Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yeehaw! It's Round-Up Time!

courtesy of fivegreenacres.wordpress.com
I was in the middle of a delicious dream when the alarm fired off this morning.  It was something nice, involving eating something good in great company...and then it was gone, just like that, and I was laying there in the dark, under a warm blankie, faced with the stark realization that it was 4 AM and I needed to get up.

So, so wrong.  On so many levels.  Even the dogs were appalled.

It needed to be done, though.  The Great Chicken Round-Up of 2012 was due to start at 5 AM, and before I faced 150-plus projectile pooping distraught chickens I needed a serious amount of coffee in my belly.  Thank goodness for espresso grind coffee in a french press.

I haven't been up that early in many a day, and once I perked up a little, it was absolutely lovely.  Still and quiet, I could hear the water flowing over the spillway at the dam on the river a half mile away.  Venus shone brightly in the sky, just above the eastern horizon where a pale glow suggested that perhaps the sun was thinking about rising.  The quarter moon was fat and bright, and a slight whisper of sound above me suggested that the resident bats were heading home to their roosts beneath the siding on the west side of the house.

It nearly made it acceptable to be up so early.

And then I managed to hit a deer on my way to the first tractoring site.  It did no damage, but I think I hit the young buck squarely on his backside, and I couldn't find him in the ditch when I stopped to check for any damaged lights.  So maybe he did okay and it wasn't as hard of a hit as I thought, but I still felt pretty crummy about it.  Darn thing shot out of the cornfield when I was right on top of him, and between the momentum of Lucille Laverne plus the trailer I was towing there was no way to stop.  Sigh.

Luckily, that was the only down moment of the morning.  The rest of the Great Round-Up went well, if a bit messy (poo in the hair.  Poo. In. The. Hair.), noisy (shrieking chickens!!!), and hard on the body (between a couple well placed nips, a good scratch from budding rooster talons, going inside the tractor and wearing it like a hat, and chasing loose escapees through prickly thistle, nettle, and burdock).  It took a good two and a half hours, but the crates got loaded and I made it to the processing place in Clear Lake before 8 AM.  Nobody fell off the truck, and no further deer decided it was time to commit suicide as LuLa travelled the backroads and byways.  I rounded out the morning with dispatching a couple of sick chickens who I decided not to send off with the others (they had suffered some severe bites when the others got heat stressed and decided to take it out on them, and my homeopathic remedies didn't do the trick), returning the borrowed trailer, and hosing out the back of the truck. 

It reeked.  Many chickens pooping in a black-plastic lined truck bed does not make for a happy smell.

In a few hours, I'll be heading back to pick up the finished chickens and then making a couple of deliveries to folks who are taking some of them off my hands.  It looks like all the coolers in the neighborhood decided to throw a party in the car hut.  Next thing you know, the neighbors will be coming over to see if there is hidden Leinie's beer in them.  Won't they be surprised to find plucked chickens on ice?

Cluck cluck.

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