Mother Nature flexed her muscle

Unless you are living under a rock, you know that most of farm country is in a drought. I live in western Kansas. I know it doesn’t rain here often, but not even enough rain to make the weeds grow? That’s tough. And this is the second year for us. Some of our friends in the eastern Corn Belt had flooding last year and are now experiencing drought. Sometimes its just makes you think Mother Nature is mean. Or has a weird sense of humor at the very least.

So flash back a couple of weeks. We had not had any rain for weeks. My family and I were headed out of the driveway one evening. As we looked to our west, clouds were gathering. But we know Mother Nature and her weird sense of humor so we assumed she was just toying with us. How convinced were we? We left sacks of feed in the back of the pickup parked in the driveway. (I realize this is only funny to farm-folk who have ever tried to race the rain home from the coop with a half-ton of feed in the back of the pickup.)

A few hours later, we headed home and the closer we got to our little part of the world, the easier it was to see that it had indeed rained. And not just a little. We pulled into the driveway and I remember seeing a Nesquik yellow container stuck in the mud. Funny, I thought. We only use those as scoops for the chicken feed. When we turned the bend our headlights shone on this.


Not good. This, you see, is our chicken shed. Picked up, dropped and smashed into a gazillion pieces. Also slammed up against our old Yukon. Lucky that Yukon was there, we decided later, or the chicken shed might just of slammed up into our house and caused much more damage. And don’t worry, luckily the chickens had been moved out this shed so all it held were a lot of chicken pens, some feed and a lot of garden paraphernalia.

And in the daylight we found this.


And this.


And this.


But you know what? The joke is on Mother Nature. Even though we had to have this kind of damage to get an inch of rain, the things were just things. And in comparison to the kind of damage I know she can do (and here), it was just a little storm. My family and my home are still here and that’s what is important.


Calgon, take the chickens away


Pre-fair week. I can’t tell you how many things we’ve had on our list this week. Here are just a few:

  1. Order photos.
  2. Mount photos.
  3. Finish painting welding project.
  4. Clip pigs.
  5. Wash chickens.

Here’s probably where you go – Huh? Wash chickens? Yes, that’s what I said. We wash the chickens. No, they don’t like it. You know when you see those YouTube videos of cats and how much they like getting bathed? It’s like that. Only with feathers. And a lot of clucking.

If you’re not from the country – or maybe even if you are – you probably don’t realize there is more to getting chickens ready for the fair than whacking them in cage. But as with any beauty pageant, it’s the details that make a big difference.

Getting their nails done? Check. (Clipping their toenails to keep them from getting too long.)


Making their smile brighter. Check. (We trim their beaks, too.)


Making sure their skin feathers glow? Check. (We dip the chickens in a series of “baths” that wash and then rinse their feathers.)


Topping it off with jewelry? Check. (Leg bands help identify the chickens.)


See – it’s just like backstage at Miss America. Here’s where you imagine how pretty they look when they are clean, dry and fluffy – mainly because I’m an idiot and don’t have a picture of that. I’m sure it has something to do with fair week. Cross your fingers we make it.