave that door open with goats loose in the barn. Tara, though, remembered what I suspect is an old trick, and tried leaning out through the fence. It is reinforced with upright 2x4s, and screwed to supports top and bottom, but she put a big bow in it until I grabbed her by the horns, pushed her into a stall, and shut the door. She was not pleased. The other two made use of their freedom to enjoy the pen. Vanilla settled down after about fifteen minutes and a drink of fresh water. The goats are so fussy about water. They had a bucket of water, but apparently some minute insect fell in it, and they wouldn’t touch it again.

Laundry got out on the clothesline, and supper made; the food blog post got written. (New posts for “In a Plain Kitchen” are at I will fix the blogroll link here soon.) One bathroom got cleaned. I can never seem to get both done in the same day.

When I was a young lass, a new mother, and a working wife, I would be close to frantic tears on days like this. Every task was interrupted at least once. I would start something, find I needed to move something, clean something, or find something before the next step. Every time. Every step. Just to do laundry I had to grate soap, relocate the borax (removed to another room for cleaning), run extra hot water to dissolve the soap and borax, find a laundry tub, empty goat drinking water out of tub, load tub, pick up the spilled compost (thanks to the dog) from under the clothesline, clean up after the dog under the clothesline by first trying to find the shovel which was in the garage, and then the rake, which was in the garden…

I survived the day. I did it without loss of temper. I have learned this important lesson: There’s tomorrow. It may be better than today or it may be worse or it may be the same but in a different way. That’s okay. We can live with it. We are not being judged on how well we got organized. God looks at the good heart within. Pass through each day with love and not with anger; pass through each day as if it is your last here. Pass through each day as if you have eternity before you – because you do.




3 thoughts on “Crofting: Disorganized Day

  1. Days like that do make it hard to keep a handle on one’s temper. Or at least for me. I greatly dislike having to hunt for something moved or misplaced and around here there has been a lot of shuffling and reshuffling of things as we try to fix the house. The laundry room is crowded and the small bedroom is pretty much unusable. I can get cranky about such things but I try not to. So I do understand how you feel. Huggles dear sister.

  2. Lately my days are interrupted by unending phone calls. I barely get something started and the phone rings! That and my washing machine can’t seem to run through a cycle without stopping at least once. Sure slows things down.

    A note on the chicks, we always keep a heat lamp on them until they are big enough for the barn. Helps keep them from piling up too much.


  3. I ditto Paulaayn’s comment on the chicks. We keep ours under a heat lamp for about six weeks, they usually spend the first 3 weeks in the house, preferably in the basement. In the house we use a childs wading pool, fill it with several inches of wood shavings, add a waterer, and feeder, use cardboard to make about a 2 foot “wall” around the pool and keep it toasty warm with the heat lamp. After about 3 weeks the chicks have outgrown the pool so we move them to the coop, we usually box off a corner for them and continue with the heat lamp. We do not let the chicks outside until they have feathers and are at least 8 weeks old and it is warm out, even then, they are hesitant at first to venture outdoors. Heat lamps work well, if the chicks are still huddling you need to lower the lamp, as they are cold, if the chicks are spread out as far as they can get from the lamp they are too hot, raise the lamp. We have only occasionally had a chick die on us.

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