Three years ago, I would never have believed anything would make me skip two whole months of blogging. We made it through selling a house on the water (because hubby spent too much time glued to the TV watching the weather channel for hurricanes). We made it through moving into a rental with a huge garage to hold years worth of furniture and hubby’s camping and native American gear. We made it through 3 failed offers on houses in our old town, Fort Walton Beach, FL. Weird stuff happened including finding out the builder didn’t really own the house we were buying because it accidentally got deeded to someone else. Yet we made it through and started looking in a nearby town. We finally found a very nice home with almost 2.5 acres of land within driving distance of hubby’s work, and we made it through moving again. This took around six months, and I blogged at least once a week the whole time. Same goes for the time it took to remodel for handicap accessibility, another 6 months with some ongoing finish work.
Life can be tough though. Painting and decorating went by the wayside because the new house had chickens and most of the land was still forested. Chicken keeping is time consuming in a hot humid climate where diseases flourish. And even though we hired a guy to clear land, it was a lot of work. Can’t say we made it through all that, but we made it through stage one and two — about 50 fruit and nut trees are in the ground so far. I still kept blogging.
Then, last year in March, I had a surgery to correct my hiatal hernia. After that, I threw up for over six months, nearly starved to death, and had a corrective surgery. On my birthday. My blog got repeatedly hacked during this trying time, but I still posted once a week. Even though my health was shot and I couldn’t sleep, I made it through, although I wasn’t fully recovered. I kept blogging.
I kept blogging even when predators got all but one of first 12 chickens. Once a gate popped open and some pit bulls got through. Once a hawk got a hen, dropped her, and I sewed her chest back on. I learned the hard way how to secure a coop and run against big predators. I don’t think there is a good way to secure against snakes. This 6.5 foot rat snake took us about 20 minutes to pull out from under a railroad tie on one side of the turkey run.
It was trying to get the babies (called poults). A friend who keeps snakes came and got it.
That was Mothers Day this year, and I was still blogging. By then I had moved my hacked blog and removed malware over a period of months. It took an unbelievable amount of time, and it was all on me because the company I hired to clean it couldn’t find it all. Neither could the new host. I had to inform my blog partners that I was blogging solo. I didn’t know if they had vulnerable computers or passwords. Even now, I don’t know if my own devices are always secure, but that’s not what got me.
What finally got me was that all our chickens didn’t make it through diseases. It started last summer when we had a fowl pox outbreak. The vet told us our first two turkey toms probably died of the same parasite, gape worm, that killed some chicks, so I bought a microscope and relearned how to do a fecal exam. I couldn’t remember from college what the parasite eggs looked like, but I found pictures on the internet. Too bad I couldn’t look in the microscope without throwing up. Then again, last year I couldn’t do anything without throwing up.
Last month I tried again after I found bloody diarrhea and dead chicks in the brooder. That was on the first Wednesday of the month, and things have been so crazy since then that here I am, finally posting another month later. We got the roundworms under control by treating the whole flock, but some of the chicks and chickens are recovering from other diseases brought on by terrible storms. Since this looks like an ongoing cycle, I am selling a lot of birds to decrease the workload. But I’m not selling them all. I’m not selling all the chicks either.
Now why would I even hatch chicks when I haven’t recovered to full health? Am I a glutton for punishment or what? Well, all I can say is that I love chickens and love learning. I hatched the chicks to study genetics for some Ameraucana breeding projects. I love Ameraucanas and Araucanas because they are friendly, beautiful, and the hens lay blue eggs. So there you have it. Whichever came first, the chicken or the egg, I love chickens more than blogging.
In fact, my chickens are probably what pulled me through last year when I was so weak I couldn’t make it to the chicken coop without stopping to rest. Although I’ve been busy editing this year, it’s not writing or editing that make me happiest. Not anymore. I research the cream ig gene and genetics whenever I have a spare second. Sometimes even when I don’t. I’m breeding new varieties of Ameraucanas, black gold laced, blue red laced, and whatever other lace strikes my fancy. I was ecstatic when Lyne Peterson of Bryngyld.com sent me some hatching eggs, and my chicks are now almost 3 months old. I am a busy farmer now.
However, I will try to keeping blogging — at least for IWSG…
After all, next year I might want to write a book about chickens.