Morning in the life

It’s just after noon as I type this. This is the first time I’ve sat down all morning since getting up at 5:30.

I’ve changed clothes three times, mopped the kitchen and the floor of Mike’s office twice, washed the dog twice, and am washing my second load of towels. I am kind of ready to go back to bed, but it’s time to get started working now lol

Don’t mind me – I look like I just got dragged backwards through a wet hedge – but look at the size of that damned hornworm. Ugh.

Chickens have to be tended at dawn every day, period, no matter what. And then if you are doing some kind of organic farming or gardening, and especially if you live somewhere like just off the bayou in southernmost Alabama/Mississippi, this is also your best time to make the rounds of whatever you’re growing and tend to anything that needs tending. If you wait until later in the day, even for cooler weather right around dusk, it will still be hot as hell, approximately 1000% humidity, and thick with mosquitoes who think your Deep Woods Off makes a nice condiment. Not that the mosquitoes aren’t already out just after dawn, because they are, but later in the day, they’ll be impossible.

Well, it’s been raining nearly every day for over a week now, and I don’t like to garden in the pouring rain, but tomato hornworms and leaf hoppers and army worms don’t mind snacking on everything in a rainstorm, so you can lose the race *fast.* And sure enough, the sticky nightshade I relocated to be near one of my tomato patches to act as a trap crop was showing signs of a significant hornworm depredation. These things can strip a plant of leaves overnight. So impending storm or no impending storm, I had to find that hornworm.

Well, I didn’t find it before it started pouring rain. Fortunately I found it before lightning had hit nearby too many times, but I was cussing there towards the end of that hunt.

As soon as the storm let up, like within 15 minutes, because I had only just gotten into dry clothes and found some food, Roo alerted me that something was going on outside. She was running from the back yard into the house, to the front door, and then when I didn’t open the front door, back to the back yard, rinse and repeat, whining the whole time. I can’t see things further away than a few feet because I desperately need to go to an eye doctor. The tenant who lives in our cabin IDed the disturbance as a fox, a rather large one.

In a moment of supreme and undercaffeinated stupidity, I let Roo out the front to chase it. And she did – she took off like a bolt of lightning after it through the woods, moving surprisingly fast for a dog her size. Still, she wasn’t gonna catch the damn fox. So after less than five minutes, we called her to come back, which she doesn’t always do right away if she’s chasing something really exciting, but to her credit, she did.

What she caught instead of the fox included a few pretty deep mud puddles and probably some old barbed wire from a decrepit old fence (which is why I shouldn’t have let her out). So she came back soaking wet, dripping a combo of mud and blood, and we couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from.

Have I mentioned she doesn’t like baths?

Chickens are getting pretty tired of this.

Finally got her cleaned up enough to identify that she’d nicked the edge of her ear and had a little gouge in her thigh, not vet-worthy, I was thinking. I try to get her quiet and calm so the bleeding will stop. Meanwhile, Mike is packing up his tools to go to a job site — and while I’ll do in a pinch when he’s not around, Mike is Roo’s person, her north star, her beloved. Once she realizes he’s leaving, she’s back out in the (very muddy, very swampy) yard to watch him, which she will continue to do until the car is no longer in sight. The vantage point for this in the yard happens to be the point of lowest elevation in the yard, so she’s basically sitting in a puddle for all of this.

Washed her off, got her *back* inside, mopped the floors again, and noticed she’s limping now, which she wasn’t doing at first. Cue inspection of foot pads, toenails, legs, etc. Probably that little gouge in her thigh is worse than it looks and her whole leg hurts now. Vet’s not open at this point anyway – just have to keep an eye on her and keep her as calm as I can.

Then it was time to head back outside to look for any storm damage and do things with the plants *other* than look for the damned hornworm.

I’ve been busy as hell for over 6 hours and I haven’t even started “working” yet. First order of business: caffeine. We have some yaupon out here, and I’ve been making tea out of it and drinking that instead of coffee. It’s pretty good. Just don’t think about the Latin name – it’s a complete misnomer.

quick update: photos, ads, hawks, packaging

After two days of trying, I only just now have been able to get my new phone to talk to my computer so I can do anything with photos. (Next I have to manage taking some photos that aren’t blurry.)

But I *have* managed to get random ads turned off on this blog. So now both Big Lucky Hoodoo and the Seraphin Station blog are slightly less annoying than they once were šŸ™‚

Been fighting with hawks for the better part of two weeks now, rushing outside hollering at the top of my lungs at every sign of any disturbance and festooning the yard with all manner of things that glint, gleam, flap in the breeze, provide some swoop-proof cover for chickens, etc. Roo’s been a big help, and she flushed a hawk out of the overgrown firebreak just to the north of our house last week. I hadn’t even seen him. But we lost Gretel, one of our home-hatched girls who’s been with us for years now, earlier this week. Really tired of dead chickens these last few months šŸ˜¦

I have finally been able to buy some of my raw materials for spiritual oils in sufficient bulk to reduce the cost-per-bottle just a tad, which I’ve been working towards for quite a while now. Rather than lowering the retail price of the oils or throwing a party or anything just yet, though, I’m going to use the savings to invest in improved labeling that should still be attached to the bottle and legible even if you spill some oil down the side. So I’ll be gradually phasing that in on condition oil packaging over the next few weeks as I hunt for The Perfect Labels from The Perfect Supplier.

(It’s exciting, this rootworker-on-the-internet life, I tell ya! I have no idea what folks picture when they think of doing this for a living, but I’m willing to bet reality is a lot more boring and involves a lot more paperwork and comparison shopping šŸ™‚ )

Slobbery kisses after hawk chasing

(deep breath)

I am in the middle of two consultations that I should have delivered last night, along with posting a custom listing, finally getting the incredibly patient E. her light setting report, and making a big dent in the emails.

Since 8 p.m., I have had three hours of sleep, one unexpected visitor who stayed a while, one rooster with a bloody foot who is very human-averse and hard to catch and who I’ve so far only managed to hit with Blu-Kote from a distance, four (yes, 4) separate hawk sightings necessitating installation of new hawk deterrent measures over three acres, and a hen who is still acting weird on day 3 and who might be egg bound, which means she has to go to the vet *today.* (The condition is fatal if untreated, and this is Hi Top, the ISA Brown whose face greets you when you see a mailing list signup form. She’s not just any old hen.)

Hi Top as a teenager with her sisters Freddie and Starbuck in the background and some random chicken butt I can’t confidently identify from this angle

I’m freaking out a little. Both our vehicles are out of commission and we have access to a borrowed one, but it means only one of us can knock out errands and neither of us can go finish this painting job that the customer wanted finished last week. And my back is still pretty twingey.

And then two adults here need to vote today somewhere in all of this, and meanwhile murder hornets, civil unrest, and mutant crawfish in Europe who can reproduce by essentially cloning themselves. If this were a screenplay, nobody would buy it because it’s too unbelievable.

Meanwhile, I have a case of the ass about some shitty feedback on Etsy for shipping time from buyers who didn’t read the shop policies and/or didn’t think giving me a chance to respond should happen before shitty feedback. Now that kind of thing is going to happen when you do this – I should know, I used to sell on eBay – but my anxiety brain doesn’t care and wants me to go into “sky is falling” mode.

And the housemate we had to evict who turned nasty on us is heading over here right now to get the last of her things.

So a couple of things:

One, if you have a moment and grok how a chicken can be important to somebody, Hi Top could use some prayers.

Two, I pretty much reserve coupons/specials for mailing list subscribers only, but I’m making an exception today. If you’ve purchased from me this year and have NOT been AN ASS and left negative feedback about delivery times recently, esp. considering we’ve had THREE hurricanes and a death in the family in 6 weeks, I’m thanking you with a discount on your next purchase. If you haven’t made a purchase before, you’re welcome to use the code, too — as long as you read the TOS/shipping info and aren’t AN ASS about delivery times šŸ™‚ Coupon code is NOTANASS and it’s good at the Etsy shop and at the main shop through 11/30.

Three, I’m also going to give away at least one email reading/consultation this month. I’ll post details in a separate blog post. Staying busy and helping people is one of the best cures for panic and self-pity that I’ve found, so that’s gonna be my MO. That and breathing.