as much as we say we need to expect the unexpected, i got caught blindsided again. its hard to deal with the unexpected with 3 little ones. this morning i ventured out into the frozen tundra early enough so that i could get it all done before farmer hub left for work in the big big city and save the layers and layers of clothes to pile on 3 kids. I was greeted by a few chickens...smiling at me... from outside their pen. I quickly saw a large hole ripped thru the chicken wire side. a few more chickens roamed freely. a few others stayed in the pen by choice. we set up the baby gates and a piece of plywood and loaded the birds in there. in counting, one was missing. and sure enough we noticed a trail of feathers all the way to the woods. what's funny is yesterday morning i thought something looked funny and did a head count. sure enough a buff colored rock was missing. i figured she must have died in the summer and i just didn't remember. had a serious case of baby brain for a few months in there. anyway, now i'm wondering if the critter didn't manage to get her on a previous night without doing major damage to the pen then came back for more and really ripped it up. a neighbor said he saw a big grey fox roaming around. we haven't seen coons work this hard for food before so my assumption is it was a fox.
so, all that meant i still needed to do chores, this time with farmer hub running late and the kids rather unsupervised inside. bundled 'em up, complete with gloves this time, and out we went. the littlest hated it. ended up trying to repair the pen with him in a mobi wrap... very difficult. finally got it apart, figured my parts list and loaded the car for the not-quite-so-big city. 5 stops later we're home with 3 sleeping but hungry kids. got them fed and tucked in for naps and ran back out desperate to finish as my normal to-do list was still beckoning. then discovered that the home depot helper that had spotted my 1" PVC elbows gave me threaded ones and I never noticed. ug! so i did all i could with what i had, woke up the boys, reloaded them and drove a mile down the street to my friend's handy hardware store. the 1" elbow box was empty. i could have cried. she announced she had some in the back so i stood guard at the front of the store, keeping an eye on the kids whom i hadn't unloaded from the car given that it was CLEARLY visable from inside the store and someone was always there to watch. well, in walks mr. do-gooder who rips me up one side and down the other saying that the police will come and lock me up and take my kids away for leaving them in the car. he repeatedly told me that he worked for the court system and that they'd definitely be locking me up. quite frankly, if i'm the worst criminal that they're coming after with such vengence, then please, lock me up because it means they've turned a blind eye and its far safer in jail. anyway, my friend had mercy on me and ushered me out the door and away from the continuous stream of wrath with my two elbows without paying. i drive away with 2 kids screaming that they wanted to see little hardware boy (the owner's grandson who totters about the place most days). we get home, i dole out the snacks, wipe cold, runny noses, put the shoes and jackets and gloves back on, feed the baby and try again to finish the pen. this time it went rather smoothly (aside from the little hands wanting to help glue the PVC together), but it was also almost 4pm. i finished and tossed the chickens from their cramped little makeshift pen back into their real abode and set about trying to prepare for the subfreezing temps again tonight.
for detail sake, i replaced the chicken wire with hardware cloth as i figured that will go farther in keeping out the wiley little critters than chicken wire. the other 2 pens are already done up in hardware cloth.
and my pet frog survived the night. he's now living in my utility sink. i run warm water on him every so often. ran a load of laundry in the drier tonight to boost the temp inside the garage a bit. prbly won't last long against 26 on the other side of that thin garage door, but its something.
and now i still have laundry to fold, dishes to do, diapers to deal with, a floor to wash, bathrooms to clean... and i'm so mentally exhausted i could fall asleep standing up with my eyes open.
but the boy is sufficiently nursed now and almost sleeping in my arms. its a pleasent feeling after all that.
just wish i could linger here a little bit longer...