The summer days on the farm are sadly coming to a screeching halt. The mornings are creeping to lower and lower temps and the shift in the air has made the leaves begin to fall.
September means the beginning of canning veggies, final harvests, morning chills, flannels and coats starting to change on the animals suggesting the need for an extra layer.
And I wanna talk about something.
I wanna talk about challenge.
Or call it stress.
Or call it life.
Or call it life-ing.
The coolest thing about being a human are the gifts and challenges you are given. And we can view them as “hard” and be energy-sucked by them OR we can view them as “challenging” and take them head on and even maybe, just maybe be INSPIRED by them.
And how do they add health?
Studies have shown that not ALL stress is BAD. And that some stress is actually beneficial. Take working out for example. Stressing out your muscles actually BUILDS them. Intermittent fasting (a stress) actually INCREASES growth hormone-the repair hormone of the body. it also INCREASES beneficial bacteria that aid in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients and immune health.
And what about on the farm??
Welp it’s the heartbeat of my life. And the stress of the weather change forces everyone to hunker in a little closer.
The ducks, turkeys, and chickens are the pulse of the farm. They are a grounding feature, they clean up the bugs, they clean up the kitchen scraps, they make me laugh and follow me around like my shadow. They also lay the most glorious eggs full of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins that I get to sit down to each morning.
And they are more entertaining than any television.
If you have ANY lick of space at your house or have been dappling in the idea of getting them DO NOT HESITATE.
They are fool proof and worth their weight in er…well, eggs.
I don’t think I have told you all the story of Jack…
So I don’t know if you know this about me, but I despise cats.
But you know what I despise more than cats?
And this is where the story beings.
Two years ago I had a mouse problem.
A big one.
I would walk into the chicken coop and the floor-would-look-like-it-was-moving-mice-problem.
And I don’t like to trap them.
And I wont poison.
You know what this means?
I went cat shopping.
So I swallowed my pride and went to the human society.
I told the volunteer that I wanted a “barn cat” which then lead us down a long hallway to the feral cats that tried to rip my face of when I approached their cage.
Note to self. Don’t tell staff you want a barn cat.
Phone a friend.
K, so because I don’t like cats I leaned on a friend and her daughter who are cat whispers to help me in this painful endeavor.
We went for visit #2 and this time I didn’t get my face torn to shreds, but still no luck.
My friends and I were headed home from the hot springs and it was suggested that we give the humane society one. Last. Chance.
With little hope that this was ever going to work out, thinking that I was just going to have to Google “alternative ways to kill a plethora of mice” I walked into the feline unit one. Last. Time.
I walked down the hallway with my baseball hat and my arms crossed curling my lip at this whole endeavor when I looked down and saw him.
I pointed down at him almost aggressively, as if to say, “YOU. YOU. Where have you been??”
And out loud I said, “you, you are coming home with me.”
I waved to the tech to pull his file and send him home.
“Chico” they had named him. He was 4 months old and had been brought in the day before.
“Great,” I said. “ He’s coming home with me.”
Filled out paperwork. Paid $40. Done. Chico the kitten was coming home to the farm.
In the truck we went.
And on the way home we had a talk him and I.
“First,” I said, “your name isn’t Chico.”
As I was driving, wracking my brain for names that might be a fit for him, I drove along a fence line. This particular style of fence lining the road is called “jackleg.”
Jack. I thought. What about jack?
Yes, yes his name is jack.
“Jack,” I said.
“Here’s the deal. There are a few rules you should know about. EVERYONE on the farm knows them and in order to stay it would be much obliged if you abided by them.
“Ok” he said. “Shoot.”
“Right.” I said.
Everyone gets along with everyone. Stress between animals and between species stresses me out. We have dogs. And birds. And horses. And goats. And cows. And ducks. And turkeys. And humans.
“Ok,” he said.
Everyone has a job. And YOUR job jack is to kill MICE.
“Ok,” he said.
And rule #3
Jack, this rule ONLY applies to YOU.
Never will I ever. Ever. And I mean EVER do a litter box.
You will POOP OUTSIDE.
“Ok,” he said.
“Great! Then we will get along just fine.”
And he has. Three years later and he has followed every rule and then some.
And in the interim I have completely fallen head over heals for this dang cat.
Never did I ever think.
Ug. A cat?
He has shown up as one of the greatest farm hands, entertainers and friends.
And proved me wrong.
I guess I do …like….ug….cats.