Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reality Check

The night before last something happened to one of our hens, and we have no idea what. Maybe an animal attack, maybe not. When I went down to feed them yesterday morning, I noticed a huge gaping gash on the front of her neck, and promptly took her out of the coop and into the house. With no running water, we flushed her wounds with saline solution and antibiotic spray. Since yesterday she has been isolated in a dog crate, under a heat lamp in our mudroom.
The injured bird seizured to death about 20 minutes ago as I looked on helplessly.
I had just cooked her up a scrambled egg which she was busy scarfing down, still warm, when she went.
My suspicion is that whatever caused her injury, crushed her esophagus/throat, causing her to choke to death while eating. Very sad. She was one of my good, young, small, black star layers. Just 8 months young.
Rest in Peace, our good girl.
This post is a reminder to all that think of life up here in Jack Creek as purely warm fires, bluebird ski days, and endless giggles.
It isn't so.
Our winters are long and harsh, our roads are icy, and the nearest store is half an hour of dangerous driving away.
The last two nights we have had temperatures well below negative 20, and frozen water pipes.
It's one thing to deal with two people living in a home with no water, but it's quite another to deal with two people, two large dogs, four goats (many more in womb), and 11....errr.....10 chickens.
Our water lines run below ground between a pump house, at the bottom of our driveway, and our basement.
A few months ago the pump house froze in the night, when a breaker tripped, turning off its' tiny pump house heaters. This time, we don't even know where the freeze was...nor how deep our water lines run.
Having moved here only nine months ago, we don't quite know all of the in's and out's of our own home yet, which can be scary during a Montana winter.
When things go wrong in Jack Creek, there isn't a friendly neighbor to turn to or a nearby repairman to stop by on the hour. It is a small town, miles away from us, with not alot of options to rely on. We have to try to fix things ourselves as best we can.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
But, alas, the water has returned, the sun is shining, and ten chickens, two dogs, four goats, and two people are well for now.
And that is all we can ask for on a Wednesday in February in Jack Creek.


  1. Really good writing, great story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. you two are fucking tough as nails

  3. I am sorry about your little hen... It's one of the unfortunate realities of owning animals, isn't it? Stay warm and safe!

  4. So glad that you've got water back. Sad for the loss of the little hen, but you'll have more. Stay warm!

  5. ruth, very true. somehow this made me feel stronger about our first kidding season this april. life is an amazing thing.

  6. awww so sorry about your little chicken. Was that the one you hung on the trail video camera? Or were you kidding about that...
    And one other question - did you have heat while your pipes were frozen? -- Sue

  7. yes ed used it for his trail camera last night, no action yet. it's a good thing to make a good situation out of a bad one. keeps things real.
    We heat our home 100% with a wood stove, so heat, nor power for that matter is affected when pipes freeze.

  8. No water is the 2nd worse behind no heat. Luckily no burst pipes.

    (knock on wood)

    btw I am pretty sure bigfoot is real

  9. sorry bout the chicken brother, but as always, love reading about your adventure.