Written by Shana Thornhill Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:43
Hello, everyone! I’m the Fearless Farm Frau (aka the Crazy Chicken Lady), and I’m pleased to meet you. I’d shake your hand, but since I’m not in your kitchen, you’ll have to shake the paper and call it good. Please allow me to introduce myself (and yes please, I’d like a virtual cup of coffee. Thank you).
My husband and I moved here with our kids (and cats and dogs) a little over a year ago, in hopes of raising our kiddos on the farm and in small-town schools where they wouldn’t have to worry about weapons or gangs. Our five-year plan turned into a 10-year plan, but it finally happened. We couldn’t believe our luck in finding the perfect farm for us.
I was raised as a town kid in Buhler, but my parents both came from farming families from Buhler, Inman and Lehigh. Some of my hubby’s family and friends lived in Marion. Some of you that knit and crochet might remember my aunt’s yarn shop in Hillsboro, or maybe you’ve seen my dad play trombone in a polka band.
So, I thought I had the perfect background to reconnect with my farming roots. Wow, did I underestimate things.
Even though we took over a working organic farm, it wasn’t easy. My critter habit probably didn’t help things. Not only did I bring home rescued horses, I got chickens. No, I’m not an animal collector, but I work with animal rescue, and I just plain love animals.
I’ve always been addicted to horses, but adding chickens to the mix...thank goodness I have a patient husband. He puts up with me endlessly debating chicken breeds, probably in return for him debating different seeds to buy.
He’s the gardener, I’m the critter person. It works.
We’re just now getting used to heating with wood. Thank goodness hubby likes to split it all by hand. Thank goodness we live in a virtual forest that (with only dead wood) can keep us in firewood for years to come.
Feeding “the monster” (the wood-burning furnace) in the basement is a constant challenge—how much wood? What kind of wood is it? How fiddly can I be with the damper?
Some nights I wake up sweaty. Some nights I can’t get warm. But hey, none of us has frozen to death. I figure that’s a good thing.
To help you get a feel for me, here’s one of my “duh” moments from last year. We had just settled in, then got buried under 20 inches of snow. I decided I had to make a grocery run. I was trying to follow the ruts in the road, but ended up burying my truck axle-deep in a drift.
I called my husband. “Get a plow,” I said.
“What good is that going to do?” he said.
“You know what I mean. Call for a tow truck,” I said.
He delayed a bit, and gave me the usual male tips about getting unstuck. At this point, I was thinking: I’m not that far from home. I have a horse. I could go get her and she could pull the truck out of this drift.
Then I thought further. What am I going to do, tie a tow rope to her tail? Probably not. So I used my ice scraper to get some of the snow out from under the wheels, and managed to free the truck (and make the grocery run).
Here’s the kicker: I didn’t think about it until AFTER I got back, but we have a tractor.
So, I’m still acclimating to farm life. Going out to feed in sub-zero temps is an education in itself. I know many of you are probably laughing at that.
Red Green always says, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” Well, if you don’t find me beautiful, may you find me entertaining. I’ll give it my best shot.
As I write this, the coals are glimmering in an incomparable Kansas sunset. Buckle in, folks, it’s going to be a fun ride. No matter what happens out here, it’s always an adventure. I can always look back and laugh. Sometimes it just takes a little longer.
To follow Shana’s blog go to fearlessfarmfrau.blogspot.com.