God’s Goodness

It has been an eventful week at the Oliver Farmhouse. Our “farming” is very small-scale and very much an experiment at this stage. We have 11 laying hens, 1 rooster, 14 pullets, 1 rare breed whose gender is still a mystery, and a bountiful garden that has as many weeds as it has vegetable plants.

It’s not a lot, but some days it feels like too much.

Like Monday.

Monday was a long day with news of unexpected expenses. When Chris was gathering eggs that evening, he discovered one of our hens was sick. She was hunched over and her comb was pale and droopy. We immediately separated her from the flock.

WP_20170727_13_02_33_Pro

Thursday was a reprieve full of sunshine and just the right amount of dirt. We moved our pullets and white-feathered mystery chick from the small starter coop into a bigger, more secure coop until they start laying when they’ll join the others.

WP_20170727_16_36_02_Pro

Friday. Friyay? More like Fri-no.

I had just put the girls down for a nap when I heard a very loud, very strange noise. As I got up and moved closer to the unfamiliar sound, I realized it was our Great Pyrenees, Samwise. He’s about eight months old and barks at cyclists, birds, sirens, tractors–you name it. But this wasn’t a normal Sam bark.

As I stepped out onto our enclosed back porch, I could still only hear Sam, but I could see another dog in the yard. When I found Sam, I realized that he was not injured, but was torn between his instinct to protect us and our flock and his knowing that he could not take on this unfamiliar foe.

I stepped inside for a moment to call Chris. When I returned, the dog had found the chickens. We have an electric poultry netting around the coop, but the ground was wet and the dog was running laps around the fence, cutting corners causing the fence to collapse a bit more with each round, with Sam close behind.

I have been so pleased with our rooster, Atlas. He sounds the alarm when a hawk is near, bringing Sam bounding through the yard to chase it away. If he finds bugs or other good grub in the yard, he gives the ladies first dibs. They fight over who gets to roost next to him at night.

I have never been so impressed with him as I was yesterday. He jumped the fence to defend his flock against the intruder. The dog took a bite out of his backside, leading me to believe from my limited view that he had killed him, but the next thing I knew, he was up and running again.

Not long after this, our neighbor came to collect his runaway. (He was very apologetic.) I went hunting for Atlas, but to no avail. I went to the coop to count chickens, but there were only four to be found.

Helplessly watching this animal wreak havoc on our animals was pretty traumatic. We know that losing livestock is part of farm life, and we’ve lost hens before to coyotes, possums, hawks, but I’ve not been a firsthand witness to these events.

I continued to search while Chris made his way home and finally found Atlas hiding under the car.

We found two hens in the garden.

The rest came back on their own throughout the course of the evening.

We didn’t lose a single animal. Atlas paid with his tail feathers. Samwise was brave and smart.

WP_20170728_18_14_52_Pro

Our sick hen was safe on the porch and our pullets, who were in a small, unsecure coop in the middle of the yard only hours before, were safely kept in a larger coop on the other end of the property. My children were upstairs in their beds.

It’s not a lot, but some days it feels like too much. Most days it takes more than we can handle to see God’s goodness.


One thought on “God’s Goodness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s