Sunday, January 26, 2014

Farm Casualty

So, I just smashed my chicken bucket.

With my face.

I suppose you want to hear the story.

It all started in the house, where I was chopping up zucchini and eggplant and onions and squash for a crude ratatouille, wishing I could chop faster and hurry and get the pan on the stove so I could get to what I REALLY wanted to do, which was go outside and visit the chickens.

I got the food on the stove, grabbed the scraps and peels, threw them in my watering bucket and filled the bucket with water, then eagerly bounced outside to go check on the chickens. (I only bounced once, actually, because the water sloshed and I realized I better keep things level, all things considered. Ahh, the irony, as you'll soon learn.)

I made it to the chicken coop, fished the scraps out of the water and scattered them for the waiting hens and Wyatt the Rooster. Emptied the metal waterer and refilled it from the bucket. Then, after I discovered the hose wasn't frozen this warm afternoon, I dumped Doris the Duck's pool, rinsed it out and began refilling it with fresh well water.

I took my empty bucket into the coop where I discovered a new nest the girls had hidden and dug out 12 eggs. Sneaky hens! I made a mental note to test the eggs for freshness when I got back to the house, since I didn't know how long the girls had been working on this nest. After my surprise find, I headed over to the feed shed where some of the ladies have been laying recently, and that's where it all went wrong.

As I walked to the shed, I spied a stray object on the ground and thought, "How'd that get here?" Then, I lifted my eyes toward the shed, took another step and tripped on that very object, catching my foot and sending me flying forward. The bucket flew up from my grip just before my face slammed into it full force, breaking through it and pulverizing the eggs it held before smashing through to the wire bed frame covering a straw bale on my way down. I felt the bed frame fly up, adding even more of a smack to my forehead before I tumbled sideways, then landed on my back.

It was a few seconds before I could convince myself to open my eyes. My forehead was already hurting, I could feel the egg yolks dripping from my face and hands, and the pain from my forearm, knees and forehead immediately made an appearance. I lay there a few minutes, and I'm fairly certain from the crusty feeling at the corners of my eyes that I may have shed a tear or two. Of course, that could be egg whites. In which case I'm getting a little firming facial out of the whole deal, and that's good, I suppose.

So, there I lay, staring up at the blue sky, just kind of pondering the whole scene.  I wondered what the chances were that anyone would come looking for me from the house and decided they were relatively slim. Me disappearing outside for stretches at a time isn't all that unusual, tho it's less frequent during winter months.

I closed my eyes again and considered staying there on the soft bed of straw I landed on indefinitely, noticing it really is unseasonably warm and it was actually pretty comfortable in that spot.

My sweet Otis discovered me within a couple of minutes, and I wasn't surprised. I'm his favorite person; he knew something was amiss. What he isn't, tho, is very intuitive as it relates to injury, because his reaction was to lick my face, of course, then sprawl across my throat and face, rolling, trying to get me moving or to respond to him. I endured him for a little while then wryly said, "Otis, go get help...go get help," knowing full well he wasn't going anywhere and had no idea what I was saying. Sure enough, he just kept licking my face. Then he noticed the egg, and started licking that. Figuring he didn't need to profit from my misadventure, I feebly shooed him away. He had already forgotten his concern for me. Once he got the scent of raw egg he noticed the bucket next to me and the smashed eggs by the straw bale. At least it got him off my throat.

I opened my eyes again and watched a plane pass high overhead. I thought about the water still filling Doris's pool. I thought about the veggies simmering on the stove and wondered if anyone would think to stir them. I wiggled my toes and wondered where my shoe was. I wondered whether my hair was laying in chicken poo. I noticed the chickens were nowhere near me. I didn't blame them. I had created quite a ruckus falling and shrieking and landing. I briefly wondered whether the trauma of my shenanigans would cause a drop in egg production for a day or two. Then I decided I probably better give a try at getting up.

I wasn't really sure what kind of damage I'd done so I took it slow. It hurt like a booger rolling over to my knees and pushing up. I was glad I've dropped some weight recently because it means hefting less on my way up. I surveyed the smashed bucket and eggs -- I'd broken every single one. An entire dozen. What a waste.

I made it to my feet, looked around and found my shoe, slid it on, picked up what was left of the bucket and shuffled back to the house.

When I walked through the doors, the kids looked up and registered surprise before trying to hold back their laughter at the sight I presented. To their credit, they asked with real concern whether I was OK and what had happened. Mike helped me peel off my sweatshirt so I wouldn't scatter straw across the just swept floors and everyone inspected the cuts and bumps on my forehead and the scrapes and bruises elsewhere that were already looking angry.

Now, here I sit on the couch, sharing this little tale with you. Judging by the stiffening and swelling, I've done a nice little number to my arm, knees, and ankle, and boy, does my face, head and neck hurt. Broke my darn glasses, too.

So, I'm off to the shower for a nice, hot steam. Then I think I'll pop a few Ibuprofen and call it a day.

Hope you don't trip and face smash a bucket.

Love from the farm,

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