Smooch

Saturday morning, I walked outside to do my morning chores, and I admit – I had a bit of a chip on my shoulders. I really just wanted to sleep in one day. Just for an extra hour. But I know full well that if I gave in to my desires, I would be so far behind on my work that I would be doing double time for a couple of days, just to catch up. I plodded out to the barn. Fed the cats. Drug my heels to the coop. Opened the hatch, then went inside. I spread grain outside, then cleaned out the chicks’ water and feed bowls. Freshened them up. Then I went inside the roost area, poured grain in the feeders. As usual, I saved a little bit and turned around to feed the chickens on the roost. It’s become a habit, and they now expect this special treatment.

This time, there was an extra girl on the roost, who didn’t quite know the routine. She was on the side of the scoop filled with feed, and on her other side was Smooch. It’s a balancing act, but I hold the bucket with my leg, and with one hand I hold out a palm full of grain to the hen on the lower level. In the other hand, I hold the scoop filled with food. Well, this girl kept edging away, consequently pushing Smooch further from his breakfast. After a few second, the hen began to balance herself, trying to find the perfect spot to fly off the roost. Apparently she took a little too long, because all of a sudden, one of Smooch’s little legs flew off and kicked her, squawking and screaming, to the floor. He then nonchalantly swaggered his way across the roost and began to feed.   I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing, in total understanding.

There are days around here that get so frustrating, that I just want to throw a dirt clod at Mother Nature. I’ve been known to take my anger out on weeds, yanking them out of the ground with just a little too much force. And I have seriously considered squirting a cow with a water hose when they get in my clean laundry. Let’s not even discuss my desire to push Randy in the water trough, though. Retaliation is just a little too swift around here for my liking.

Our basic tenet on the farm is to always remember the joy we have in living this rural lifestyle. There is nothing more wonderful to me than to dig in the dirt, plant a little seedling, and watch it grow, lush with fruits and vegetables that we will in turn place on our table for our meal. There is a sense of awe in watching a selection of oils, fats and lye turn into something that I not only bathe with, but also leaves my skin feeling clean and soft – a major feat after how dirty I get outside. And there is nothing more beautiful than watching a cow give birth, or an egg hatch into a chicken. Even the hard, physical work brings an overall blanket of contentment at the end of a long day.

But there are times of frustration, disappointment, and sadness. And although I can’t use Smooch’s solution and kick an animal, I do need ways to blow off steam. It’s at those times I take a long walk around the Plantation, or down the road. The act of exercising like that helps to relieve the pressure, and by the time I’m headed back to the house, I am calm again, and actually able to recoup some of the joy that I always feel by living on a farm. Admittedly, there are some times I come back and make the mistake of passing by what frustrated me in the first place, and have had to take another lap or two. But eventually, I always come to my senses.

Do frustrations get to you sometimes? How do you deal with them? If you need some lessons on how to deal with frustrating people, I can always loan you Smooch. But fair warning – don’t go out and by a water trough, no matter how tempting that can be. You just might be the one swimming in the cow-slobber coated water.