I’m overdue for a fun episode, and the farmish fun around here lately has been better than the movies.

My home office now doubles as an infant ward.  Between keystrokes are the continuous repetitions of chirps, squeaks, crows, whines and howls.

A new small escaped herd of cattle turn up several times a year, the latest of four now grazing in a graceful line completing my pastoral view beyond the bird feeder swinging under the continuous flurry of scarlet or indigo or faun-colored wings.  One pooch snores at my feet, another I watch lounging in the sun on a pile of leaves, the latest, only two weeks old, suckles ferociously at the bottle Handy Hubby holds.

That image alone would have been enough to have me marveling all week at how much brilliance there is in the unexpected.  You simply never know the mothering side of a man until you see him caring for an infant.  Even when that infant is a puppy.  The poor momma is dead, but how lucky are we to have one of her dozen, and how lucky am I to see this charming and endearing unknown side of Handy Hubby’s character.  He has done the majority of the heavy lifting, which in puppy life that means 4-hour feedings and every 2, “manually” stimulating their bodies to expel themselves.  He has the patience and glow of a midwife!

What occupies my “free time” could hardly be further from my life just a few years ago–gardening is new for me, as is rural life, the South, working entirely from home, the dogs, the chickens, and the list goes on.  But what I really want to express how much I like it!  Almost all of it.  Will the novelty appeal ever wear off?  It’s hard to imagine.

I’m not exactly sure how I used to spend my weekends, but I really don’t miss it at all anymore, whatever it was.  Here’s the type of leisure I’m entertained with now:

  • A children’s story: An escaped beagle finds his way to our barn.  We spend several hours of the afternoon researching and calling potential owners. He is young and hungry and stinking up a storm, so I bathe her, feed her, love her up, imagining we will have to adopt her, despite Hubby’s insistence that this is totally impossible. Through several calls the owner is found and expected to swing by after church to fetch her.
  • A Western: Meanwhile a crew comes to round up the four cows who’ve strayed from the herd, without any success whatsoever. They honk and holler and try to lure them away with feed, but manage only to spook two into the road while the other two refuse to budge from the patch of rye grass planted for our chickens. I watch from the kitchen window, cradling our infant pup with one hand and baking pecan muffins with the other. Aaawww.
  • A Crime Story: Handy hubby’s friend and colleague in the neighboring town, the ones who’ve blessed us with wee pup, was forced to defend himself with a gun after a guy pulls a knife on him. Apparently knife dude is already known with the local police for road rage. On practically deserted country roads, what in heaven’s name there is to rage about I have no idea, but it reminds me to start back up on my target practice.
  • A Mystery: A dozen chicks begin poking out of their shells in the incubator we’ve been regulating and rehydrating daily-not always an easy thing without central heating in the house. It’s our first experience hatching our own and we’re thrilled with just a dozen out of two–considering the electricity went out once, the water went dry a couple of times, and due to another user error the heating pad got unplugged very late in the gestation causing a critical temperature drop. Curiously, of the 12 hatched the broody adoptive hen accepted only 3 of them, we’re not sure why. Even more curious-upon examining the un-hatched eggs, they looked of the same age as all the others. So it seems they all made it past the critical errors, yet still only half of them hatched.

You can ponder over such mysteries as these for a long time in the country.

Tori at two weeks, too cute!

Tori at two weeks, too cute!

With Handy Hubby's care, 1 week and 3 pounds later!

With Handy Hubby's care, 1 week and 3 pounds later!

They kinda look like they belong there, don't they?!

They kinda look like they belong there, don't they?!

Incubator eggs, of 2 dozen only 3 left.  Nature's way of saying momma does it best?

Incubator eggs, of 2 dozen only 3 left. Nature's way of saying momma does it best?