Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How "Occupy The Barnyard" Ended Around Here

Lately The Mob has been giving me grief. You remember this batch of chicks that hatched one at a time over the course of almost 3 weeks?

Pretty much they have decided they don't like being oppressed by "the man" and have refused to go into their coop at nite. Every nite its a chase to get them all locked up tight and safe from the yowling coyotes and foxes that we've been hearing. The Mob had decided to stage and protest and set up camp in the lower goat yard. That's right, its the Occupy the Barnyard protest.

The other night, tired from doin' stuff all day I tried to reason with them and shouted, "Hey, you chickens! Get up here, find a roost, and put you butt on it!"

Mocking jeers were their only reply. I marched down there.

After a chase, some swearing, and a whole lotta "Why you, I oughta's" I got most of them into the coop and on a roost. They forgot about their protest once they saw their feed. All but one were safely tucked in and ready for bed. A lone rooster from the lineage of Mr. Noodles, that beautiful blue roo we had a while back, refused to come in for the right.

I stomped back down to their now empty camp in the lower goat yard. There was a chase. About the fourth time around the goat yard I was getting frustrated. The sun was going down and there were others to take care of so I got the dogs.

"You can't do that!" Shouted the lone rooster.

"Do what? Quit being so ridiculous and go to bed! Now." I was getting steamed. Kai and Titan, positioned behind me, were starting to paw around eager to get into the fray.

"This is a non-violent protest and you can't just bring in the brute squad! I speak for the people. I am the 99%!"  The little rooster crowed. He had stopped running and decided to stand his ground. He put his wings around a tree and hugged it.

"For the love of Pete, get up here and go to bed!"

He hugged the tree tighter.

"Titan," I commanded, "Get down there and get me that rooster!" The big dog took off with a mighty bound. Seeing the enormous dog coming for him the little rooster's courage broke and he started to run with Ti right behind him. Normally the chickens will just get scared and run up to the hen house. And Titan knows how to herd them up there.

"Help! Help!" Cried the little rooster.

"Are you being repressed by the violence inherent in the system?" I yelled back, watching the chase.

"That's not funny!" He was just plain mad now. And slowing down as he was getting tired from running in wild circles.

"Sure it is." I said as he made another lap around the big pine tree. Then I made a series of clicking noises to get Ti's attention to signal him to back off from his pursuit. I was pretty sure that little rooster was heading toward the hen house. They never keep this up for too long.

But the little rooster came over and stood at my feet. "Look," he said shaking his fist at me, "we're mad as hell and we aren't gonna take it anymore!  This whole 'barnyard' system is totally unfair. Your greed is ruining everything. We're having a revolution and it starts now."

I folded my arms across my chest and raised an eyebrow, "Is that right?"

"Yes." Said my little protester, "I am a male-bodied chicken and I demand...."

"You're a WHAT?"

"I said I'm a male-bodied chicken..."

I looked at him incredulously. "You are a rooster not a 'male-bodied chicken'. Now go to bed."

All of a sudden he started wiggling his wing feathers at me in a weird way. "What the heck is that, Little Rooster?" I asked totally confused.

"Its our way of saying that I don't agree with you." He carefully explained.

"Get in the hen house." I told him sternly.

"You're not the boss of me! We want a new economy here where everyone is equal and everyone can do whatever they want!" He was starry-eyed imagining the new world order.

"Well you can't just do whatever you want," I whipped out a picture of the great philosopher, Spock, and stuck it in the Little Rooster's face. "Do you see this? Don't you understand the concept that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?  Everyone has their place and everyone works for the good of all not just the one.  You're not just gonna stay out here and be coyote bait. Don't you see its all part of the circle of life and it spins mighty tightly around here?  So fall in line and get in that hen house!"

"This is what a police state looks like! This is what a police state looks like!" He yelled pumping his fist in the air. Then he turned and waggled his bottom at me, then smirked "Kiss it copper! Talk to the tail feathers!" And then he ran off again toward the bottom of the goat yard.

"Kai!" I commanded and the young curly tailed dog sprang to attention. This was it. This was the first time she was asked to be part of the barnyard round up. This was her chance to prove to Titan that she could be a Hard Working Farm Dog and not just a huntress. My Fighting Uruk-hai verily quivered with anticipation as she awaited her assignment.

I nodded in the direction that the Little Rooster ran off and said, "Get me that rooster." And she was off. Ti and I watched as she thundered down the hillside, muscles bunching to hurl her huge body forward, eyes focused like lasers on the rooster, ears pitched forward...she was magnificent. She zigged when he did, zagged when he did, and never broke her line of sight or concentration. And never going for the kill.

"Not bad" I said to Ti who, watching Kai, nodded his approval.

Suddenly the Little Rooster panicked. Instead of heading back up the hill to the hen house he turned and darted thru the fence into the no man's land - Fox Central - the brambles between us and the neighbor's property. He disappeared into the underbrush.

Kai hit the electric fence like a freight train. From our vantage point up on the hill both Titan and I cringed waiting for her screams of pain. But she'd managed to avoid getting zapped by the powerful charge that will leave a burn on your arm and give you a twitch in your eye for two days. Don't ask me how I know this.

Unfortunately Kai was now "out of bounds" which is a hanging offense especially since she was all amped up on her prey drive and heading towards the neighbors goat yard. I shouted the series of commands instructing Kai to "stop what you're doing", "look at me", and "come here right now!"

The big curly tailed huntress pulled up short, turned, and trotted her victory lap up the hillside.

Well. That Little Rooster was on his own. In this barnyard we'll do what's reasonably necessary to bring in the stragglers. But unfortunately for him we don't have a "no rooster left behind" policy. The dogs and I gave one last look for that Little Rooster and then turned to go inside just as it was getting too dark to see.

Early the next morning, well before sunrise I took Zander the pup out for a quick walk. He and I stumbled around in the dark until suddenly we both turned toward the far side of the goat yard. We heard a series of tiny screams and the snickering of a hundred foxes closing in on their prey.  The horror...the horror.

The barnyard was a little sullen that morning during chores. But you can bet your bottom dollar that most of The Mob were already inside with their butts on roosts when I went out for evening chores. All but a few who stood just inside the hen house door shouting their thanks and well wishes. "Thanks for keeping us safe!  Great work securing the borders!" They all applauded and smiled as the big dog and I walked up to close the door.

So ended the Occupy the Barnyard protests in our neck of the woods. Everything seems to have gotten back to normal. The other morning I overheard one of the older hens explaining to a younger hen that, "Look. Around here their are winners and there are losers. You're gonna feed her one way or another so you might as well lay an egg."

I smiled and nodded to myself. And so it goes.


Sonja said...

Good Girl Kai!

becky3086 said...

That was a very nice read. Sorry you lost the little rooster, some of them you just can't save.

Rae said...

Bwahahahaha! Your posts usually make me laugh, but this one had me laughing til I cried. And now I'm thinking I need a Holy Grail fix this weekend. Sorry to hear about the roo, but after all, "you can't expect to wield supreme power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you." :)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Sonja - she did GREAT. We were really proud of her.

Hey Becky - yep, its so frustrating. All I could see was a couple of meals running away from us and right to those foxes.

Ha Rae! One time I walked up to an employee at a garden center and announced in a loud voice, "I'm here for a shrubbery" in my best Knights who say Ni voice. We launched into a quote fest for 1o minutes until we were hanging off each other.

Robin said...

This was a great post! That's one way to end Occupy The Barnyard! I really enjoyed the little video! Maybe "The Italian" and I will be watching that flix this weekend with a couple of adult beverages!

Sorry to hear that you lost a couple of meals :(

drypond said...

Love it!!!!!! you made my day :)

Carolyn said...

Sure to be a classic read on your blog! Still can't wipe the smile off my face. (eff'n roosters.....)

rkbsnana said...

Goodness, what an adventurous life you lead Ohiofarmgirl.

Mr. H. said...

Your illogical approach to chess does have its advantages on occasion, Captain Ohio.

Good job, you gotta keep a tight rein on them when they start to act up in protest or all hell will break loose. Mine are on strike right now, apparently their union contract states that they get the months of November and December off. Off with their heads I say...well, not really.:)

You are too funny, when your book comes out I want a signed copy...don't worry I'll pay for it.:)

Down with repression! Love Monty Python.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

You need to learn how to "lasso" a stubborn chicken :o)
You should also write some books "Barnyard for kids".:o)

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Anon - send me an email for more info if you'd like- I'm ohiofarmG at gmail

Hey Robin! I think The Big Man will also be watching.

Thanks Drypond! Hope you had a great day!

Dang roosters is right, Carolyn - you just cant reason with a rooster and that is for sure.

Nothing but action and adventure here, rkbns!

I prefer to call it inspired, Brother. Ha! Go out and shake a frying pan at them ladies, Mr. H. Does the trick here. ;-)

Hey Ginny! I was just over at your place oohing and aaahing over your new fireplaces! Our grandma had a "chicken catcher" which was a long stick with a hook on the end. The theory was to trip them up. But you know me, I got them dogs. I'll teach Kai to bring them in soon enough. She's a good girl for sure.

Chai Chai said...

Too much Mudder's Milk in the OTB crowd?

1 litre (1 quart) soy milk, plain
360ml (12 oz) stout such as Guinness, or other dark, full bodied beer
64g (1/2 cup) wheat germ
112g (1/2 cup) brewers yeast
180ml (6 oz) grain alcohol or vodka to taste

Mix the soy milk, stout beer, wheat germ and brewers yeast in a 2 litre/quart pitcher, stirring well. Chill before serving. Now, either add the grain alcohol to the whole batch to achieve the 15% alcohol that Jayne mentions or mix the "milk" with vodka to taste. Serve in rustic pottery mugs and get ready to sing "The Hero of Canton"!

Mary Ann said...

I can't tell you how many times I have run in circles around the little henhouse, trying to net a bird who won't.go.in.

David said...

Funny - you have bright future as a homestaeding humorist. Book indeed!

Ann from KY said...

Really like the older hen to the younger hen about feeding her so you might as well lay an egg! Got quite a few laughs here!

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