When Everything Goes Awry – Down on the Sub(Urban) Farm

It’s May. I don’t know how. It should still be February, and I can’t tell you how much I wish that I would wake up in the morning and these last two months have been a nightmare.

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know most of what’s been going on. I barely touched the surface in my previous blog post, and sadly it doesn’t really get better.

The good news: we have replaced the washing machine. Lowe’s had a really good sale on washing machines at the same time that ours died, and with a little help from my mom, we were able to get a good one that should last us for several years. We have, on the other hand, completely drained the emergency fund, but at least we’ll be able to start rebuilding it right away since we were able to pay for the washing machine in full.

Bear’s foot has healed (again), and so far he has not re-sprained another foot again.

And… well, that’s really ALL the good news.

We had to say farewell to Ginger today. After treating the bacterial infection, and then coccidiosis, there was no improvement. A vet visit this morning confirmed a suspicion I’d had growing in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now – Ginger had cancer. It was an aggressive tumor that was crowding her digestive system out (which explained why her appetite was declining, and she only wanted soft foods when she did eat, and why she was only having diarrhea instead of solid stools). The vet suspected it was also latched onto her spinal cord. So even if she’d been a good candidate for surgery to remove it, it’s unlikely it could have been removed.

The vet said she might live for a couple more weeks, and since she was still ‘chickening’, we could bring her home and let her go on her own eventually, or we could go ahead and euthanize her. What ultimately made my decision, though, was the fact that despite my bathing her frequently to clean up the diarrhea, we had a bout of flystrike on Wednesday.

If you’re at all squeamish, don’t Google it. And I hope that none of you ever have to pick maggots out of your animal’s living flesh, ever. It’s disgusting and horrifying, and definitely one of the most awful things I’ve ever had to deal with.

I knew there was no way I would be able to let her be outside for her last couple of weeks alive. She was going to be miserable and depressed as she slowly faded away in Chicken ICU in the office, and I was going to be stressed beyond belief, so it was time for her to pass on. Especially since it was only a matter of time.

RIP, Ginger.



In addition to all of that… we had MORE chicken adventures.

Wednesday, someone (likely) dumped two pit bulls in our area. We have a few ‘regular’ dogs that make the rounds here, and I’d never seen these two before.

Well… Wednesday morning, a little before 6 am, I woke up because I realized that the barking I was hearing in my dream was actually happening, and coming from my backyard.

The dog was still in his crate.

And I looked outside to see a dog that was most definitely not ours, and it was most definitely harassing my chickens in their enclosure. We’d left their coop door open the night before, but they were locked in the run.

What followed was two days of frustration and lack of sleep.

The dogs returned about 5 am on Thursday, as well, and that was when we began making serious plans that they either had to be gone by bedtime, or we were probably going to have to take extreme measures. Fortunately, an acquaintance from the Urban Farming Guild of Tulsa on Facebook (nothing official, just a bunch of people who pool their knowledge, which is awesome) was able to bring her boyfriend and between the three of us (Well, really, they did most/all of the work. I just showed them where the dogs were.) we were able to get the dogs on leashes, and off to the pound they went!

I’m really, really glad we didn’t have to shoot the dogs. We would have, if necessary (and the right of people to kill domestic animals in defense of their own livestock/pets/children/lives is protected by state law here in Oklahoma), but this was a much better resolution for all concerned. The dogs were not aggressive toward people, just bored and hungry, and they deserve to have loving families if possible.

The entire encounter also turned into a chance for people to be educated about pit bulls, and between me and some friends, I think we respectfully gave some facts that pit bulls are not a dangerous breed, but any stray/strange dog is not to be trusted, regardless of breed, until they’ve earned that trust. Hm, just like people…

If you want to see pictures of just how close a call it could have been with the chickens, those are available here. The album should be public, so let me know if you have problems viewing it for some reason.

And, in closing, an announcement…

I am exhausted. Both physically, mentally, and emotionally, after the ‘adventures’ of the past two months.

In addition to that, May is a very busy month already. There are graduations to attend, trips to take, and birthdays to plan – because I’m turning 30 on the 30th.

In light of that… the blog will be going on semi-hiatus until probably mid-June, possibly July. I’m not going to disappear completely, but there will probably only be a few posts until then.

I just need a break, and I need to recharge my batteries. Especially my creative ones. Stress takes up a lot of brain juice.

So, have a wonderful month, dear readers! I’ll check in every now and then, and I hope all goes well for you in May!


Recent Comments

  • jazzfeathers
    May 2, 2015 - 5:26 am · Reply

    Well, those were quite a couple of months.
    I’m sorry to hear about Ginger. It must have been awfull. But I’m happy about th epositive solution with the dog 🙂

    Now do you best to rest and go through May. You can do it 🙂

  • Maria Zannini
    May 5, 2015 - 6:22 am · Reply

    Your weeks sounds a little like mine except with goats and house woes (from the other house). Some days I wish I could run away to a tropical island, but I’d only worry about the dogs, the farm animals and my gardens. LOL. There’s no escape for me.

    Sorry about Ginger. I know how hard you tried to help her.

    Take care and rest. We’ll see you when we see you.

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About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.