On negatives being positive

Uh oh:  chicken tractor and lawn furniture scattered hither and yon

My husband continuously says I am a glass-half-empty person.  He says it often enough that it makes me suspicious:  does he want me to believe this?  Tomayto tomahto I say.  Frankly, I think we could all use a dose of half-emptyness, at least some of the time.  If it does nothing else it lets you accept that Stuff Happens, and it prepares you for it, for sometimes Stuff will happen to You.

Stuff Happens, so pick up the pieces and move on.  We had a hellacious windstorm on Thursday night, preceded by a hailstorm of long length.  The hail was kind of cool to watch, and thankfully wasn’t so bad as to shed greenhouse plastic and/or leafy plants.  But that windstorm!  Wow.  Friday morning was a bit of a blur:  tree-sized branches everywhere, and the chicken tractor thrice tumbled, meat birds scattered.

Lucky Lucy, wondering where her siblings might be.  Every year our daughter commutes the sentence of one female meat bird.

So yeah, lots of damage.  We lost two chickens (gone with the wind?).  This  morning fortunately was the appointment with the butcher, so I gathered the remaining 25 Freedom Ranger birds and drove them over, avoiding fallen limbs and debris along the way.  And then, well, then I carried on.

Old greenhouse, 4 Oct 11:  Left photo shows the lone tomatoes in the front and on back wall, with green tomatoes ripening on a screen; right shows rosemary, sage, and artichoke in the foreground and the zany fig tree at the right.  All empty-looking beds have been planted with winter-hardy lettuces and greens (mizuna, arugula, kales, chickories).

Control what you can:  I cleaned the summer crops out of the old greenhouse on Saturday.  I was too depressed to do outdoor garden work, so instead I prepared the old greenhouse for winter.

But it’s still summer in the new greenhouse  where it’s tomato city, with peppers…but seedling beds are full too.  Those are some late sweet potatoes on the screen, dried beans on the chair at the right.  Lots of work to be done here too, toward the end of the month.

The next cleanup project:  re-erecting the trellis.  Those are my hops on the ground.

So indeed:  bit by bit, pick up the pieces.  I suppose I should be thankful this storm occurred toward the end of the growing season…it would’ve been more discouraging earlier in the summer.  As it is now, well…things had begun to be harvested, picked, prepared for winter before this storm.  The trellises and broken-up beds aren’t “needed” except maybe by my aesthetic sense of wholeness.  Which is motivation enough, actually, to get me moving.  Half full indeed!

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11 responses to “On negatives being positive

  1. I am a glass half empty guy myself, trying to look at things with a bit more positive spin. Just yesterday my son’s dog got off his collar, dug under the chicken coop and killed all the chickens. It was really upsetting at first, but now trying to look at is as positives since I can improve on our coop design and get ready for next year.

    Good luck with the clean up.

  2. I’m probably more of a half empty- but it depends on the situation really. And my pessimism works for me- I won’t be as disappointed when something goes wrong and I am pleasantly surprised when things go well.

    We had our chicks- maybe 12 wks at the time- in a 4×8 wire cage with a tarp over it and a board on one side to shelter from sideways rain….one night the wind started howling and my husband heard flapping. We looked outside and the cage was rolled twice over against the goat’s fence. So we went out in the driving wind and rain, thunder lightening and all that. When I got out I saw the board on the ground- and I thought for sure I was going to lift it to a bunch of dead chicks. But those birds where lucky- it landed on their feeder and they were all fine. It took us a good 30 min to locate all the birds and deposit them in the coop with the big birds but all 25 survived. So far I have been pleasantly surprised a couple times this year in regard to my garden and weather….this year’s weather has been interesting to say the least.

  3. The chicken tractor is half way across the yard, two of 27 chickens are missing. The beautiful greenhouse and it’s gorgeous contents is still intact. Your glass looks over three quarters full from where I’m standing.

  4. Yikes! That was a big wind here too–I had a wee bit of trepidation at times for the newborn hoop, but it came through fine.

    You guys, though, had the addition of being on the leeward side of the lake! (Even on our little lake that can make a big difference.) Glad you didn’t lose more birds, but bummer on the trellises. I’d say glass half-full that at least it was the time of year when cleanup was coming anyway.

  5. I think you’re handling all this with lovely equanimity and who cares about semantics anyway?

    It seems we’re all learning that we’d better be prepared for one of Ma Nature’s tantrums, but sometimes there’s just nothing to be done but clean up after.

  6. This is completely off topic but I wanted to ask you if you’ve ever dealt with bumblefoot? I have a chicken with it and tried to correct it until I started to pass out. My husband says to let it go, I tried and if it gets bad enough we will cull her. They arent pets, which is true, but I feel like I have failed in not being able to complete the surgery. What are your feelings on dealing with health issues, how far do you take it? I wont visit the vet for this and pay more than the whole flock cost to fix it, but still im unsure as how to feel about it. I tend to them when they get sick and try my best but I am trying to feel like a farmer about it more than pet store. If that makes sense at all!

  7. Be thankful, it can always be worse. The areal picture linked below is from the EF-4 tornado that went through here last April, the same cell that hit Tuscaloosa AL earlier in the day. 6 broiler houses each with a capacity of over 25,000; you get the idea what a mess we had in that part of the county.

  8. That’s a drag, but if it makes you feel luckier there’s a farmer north of here who lost all his topsoil to a raging river. He farms bedrock now. My garden had a tree land in it, but I did get all my winter lettuces and greens planted and I’ll be hooping them soon. I know how it feels to have your agro-architecture pummeled, but you’ll bounce back.

  9. Hey, wait. Didn’t it used to be green around here?

  10. I’m sorry about your calamity, but as always, it isn’t stopping you. And you know I’m cheering for the two, right? 🙂

  11. Cesar, yikes! I hope your retrenching does deter the pooch. That said, almost all critters think chicken is just so tasty, especially when they parade around so temptingly behind a fence. Dog was just doing what some dogs do. That said, I would be pretty angry at the dog.

    Sarah, yeah, that was definitely my point; setting my expectations low means I am more often than not pleased when things go right, right? Lucky chickies.

    Pam, indeed, more than three-quarters full if you ask me…things are always fairly wonderful in those plastic bubbles, as you know…but indeed it does help just to change what you can, move on from what you can’t.

    Sara, yeah, glad your hoop came through too! I am really looking forward to your charting its winter progress.

    Bev I agree. There’s a certain complacency that seems simply to be the default human condition, part and parcel of our programmed narcissism. There’s a lot of “why me?” when stuff does happen (like the subject of this post) and yeah we should wake up that things are gonna, and are already, happening, Mother Nature and otherwise.

    Niki, that’s an interesting question and probably worth a post all on its own. Frankly I haven’t experienced bumblefoot and actually had to look it up! We have had our share of health issues sweep through the flock and I tend to fix what I can (wholistically, as in, if someone’s got the runs or the sniffles, you’re all going to get dosed with yogurt and kefir in your grains) and just let happen what happens. I have lost one girl to cancer and one to a prolonged respiratory thing that I couldn’t fix. Everyone else is freakishly healthy, knock wood. But I would try to fix the bumblefoot. I do, however, have a cast-iron stomach for such things as blood and gore.

    Wow, Cohutt. Yeah mainly I was saying my problems were pretty minor. What sometimes any of us can’t quite get away from is that these problems are ours, and we’re greedy about them, in the poor-me way. Just get busy and try again! But those poor dead battery hens. Sigh, I hope their end was fairly quick.

    Peter, I read your Chronogram piece; that must have been hard to write, and even harder to research. I have friends in VT who got hit pretty awfully too and it does make you think of the old saw “god willing and the crick don’t rise” “don’t count your chickens,” etcetc. It’s a risky venture, dealing with the outdoors for a living. Of course all this uncertainty makes me want to erect a third greenhouse, to hell with the elements. And: I was feeling gold, like the season.

    Pamela, me too, poor chicks. I will have you know Lucy’s name’s been changed to Freed-a. She is a delightful bird.

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