Thursday, November 2, 2017

Plans Change, Trucks Sigh.

Set the alarm so I would wake early today. I had an appointment for the meat birds I had been raising with a local processor. I know how to butcher a chicken and have done plenty, but when you have over a dozen animals to do (including some downy waterfowl) the small-scale farmstead stops being artisinal and just ill prepared. Butchering birds in any number is so much easier with heated water tanks for scalding off feathers and plucking drums that do what takes half an hour by hand. So for a few dollars a bird I can have it done fast and well and presented in nice packaging for my customers. It's a better deal for my time and money all around. And this morning I had a truckload of birds to deliver for their fate and the packaged birds to deliver via horse later on. Not a bad day of work for a small farm doing its level best to offer good food to her neighbors.

I had borrowed a large chicken cage from Common Sense Farm. They butcher on a larger scale and have the kind of low rectangular poultry crates used for just this reason - to transfer birds safely without being able to pile on top of each other or hurt each other. I called and made arrangements to pick it up last night. I had it ready and all the birds caught, loaded, and set up for transport by 8AM. I used a farm wagon to move them, the ducks, and rando roosters set for the stew pot as well all in the back of my trusty pickup truck to roar down route 22 to their final destination. I loaded up the dogs, grabbed my checkbook, and had my iPod ready to rock and then...

The truck wouldn't start.

It wasn't a surprise. The truck doesn't start when it gets wet outside. So on rainy days you need to run it every few hours so the starting wiring doesn't get moisture inside to cause a disconnection. Or that is what my mechanic told me. We have done 2 or 3 different repairs to try and stop this so far and I thought the last time we nailed it. I guess not. So I tried for an hour to get it to turn over—chickens behind me squawking and ducks quacking and dogs barking—and no luck. I called and cancelled the appointment and made another. I emailed and talked to customers. Everyone took it better than I did. I wanted to cry. I didn't, but I wanted to.

This is a small problem. Later in the morning the rain held off enough that around noon it started right up. I have wheels, all my animals are healthy, and a dry roof over my head but damn if that wasn't an emotional kick in the teeth. I had to unload all those birds and set up their tractors again. While back there I saw how the last windstorm took down some trees. I made a note of them and next time a friend with a chainsaw comes by we'll cut them for some of next year's firewood. A little silver lining in a cloudy morning, for sure.