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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.


Marriage and the Marks of Farm Life

By Bryan Welch 


Tags: farm life, goats, chickens, cows, geese, fertilizer, marriage,

Goat KidsThe chickens are pooping all over the front porch again, and my wife is a very special woman.

Almost every week, at some point or another, Carolyn says how happy she is to live at Rancho Cappuccino, surrounded by the wildlife and the livestock, steeping in nature’s own exotic brew of life, death, struggle and ecstasy.

Sounds great, you may say, but the chickens are pooping all over the porch. The geese are pooping all over the lawn. The manure in the sheep pen is two feet deep right now and  the pasture where the cattle are grazing, well, it’s a cow pasture. Talk about your exotic brews.

The cow is a virtuosic defecator. They poop more, larger, wetter, deeper, noisier and more often than anyone else on the farm.

But all God’s children leave their mark.

The chickens leave theirs on the front porch.

My wife’s friends are revolted. Who can blame them?

But my wife is a very special woman.

We’ve tried solutions to the chicken problem. We tried fake snakes. The chickens ignored them, then killed a real snake and left it there, next to the fake snakes on the porch, to express their disdain I guess. This really happened. No kidding.

Then we created a barrier of silk flowers in little buckets. The chickens steer clear. Guests have to step over them.

Of course the chickens still do their business all over the sidewalk and the drive way and the lawn.

I’m acutely conscious that there are very few roommates who would put up with this, and almost all of them are men. If you think I’m being a sexist,  you have an invitation to come help me clean the sheep pen. Then we can talk about my prejudices.

I figure if Carolyn decided to divorce me, I could either move to town or be single for life. I try to think of some other attractive woman who would be willing to join me at the Rancho. I can’t. Even some of the best sports I know can’t hide the little grimaces that say, “How can they live like this? How can she live like this?”

So here’s to Carolyn, with all my gratitude. I’ll make sure I take my boots off every time I come inside. Promise. Unless I forget.

 

bryan
9/5/2009 6:09:11 AM

Dave and Tony, I married her very young before my eccentricities settled in. Best of luck.


michelle c._1
9/1/2009 8:50:39 PM

Love your name (it is the same as my son)!! Thank you for sharing your sweet story. You and your wife have the kind of life I would love to live. Mother Earth news needs a dating site! Do you know how hard it is to find a man that wants to farm?? They are only interested until I tell them I want a small, working farm. Guess honesty isn't the best policy.


cabby
9/1/2009 9:48:32 AM

Never had chickens in the house, but I did have a nubian doe who spent a lot of time on the back porch and would sneak in if the door were left ajar. At least vinyl tile cleans up easy. My favorite critter story was when I was going to school. I was helping to care for a blind fellow; I drove him around and kept up the house. I came into his living room one day and there was a pygmy goat lying on the couch watching the TV. So I ask "hey, when did you get a goat?" and his response was "what goat?" Apparently the little fellow had gotten out of his pen across the street, and neighborhood dogs had chased him onto the front porch of my friend's place. My friend heard thumping on the front door and dogs barking, so he opens the door and yells at the dogs, which run off. At that point we figure the cornered goat snuck in and apparently parked on the couch. Didn't even make a mess.


maxine lesline
9/1/2009 8:48:07 AM

Most restaurants, offices, etc use paper towels and napkins... I bring them home, mop floors, scrub toilet bowls, window sills, wash storm doors.. and when I had a garden they would end up being composted.


holly jones_4
8/31/2009 8:34:12 PM

I wrote (and deleted) some very rude things about the husband who left Pam for 3 months over chick poop. She deserves better. Let 'em out again, Pam! I raised chicks in the guest bathtub (in a box, that is), and my dear husband did his part when I asked him to help. He brags on them; they provide our breakfast 5 days a week and entertainment every day. They moved out of the bathtub...


susan_61
8/31/2009 5:11:48 PM

Hey Tony--I live in WNC! And I love my chickens although so far they haven't pooped on the porch


pam smyth
8/31/2009 2:25:17 PM

I would love to have found a man willing to tolerate that! the last time I had a few day old chicks in the house in a brooder (it was about 30 outside) and some got loose my husband moved out...for 3 months. I have been warned that if any poop of any kind makes its way to the house again he will be gone. I would think I was in heaven if the man in my life even took a minute to enjoy watching the new baby goats cavort, or feel an egg warm from the chicken. But it is all me. as a nurse I agree with Dena, there are way worse things than poop!


dave hay
8/31/2009 1:43:10 PM

I had hoped perhaps that your wife might indicate how you managed to snag someone of her calibur, and especially how the rest of us could find, realize that we had, and then maybe actually keep someone like her around. Or at least how you think you did it.


shreesh ponkshe
8/31/2009 12:20:11 PM

I am an urban chicken keeper and can really identify with this article ... every minute detail except the fake snake :) Its just that my wife now has a zillion brownie points.


bryan hudson
8/31/2009 11:40:56 AM

I too, have an understanding and most wonderful wife, who puts up with far more than anyone but me thinks she ought too. After moving to Panama 3 years ago, we have just secured our "final resting place" ( a samll farm in the western highlands) and knowing what to expect from the chickens and other animals is valuable information. Thanks for all the online information and articles. They are vital to us, since mail service is non-exsistant here. An international fan.


cathy_37
8/31/2009 10:51:36 AM

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who lives with chicken poop on the walkway. At least you didn't have some "well-meaning" person decide to call the child welfare department because of it. When they sent a worker to check on my "unsanitary conditions" I asked her if she had ever lived on a farm. She said "no". I guess after a good explaination about some of the finer points of farm life she decided that it was OK. Or, at least not as bad as it was made out to be... And life goes on... (Good thing she didn't look in the pig pen...!)


tony deckard
8/31/2009 9:55:41 AM

Yes, Bryan, you are a lucky man. I've been looking for a woman like that for many years. Few and far between. Know where I can meet some? Around Western North Carolina?


alan jones_1
8/31/2009 9:28:07 AM

Once again, my chickens got out and ate all the blackberries and the lower raspberries. Once the berries come, I have to keep them in chicken jail ( the run) until harvest is over. Two years running they got out and ate everything. I'd better get it right next year, or I'll be out in the coop too!


jackie_21
7/24/2009 3:20:27 PM

I am SO glad to know other people willingly live with chickens pooping on the front porch! I thought I was developing some sort of "Hee Haw Syndrome" by putting up with chicken manure on the front steps. I keep a broom on the front porch that is only used to sweep the poop off into the yard, and watch my step going and coming. Call me at BR549! ha ha ha


melina_1
7/24/2009 9:34:10 AM

I find that hosing down the walk, porch and even the yard goes a long way. I also like to host the rooster when he wont shut up! I have a life sized rubber coyote in my yard to scare the bobcats and ...er...other coyotes...or raccoons...and I have a coyote pee powder holder under it and another at the perimeter...and i haven't seen the bobcat again...but the chickens and ducks are NOT scared of it. I still startle every time I see it because it is totally lifelike (it even has a fake fur tail!) but they never gave it a look. They dont perch on it, however, so maybe thats their tip o' the beak to the concept of predators...or they are really just incredibly stupid! The best gift you can get for your wife is a really nice, easy hose setup that doesnt involve mucking around under the porch to turn it on...one of those nifty spiral jobs in a nice holder with a on off valve that is right there....then, everyone in the house should spray down the walk and porch every time there is bird poo there. believe me, it goes a long way towards family harmony and having a non-poo area for the family! Melina rooster ranch www.meetup.com/chickens1


marian
7/23/2009 1:01:50 PM

Humans: " ...if we put fake snakes out maybe the chickens won't poop here anymore" Chickens: " ...so this is where they keep their inventory!" or Chickens: " silly humans this is what a real snake looks like" My chickens were fascinated by the 5' grass striper that would curl up on my husbands garage stoop. They never went after it but one day the snake went missing. Hmmm. I did periodically see them running with smaller snakes in their beaks though. And the poop, just think of all the recycled bugs that are in that stuff! Compromise compromise. Right? I did!


liz odom
7/16/2009 8:32:43 PM

Yeah for Carolyn for being will to go with the flow and take the mess that just comes naturally with Mother Nature! I have to tell you, Bryan, the part about the chickens and the dead snake...that made me laugh out loud and call my husband over to the computer to share with him. I can just see them winking at each other and saying, "That'll show 'em...fake snake indeed." Liz


mary_75
6/30/2009 10:24:12 AM

It could be worse, Bryan. You could be trying to clean up Wall St. and the whole economic mess. Makes a little (okay, a lot!) chicken poop seem almost tame in comparison. At least that mess is good for something!


dena_1
6/25/2009 7:32:32 PM

You know, Brian, you're either cleaning up animal poop or if you have children, you're changing diapers. Everyone poops. There is even a children's book by that name. It's one of the little things. I don't think it's yucky, but I'm a nurse, so I swim in poop everyday. There are worse things. At least the friends still come visit. Film their interesting sidesteps and post it on You Tube. Those precious creatures that your wife is holding in the picture are worth every poop. Especially since all I can see is the wonderful yarn that can be spun from their fleece later on!!!