Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I know you've probably seen this already (it's been circulating all over the internet lately), but take time to read it again anyway. It's a good thing to have on hand and re-read every so often...

...especially right now, for me.

There is so much change going on right now, I can hardly keep up with it. It is terrifying, exhausting, and exciting all at the same time. Some of the change is very difficult to deal with on an emotional level, and some of it I am thankful for, because it is not often in life that we get a "do-over." Once again I find myself looking to build my life from the ground up. It won't be easy, but I pray that the mistakes of my past will bring me wisdom for the future.

Here are a few things that have happened over the past few weeks:

1. A stray dog--a black lab--has shown up, probably dropped off my some irresponsible owner. He looks remarkably like the farm dog I lost last year. Much like his doppelganger, though, he is a hunter, and he wasn't here but a few hours when he proudly brought me the freshly-killed carcass of my poor little blue Silkie hen. Not able to do much else with him and figuring it wasn't any worse than his present condition, I loaded him up and hauled him a few miles away from the highway. I felt bad, but could not keep a chicken-killer around.

Then a few days later he showed up with another dog--a female who had obviously had way too many puppies. Again, I considered keeping them around, until the female attacked Charlie. Thankfully Charlie was not hurt, but this was absolutely intolerable behavior. I tried to lock up the two newcomers until I could find them a home, but they managed to get out no matter what I did. I considered taking them to a shelter but my schedule has been brutal--there was just no time, so I took them out, again away from the highway, about 10 miles away. I felt bad, but had really no choice. Again, I was not the one who dumped them originally--I had to justify my actions by telling myself they were no worse off, at least.

Then a few days later the original dog shows up again. I figure the third time, he must think this is his home and finally gave in thinking he could stay. His persistence really won me over. Then he killed two of my barred rock hens and last night he massacred one of my turkeys, so good feelings gone, to say the least. The dog doesn't stay around here--he comes here to hunt, only, so he is no longer welcome here. I can't let the birds out now until I find the dog, so it has been pretty stressful for everyone. I created a safe pen for the birds by fastening a tarp over some dog pen panels just outside their coop. It's not much, but in 100+ degree weather the coop is way too hot to stay locked up in all day. At least they can get a breeze. Unfortunately the dog will have to go to the pound now, when I see him next. I feel bad and I know some people might think me cruel, but to be honest most people around here would have shot him dead after the first chicken's death. I have to protect my birds and let's not forget, this dog was dumped here--I did not go get him. The real fault lies with his irresponsible owner for dumping an unfixed dog out in the country to fend for himself to begin with. I can't hold myself responsible for the actions of others, especially when things are so precarious right now in my life in the first place.

2. School is going well, but ironically the class I was most concerned about (Chemistry I) I have a 102% in, and yet the class I was least concerned about (Biology I) I have a C--EEK!!!!! So, I really need to re-arrange some of my studying priorities and get back on track. Thankfully there are many more assignments to come, so I should be able to recover, but the C certainly does not bode well. I have a 100% in my third class (Medical Terminology) so if I can maintain my two best classes and then up the third I will be fine. That's a lot of "if's!"

3. I gave Clipper back to his previous owner. My present situation is so terrifyingly unstable that I feel I need to do what is best for the horses. I am thankful that they are still being well-fed, but the harsh reality is that I cannot guaranty that I can continue to properly take care of four horses, so I refuse to continue to have four horses. Bambi, in foal to Almighty, is going to go live with my friend Linda near Topeka. I know Linda will make sure that Bambi and her foal are well-cared for, and Linda already has one Almighty foal (Moose), so I really hope Bambi knocks one out of the park for her!

4. I am getting used to my work schedule and am not quite as exhausted as I was the first few weeks, thankfully. My back has held up surprisingly well. I need to begin my 5K training again, but all the physical work I've been doing has reaped its own rewards--I am down to the smallest size I've been in ten years. I haven't lost that much weight, but all the walking must have firmed things up a bit--can't complain about that! I need to get back on a proper eating program so I can shed the pounds as well. I would really still love to do the 5K in October, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

5. One of the best parts about all this change is all the new people I've met both at school and at work. The majority of them really are good, caring people--it tends to help one's outlook to be around that kind of positive energy. There are a few things, too, that these people have said that have really cracked me up over the past few weeks. Here are just a few examples:

a. One of the servers I work with yelled to the kitchen, "What are our onions caramelized in?" Someone yelled back, "Caramel?"

b. One of our chemistry lessons was over dimensional analysis and one of the examples we worked through together in class was finding out how many carats were in a particular diamond. The instructor mentioned something along the lines of the girls in the room all like diamonds and the guys should enjoy giving them to their girls, when the guy next to me pipes up, "Sure, if you make me a sammich!"

c. I had to copy this from someone's status on Facebook the other day: "Apparently it's not okay to high-five someone in the face. Who knew?"

d. I'm not eligible for unemployment anymore because I'm going to school (how much does that suck?) but they had all kinds of excuses to cut me off even before that point--they first say my money has run out at the first tier and then they say I'm not eligible for an extension because there is money left on the first tier (sigh). So, I was glad that I had waiting tables to fall back on--I would have been starving without it. Just to solidify the fact that the government is nothing if it is not entirely incompetent, I received this notice when I checked on the claim status: "No payment has been issued for this week because: Payment for this week has not been issued." They must have joined forces with the KS Department of Redundancy Department.

That's all for tonight folks. I will try to keep better updates, and hopefully more entertaining posts than this, but in my defense this is the first evening I've been home in almost a week, and I'm running on four hours of sleep per night for all that time. The good news is that if there was a zombie apocalypse occurring anytime soon, I think I might survive for the simple fact I could blend in so easily right now.

And on that note, goodnight!


Fantastyk Voyager said...

That's too bad about all your birds getting killed. Stupid dog!

Hopefully, things will improve for you.

Your classes sound tough! I admire your spirit and optimism.

Nicole said...

The govt wants to help to look good until you actually need the help and then there's always a reason you "don't qualify"... stupid people :)

I hope things calm down. I'm getting ready to hit the fury of my going back to school too and I'm freaking out!

Annette said...

We had to build a secure chicken pen for our girls because we have a dog that kills them as well - and the dog needs to get out and run sometimes. And we fenced our property so other chicken killing dogs can't get in. We lost two chickens to neighborhood dogs who came onto our property - and Brett would have shot them if he had caught them.

Alan T Hainkel said...

Don't forget, you and I have a deal for that 5K. :D

Sounds like you could use a good back rub and a hug... Hang in there, kiddo. :)

Jessie said...

Thanks so much for everyone's support. I always figured I'd lose a few birds, but this has been trying, since I was put into this position of choosing between my birds and this stray dog quite unwillingly. I guess that makes me a bad person--c'est la vie....

Nicole, you're right. I guess I could have chosen to stay on unemployment and keep collecting benefits rather than striving to make myself more marketable. Oh well--I could never stand to be a mooch like that. It's not the life I want for myself, so just have to suck it up on go on. Good luck with your own studies! It's really hard at first, but getting easier now that I'm getting used to this schedule. The only bad part is NEVER being home. I'm gone from 6:30 am until 1am most days. I miss my farm and my animals so much, but I pray that this will pay off and we can be more secure in the future.

Jessie said...

Annette, I would love to do just that--build a nice enclosure like yours. If nothing else, the amount of bird poop on everything is enough to justify the project! lol But unfortunately I'm basically destitute, so financially it is just not feasible for me to have something done at this moment. I should have never gotten the birds until I had a fully enclosed, premium chicken coop ready for them. I have a very bad habit of doing things backwards that I am trying to be better about.

Jessie said...

YES, Alan! Deal! :) I need to make sure I can keep up with you, so I'd better get to training! I am looking forward to it.

Thanks, too, for all your support. I know you understand.... You are a rare empathetic soul.