Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

April Fool’s Day

Somewhere in the midst of all us getting the flu (and suffering it’s horrible effects for weeks on end!) Camden decicded to assert his independence.  What???  A rogue 3 year old??  Yep.  That’s just what we needed.  Well, No.  Obviously what we all needed was a little more sleep during that period of sickness and maybe it wouldn’t have happened.  Maybe.  But I think it was bound to happen eventually, so I guess I’m glad it happened and we were able to panic, get upset, get over it and calm down and then discuss it and learn from it.  Maybe?  Lets hope so…

That day I needed to go into the backyard to talk to Jim.  Jim was working on the dozer so I mistakenly thought Cam would be safer if I left him in the house.  I told the girls I was going to the back yard and told them to keep an eye on Cam.  Well, that’s where the problem started…..with me!  Shortly after I walked out the kitchen door, Camden walked out the front door, put on his shoes and took off looking for me.  With 20 mph winds that day I never heard him yell for me.  When I went back in the house less than 5 minutes later, I immediately noticed we were missing a kid.   I asked the girls and Maylin told me that he wanted to come find me.  What??????  You let him out the door alone????  He’s 3!!!  I was furious-with myself as much as them.   Camden is my responsibility and I should have taken him with me instead of expecting him to stay in the house with his sisters.  Just because he had never ventured out alone before didn’t mean that he wouldn’t.  I should have known better!!!

At the time, I couldn’t think though.  I was panicking bigtime!  I ran to the back yard to tell Jim to turn off the dozer and we started yelling for Camden.  We didn’t see him anywhere and with the wind I doubted he could hear us anyway.  As we kept yelling, Minnie (the spoiled cow), started mooing back at us.  Immediately, I knew that Camden was down there somewhere.  Finally, the crazy cow was proving her worth!!!  I took off down the hill but couldn’t see Camden with Minnie or Desi.  Minnie was facing the creek and continuing to moo.  She was mooing at Camden, who had already crossed the creek and was heading toward the hayfield.  He was so far away he couldn’t hear us through the whistling wind!

 This is the view from our house of where Camden was headed.  He was walking toward the tower while looking up at an airplane in the sky!! 

I could barely see Cam but he was looking up in the sky, following an airplane of course!  Jim saw him from the other side of the pasture and took off toward him.  Poor Camden turned around for some reason and saw both of us and the cow coming at him at a dead run.  He froze.  Then went to turn around.  Then froze again.  Poor kid didn’t know what to do.  Jim reached him way before I did.  That’s probably a good thing, because I needed a minute to cry and panic and cry some more before I hugged him and then rang his little neck!

After everyone was calm again and all the tears were dried up, we asked Camden where he was going.  He told us through a mix of words, gestures and sign language that he went outside to find me.  He didn’t see me so he went to see Desi and Minnie because he knew I would be down there.  When he couldn’t find me there he thought I must be checking on the brush piles we had burned the week before.  He told us that he had walked all the way around the horse pasture and then around the cow pasture, then down and across the creek and then saw an airplane that he wanted to follow.  Oh my goodness!  That is a long way for a 3 year old to go by themselves!!  Let me just be completely honest and say that the whole thing scared me senseless!  There are so many things that could’ve happened to our little guy on his journey!  I am so, so very grateful that God protected Cam that day!

I also needed to make sure he never goes on another journey like that again.  He is only 3!!!!  So, we set rules that he isn’t allowed to open a door without asking permission.  And he definitely isn’t allowed outside by himself.  The girls now know that he isn’t to go outside alone again.  Even if I’m already outside, they have to bring him to me.  Poor Maylin was so upset by the whole ordeal that she cried non-stop all afternoon.  She now has a bit of an obsession about where Camden is at all times.  So if you see us somewhere and wonder why Maylin suddenly stops and yells, “Where’s Cam?”.  Well, now you know.  My poor parenting skills that day has produced a child with issues.  It was bound to happen…

Looking back, I think I might have went a little over board getting onto Camden about asking for permission to go outside.  He’s only 3, and at the end of the day all I really want is to keep him safe.  I also want him to have a normal, healthy childhood.  However, since I’m his mom that may not be possible…  Anyway, as much as I want to protect him I think I’ve gone a little too far.  He now asks for permission to go to the bathroom.  He also asks for permission to eat and drink.  He even asked for permission to burp the other day.  Yikes!

 Look at that sweet smile!  Oh!  I just melt when he smiles at me.  He is going to be my little adventurer and he is going to be smiling that sweet smile the whole way.

Just so you don’t think I lost my girls this year too…Here are my sweet girls in the Cinderella play this year.  Maylin was a sprite and Maleah was a villager with speaking lines!!!  Only 2 days after this picture Maylin was hit hard with the flu and our house and my parenting skills fell apart….

Okay, now that I have nominated myself for the worst mother of the year award….let’s move on to the April Fool’s joke.  That should nominate me for the worst farmer of the year award as well.  Whoo-hoo!  Okay, so remember those cute little chicks we bought on Easter Sunday-also April Fool’s Day this year?

Well, those 6 cute little chicks were supposed to be High Production Egg Layers.  Yep, that’s the bin they were in.  Egg Layers.  Not Meat Birds!  Yet, we have at least 2 meat birds!  I am not kidding!  The 2 little fluffy white chicks grew so fast in the first week that I knew something was wrong.  I was hoping the white chicks were Leghorns, but NOOOO.  They aren’t.

Only a week later they were growing much faster than the other birds.  Uh-oh!

 They were beginning to tower over the others and they were all the same age give or take a day or two!  See how much bigger the white chicks are than the others? 

 At 6 weeks these 2 birds weigh about 6-7 pounds!  Actually they are ready for the dinner table already but…

 How do you eat sweet Yellow Dots and Sunshine???  Yes, that is what the girls named them.  It is impossible to eat them at this point, I think.  

About the time they were 2 weeks old, I noticed how much thicker their legs were than the other birds.  Yep, that’s a meat bird for ya.  They have to have thicker legs to hold up their gigantic bodies by the time they are 6-8 weeks old.  Those sweet little fatties are named Sunshine and Yellow Dots (don’t ask about that name!) and they are destined for a freezer, just maybe not ours.  How can I make the girls eat Sunshine???  Ok, to make things easier on myself and the kids, we don’t name things we aren’t going to keep.  If you name it, it’s just too hard!  And we’ve already named these little cuties and snuggled them every day.  Are we attached??  Oh yeah.  This is going to be a problem!

Once I noticed that they were meat birds, I went back to the farm store and noticed that all the other bins were the same.  Except the one we picked from and the one right next to it.  The names had been switched.  The bin now said “Meat Birds”.  What????  Under the name Meat Birds, it listed Cornish Rock X (which is what Sunshine and Yellow Dots now obviously are), Black Jerseys (A gigantic breed of meat chickens that can reach 14-16 pounds in a year),  Red Rangers (another meat bird that is a little slower to mature, but is usually butchered at 14-20 weeks) and Brahmas (another gigantic breed of birds).  I tried to ask why they had switched the bins and the lady looked at me like I had lost my mind.  Yes, I know I’m crazy, now please tell me that you moved the bins for another reason other than playing a NOT so funny April Fool’s Day joke on me!!!  Nope, she didn’t know what I was talking about but I could tell she wanted to laugh at me for getting meat birds instead of egg layers.  Okay, it really is funny until I stop and think about the possibility of having to put all 6 of those birds in our freezer!   That’s not so funny!!  The girls will never forgive me!  Farm life or not, I bought these birds to be their pet and to be egg layers.  NOT to be dinner!!!  I let the kids name these birds because we were NOT going to be eating them.  Oh, this is not going to end well.  Not for me.  And definitely not for the meat birds.   I just pray that at this point Sunshine and Yellow Dots are the only 2 “jokes” out of that group of chicks.  I will say that I will NEVER again buy chicks on April Fool’s Day.  I might not ever buy anything again on April Fool’s Day….

Well, we might not have as many chicks in the coop as we would like in a few weeks, but they still needed a larger coop.  So, we decided that we would give them the kids old playhouse.  We built it up on pallets and attached it to a plywood floor covered in scrap linoleum to protect the plywood and make it easier to clean.  Then we put up some clear material around the windows to still let light in and put some latches on the doors and windows to keep out unwanted predators at night.   It looks cozy enough to me for the summer.

Behold the new home of the chicks!  If they get hungry they can fix themselves a snack in the kitchen!  HA!

 

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email