On death and…poop

There’s a lot of life, too, including new life.

Thursday was a gray morning with me stepping into my boots, trying to keep my second cup of coffee from spilling, when the phone started ringing.  It was our next-door neighbor, asking, nicely, if I could come over, which, being neighborly, I said sure, of course.  Coffee down, hastily-kicked-off boots back on, I was over there in a flash.

Life on the farm has put me in contact with two expected but not necessarily always welcome things:  Poop and death.

Poop is mostly welcome, though I admit there is that maddening period of time wherein the snow has retreated yet the hose remains frozen:  poop, courtesy of free ranging chickens and turkeys, is everywhere on the walk and the deck.   (The hose has remained unfrozen for a couple of weeks now, yay!)  I am an inveterate harvester of poop and bedding, and goodness poop is what makes a farm productive so…as long as it stays out of the house, poop’s not a bad thing in its ubiquity.

Death, though, is also everywhere.  I found it ironic that this morning my neighbor happened to call when I had already killed or found dead five things (three trapped mice, one cabbage butterfly and one egg-stealing raccoon) and they were asking me to help with a sixth:  their fourteen-year-old Golden retriever had died in the night.  Their 120-pound dog.  Yes.  Who’re you gonna call but the feedsack-slinging, haybale-hauling, ditch-digging, raccoon-shooting neighbor, heck, SHE can lift old Annie into the trunk.

And I did.  Then I went back, got my now-cold cuppa, and had a sit in the old greenhouse, musing about my lot.  There’s turkey poop on my boots, I notice, and that first greenhouse bed needs more compost.  More poop, more death, to bring more life.

Sometimes, you feel small.


13 responses to “On death and…poop

  1. Funny you should say sometimes you feel small. It’s because you are small. It’s the times you feel big that you treasure.

    You remind me that I have two twenty-five pound sacks of wheat that still need to be removed from the car….

  2. So can my husband call you when I shuffle off this mortal coil? I don’t weigh that much!

    You are a love.

  3. After feeling small most of the day this was very nice to read. Thank you.

    On a funnier note, I appreciate the poop as well, just now when it’s on the step outside our front door.

  4. This is so bittersweet and absolutely perfect. What a little slice of life. You managed to say so much, so much, in such a few words. Really lovely.

  5. beautifully written as ever El…I always find time to read your posts and I always manage to remind myself how much “I really like this gal”…your old pal in Vt. still has patches of snow around but she begins to believe the corner has been turned!

  6. Beautiful.

    And isn’t the hose awesome? Everything is so much easier when you can use the hose.

  7. Sweet peeps. Its good to be ‘that’ neighbor, I think, though hard sometimes.

    And you manage to keep poop out of the house?

  8. Bless you for helping them.

    My observation:
    Most of us who are interested in self sufficiency end up being the “Go-To” person within and expanded circle of friends, family and neighbors.

    ring ring There is a GIANT possum on my back porch and he’s hissing at me ,help!

    ring ring There is a hole under one of bushes will THOUSANDS of little wasps in it, what should we do!

    ring ring The cat brought a wounded RAT onto the porch, what do we do, help!

    ring ring I saw a snake at the end of my driveway when I came home just now, I think it was a (enter poisonous snake of your choice). OMG What do I do?
    ring ring OMG (sobbing) a cat has been ht by a car next door and it looks like Marie, I just can’t check it (sob) can you help me please?

    ring ring Could I possibly maybe have a clip or two of fresh Rosemary for the pork roast I’m preparing? I hope I’m not being too forward in asking.

    These are calls by neighbors in recent memory; all of them were answered “of course, I’ll be right over, let me put my boots back on.”

    I’m not complaining; It is just what people like us do. 😉

  9. This makes me think of some neighbours who disposed of one of their dead horses by burying it under a manure pile. Apparently, it did the trick and a year later they spread him in the garden.

  10. You’re a good girl for helping.
    I wonder what your chickies were discussing.

  11. Bless you for helping the neighbor. They will never forget the kindness.

    We had that once; our elderly neighbor’s elderly dog died next door (at a different neighbor’s house). He came over on his lawn tractor and asked us if we could retrieve his beloved dog and bring her home and bury her for him, as he was too infirm to do so (hence the lawn tractor).

    It’s good to be able to help.

  12. “There’s always some killin’
    You got to do around the farm”

    Tom Waits

    They could have at least made you fresh coffee.

  13. Paula, actually (and maybe it’s just me) it’s the times I feel BIG that worry me so. Maybe I just like to avoid hubris. But, I hope you got that flour out of the car…

    Sure, CC, I’ll schlep to CA to schlep your skinny self. And yeah, you just do, and hope people don’t feel bad that they had to ask.

    Oh, Erin, indeed. Even if I tell myself “that back-deck poop is small” it’s still…embarrassing if the delivery guy slips in it. Oops.

    Thank you, Tasha. 🙂

    Be gone, snow! Hope your spring springs mightily on your hillside, Randi.

    Diana, omg, hose, omg. I mean I do appreciate that my shoulders are strong after a winter’s worth of water-bearing (what, 8 gallons a day for the critters?), but really, hoses ROCK.

    Cohutt, my point is just like yours: goodness, I hope they feel that they can ask!! Where would we be without each other? Especially if that person has a bit of knowledge (poisonous snakes et.al.). I figure, what comes around, goes around. Right?

    Sara, well, I like to think it’s out of the house. No-outdoor-shoes-indoors is a good rule. So are washable rugs in the mudroom.

    Bev, frankly, that’s where I would love to stick myself once I am done. The laws for land-burial in Michigan, alas, are a bit trickier.

    Pamela, they were speaking all kinds of conspiracy I am sure. It’s a fun thing when your kid is fluent in chicken.

    Indeed, Jules. I mean, it’s tough, and big dogs are…big!

    Peter, hah. Waits and the Replacements, interestingly, have been on the playlist recently. But I won’t drink their coffee.

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