How Many Ducks Does It Take to Screw in a Light Bulb?


So there’s been this rat in the cellar. For over a year. Big as a squirrel, but fatter. The biggest rat I’ve ever seen. I saw him one time, climbing on the shelves. I tried trap after trap, and I couldn’t catch him. I keep feed in the cellar, so I got huge plastic trash cans to keep the feed locked up. I gave up on the rat. At least he wasn’t eating the feed anymore! But I knew he was still there. I just couldn’t catch him.

I got some feed out in a bucket one day this weekend to bring to Glory Bee. I forgot to put the lid back on the big can of feed. There was barely any feed left in the trash can–just a little at the bottom.

And I caught the rat! I caught the rat! He climbed the shelves, jumped into his nirvana of feed–then he couldn’t get out! He was too far down in the can.

He was jumping and jumping and jumping. But he couldn’t jump high enough to make it out. Rodney found him. I’d told him how big that rat was! I told everyone how big that rat was! I didn’t think anyone believed me, but now he saw him. I’m telling you, you could put a leash on that rat and walk him around and people would think you were walking a dog, that rat was that big! He was like an elephant rat!

Okay, so I started out describing him like a squirrel. He was about the size of a squirrel. I’m trying to not exaggerate! But if you see a rat that big, he might as well be the size of an elephant! He was scary!

But I caught him. Hoisted on his own petard.

So that was the end of the rat. Rodney “took care” of him. Don’t ask.

I didn’t want to use the feed at the bottom of the can for Glory Bee or the goats. I was worried there might be rat droppings in it, so I hauled the can out to the front yard and dumped the feed for the ducks. They’d been coming around the front yard all summer. Two days went by and the ducks didn’t come up to the yard. It was going to rain and I didn’t want the feed to get all moldy and clumpy and turn into a big rock in the yard.

Since I forgot about what happened the last time I tried to help ducks, I tried to help them. I got some feed in a bucket and went to the creek crossing in the back barnyard where they were hanging out. Tried to convince them to come out under the fence at the creek. They ran around quacking, excited, but wouldn’t come out. I have the only ducks in the history of history that won’t cross a creek (THEY’RE WATERFOWL) for food.
I went into the front barnyard with the feed and they ran all the way around the back of the barn to come out under the fence on that side and into the front barnyard.
Note that they have taken the longest route possible to me and the feed.
Racing behind the chicken yard….
Squeezing under the gate. Note that they can squeeze under gates!
Blurry, like their minds….

Of course, by this time, I’d attracted the goats also. I put some feed down for everyone. The ducks came running. I opened the gate, trying to convince them to come on out where I could lead them up to the front yard and the big feast. They wouldn’t come through the fence. I know they can squeeze through the fence! And we just saw them go under a gate! They CAN. But they can’t think straight. So I opened the gate and let the goats out and the ducks came with them. I put the goats back and shut the gate. There went the ducks, squeezing back under the gate (now?!) to the other side with the goats! By this time, I was completely frustrated with the ducks and opened the gate again. Only the goats would come out, and they went running in every direction while the ducks stood there staring like lost children in the barnyard.
“Why did we come over here? We can’t remember.”

I threw down the now-empty bucket in front of the gate and spent the next ten minutes chasing all the goats down and putting them back. I came huffing and puffing back to the porch where Rodney was sitting in a chair observing this entire debacle.

I said, “Did I ever tell you about that other time I tried to help ducks and I ended up at the doctor’s office?”

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Hey, More Hay!


Back to my favorite barn! (Other than mine.)
I’ve been buying hay from Roger for six years. He’s a great guy, who likes to wax poetic about the “ruination of society” by round bales. (His theory: Round bales don’t require as much labor to put up. It’s mostly done by machinery, moving bales with a tractor, therefore young boys no longer get the experience of working in the hay fields and barns, putting up hay manually.)
There aren’t as many farmers who even make square bales anymore, but despite the fact that recently we stocked in 40 round bales for the winter, I still like to have some square bales laying around.
A square bale is the ultimate portable sustenance for livestock, and quite handy if you need to move animals temporarily, either to a stall or to a different field where you don’t plan to keep them long (for example, while fixing a fence break in their regular winter field). We only bought 64 because we don’t expect to use them regularly, but they’re nice to have on hand.
We were counting them out here. We made two trips with 32 bales on the truck per trip.
It’s just a short trip over the hill on backroads to Roger’s barn. Rodney, loading the truck:
Roger, helping out with the final tie-down:
Then back to our barn, where the bales went up, up, up the elevator to the loft.
And that’s it!
Winter is now secured.

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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