It’s morning at Shady Acres.
I rolled over and glimpsed the clock and saw that it was reading 6:28 already. I should have been up almost an hour. But Certain Man had spent long hours in the chicken house last night trying to fix something that didn’t really appear to be broke. It honestly felt like someone among the higher ups was trying to find fault somehow. I mean, here is this guy who consistently finishes high in the settlements, has a beautiful flock of chickens almost ready for market, is running water through his medicator at the usual rate, and they think he has some waters that aren’t working?
“Some sections aren’t getting water at all,” the big wig said while he solicitously touched my arm and looked concerned. (Well, actually, maybe “Big Wig” isn’t the proper terminology here. He had his head shaved, shining in the afternoon sunlight while he stood on my back stoop.)
I was very surprised. Chicken growers know that if the chickens aren’t getting water, they are not going to prosper. Ours are doing fine. I was at an advantage here, though I didn’t know it, because I hadn’t heard anything of the conversation that had been going on all afternoon between Certain Man and his Flock Supervisor. The fellow on my doorstep was the supervisor’s supervisor, and sensing that I knew nothing about what was going on, was forced to reiterate his theories concerning our chicken house.
“I understand you have all new nipples in that house,” he said. (DON’T HAVE A HERNIUM! That is what those types of drinkers are called!) “But there is some sort of black slimy deposit on them that isn’t letting the water get through on whole sections of the house.”
I will spare you all the things he said because it doesn’t make sense to people who aren’t chicken growers, except to say that I was genuinely concerned and puzzled about what and how, and asked a great deal of questions which he answered with great touching to my elbow and shoulder and assurances that they wanted to help and blah, blah, blah.
(Do I look like the kind of woman that wants strange men compassionately touching me over chicken waterers???? Please. Spare me!)
But anyhow, I eventually retrieved the business card from the guy and assured him that I would discuss it with my husband, and got shed of him.
However, when I called Certain Man to tell him of the visit, he was upset. Not over the compassion of the guy, but the ludicrous assumptions that were made about his chicken house. “I don’t understand, Hon,” he said vehemently. “There is nothing wrong with our chickens. And there can’t be “whole sections” out of water, or the chickens wouldn’t be doing so well.. It just feels like someone is trying to pick a bone about something.”
So the powers that be determined that it would be good for Certain Man to obtain large quantities of Ammonia, and that he needed to flush that through the lines, let it sit for two hours, then re-flush until the water was clear and see if that did the trick. It was a big job. Dollar Tree sells ammonia by the gallon, (for a dollar a gallon, no less!) so that was a nice break. I picked up four gallons there after buying three gallons in the two quart containers at Food Lion, and Certain Man set to work.
I had picked up our neighbor boy from Boys and Girls Club and on the way home he looked at me plaintively and said, “Miss Mary Ann, when we get home, can you make me grilled cheese sandwiches?”
“Cheese sandwiches???” I ask him, smiling over my shoulder to where he sat on the seat behind me in the mini-van. “You want two?”
“Yes, please,” he says quietly. It’s the only thing I can get him to eat. He refuses to eat almost every single thing I make, but I found out a few weeks ago that he LOVES toasted cheese sandwiches, and he has been going through my supply of homemade bread like a house afire.
“Well, Romy,” I say now. “I think you can have two cheese sandwiches, but I am getting a little low on bread.” Then thinking to myself, I said, “Maybe I should just make some tonight.” And when I realized that Certain Man was going to be busy in the chicken house most of the evening, it seemed like it was a perfect opportunity. I made Romy his two sandwiches, made Nettie a tomato sandwich and fed Cecilia her favorite supper of peanut butter and jelly. Then I mixed up a batch of bread, and tried to keep myself occupied. Oldest Daughter came down for a little with Love Bug and as she was leaving, we went out to try to find Certain Man so he could get his “grandbaby fix” but he was not readily available, so we came back to the house. Romy went home, Christina and Charis went home, and I got the ladies to bed, and then it was full speed ahead to finish last things. The bread was cool enough around midnight to cut, so I got that cut and into the bags, ready for the freezer. Ten loaves. Our supply for the next little while. Then I tackled my (very!) messy kitchen. I kept thinking that Certain Man would come in any time, but finally, around one o’clock, when the kitchen was all in order, I went out, got on the trusty golf cart and went searching. I found him sitting on an overturned bucket at the feed bin end of the chicken house. By the time I got to him, he was up, collecting all his buckets and ready to quit for the night. He washed out his buckets, put them away, turned off lights in his shop and then we were finally actually finished with the first phase of the chicken water treatment.
It was almost two in the morning before we finally got to bed. And the day just started too early.
Somehow the clean kitchen was an encouragement to me, and the bread in the freezer gave me reassurance that I wouldn’t need to bake for a while. And when the sisters and the Sweet Mama decided it was a good day to go to Dover shopping, guess who went, too? Even though it was hard to put one foot in front of the other for part of the day, it was a wonderful time.
It’s all a matter of focusing on the blessings, isn’t it?
And so this long day passed. Weariness is no stranger to me or Certain Man, and so we need to persevere, just waiting for the time when there will be no more partings, no more sicknes, no pain or death — or weariness.
Even so, Lord Jesus, COME.