A year ago, I would not have been able to relate to the above sentiment whatsoever. Heck, three months ago I wouldn't have been able to relate to the above sentiment whatsoever.
That above sentiment is a very large part of my every day survival and existence.
Let me attempt to explain the importance of these rubber boots that I wear with a word picture.
Our chickens (approximately 150 of them at this point in time) run in Chicken Tractors. (We have an additional 100 that are still in the brooder.) Each morning we move the chicken tractor. This gives the chickens fresh grass. Not only is this good for the chickens, but it is good for our farm as they are helping with the healing and fertilization of our pastures. These chickens rotate paddocks behind the sheep and pig's fencing. In this way, they are breaking up the fertilization left behind by previous animals. It's a fantastic system, and one I am totally beginning to understand.
It is also a much cleaner system then "normal" chickens experience. Normal chickens are in a chicken house for the entire eight weeks of their life. I cannot imagine the smell and muck that must be left behind when chickens are in the same area for eight weeks.
I especially cannot imagine it because after days of rain, you should have seen the mess that our chickens were in after just 24 hours in one spot.
We are developing a one-person-chicken-tractor-moving-system. But for now, it takes two people to move these big boxes. Lately, that has been Dan and me. Dan and I have a good system down. He takes the backside and drags the tractor. I have a dolly that I push forward while he pulls.
This means that Dan has the clean side. He is moving the chickens onto new grass. I, however, have to push and walk over the remnants of the previous day.
This is the only way it can be done because Dan's side needs much more brute strength than I am capable of generating.
Normally this is not a problem. We rotate our chickens so often that their home is very clean. However, with the rains, there was, no joke, at least two inches of just icky, gooey, mud/poop that I had to walk on in order to keep the wheels under my side of the tractor.
It was so thick, I could not get my footing very well at all. I was very concerned I would fall and end up on my rump in two inches of chicken droppings. Dan was giving me a hard time and telling me, basically, to suck it up.
At least until he had to join me on my side when my dolly slid off. He put that thing back in place, and scrunched up his nose.
"Well, Wendi, I think you are right. This is really, very, gross."
Of course it is!
I had many moments of thanking the Lord for the invention of rubber boots that kept my feet totally protected from everything circling around them.
A small item that just six months ago wasn't even in my vocabulary. I had never owned a pair.
Now I live in them.
I also am so thankful that we are raising our own food and raising it in the right way. We already have people lined up to buy our chickens when we begin processing them in just a few weeks. These chickens are eating good, organic feed. They are getting fresh grass every morning. Just a mile down the road, there is a farm that is raising chickens the old fashioned way. I cannot even fathom the mess and smell that results from this. Yes, the chicken will be a little cheaper. But at what cost?
Later in the day, I helped my husband move the ducks and geese into new paddocks. This involves a delicate mix of ballet and defensive basketball moves to get them to go in the direction you want them to go.
"Can you believe I am doing this?" I asked my husband.
He just laughed.
"JB, you seriously should have seen me this morning. Two inches deep in muck."
"I love it."
"Love you doing this."
"So you don't find me unattractive in rubber boots?"
Another laugh and a shake of his head. "Not at all," he said. "Rubber boots suit you just fine."
And the thing is, even though I am constantly thinking, "Oh man, if my girlfriends could see me now," and even though there are many days I break down and think, "Is this really my life? Can I do this? How will I do this?" ...
I honestly cannot imagine not wearing rubber boots every day.
My friends keep saying things to me like, "I cannot believe you are doing this. There is no way I could do this."
And here I am doing this!
And trust me, I am the last person you'd imagine would do this.
My friend Shea emailed me the other day after reading my blog about losing one of our ewes. She told me that she would never allow her kitchen to turn into a butcher's shop. She also reminded me of the four eighteen-year-olds that started at Western Kentucky University together in 1995.
Shea was from rural Kentucky -- population next to nothing. Kristi had graduated in a class of 8 and lived on a 25,000 acre guest ranch in New Mexico. And the final freshman was Heather -- whose farmer was a dairy farmer in Alabama.
And then there was me. South Florida. Never been on a farm other than one owned by my mom's aunt in Illinois. Never lived anywhere but the city.
I was as far from rural as you could get.
I live in rubber boots.
God's got a crazy sense of humor.
And it makes me cry and laugh and blow a spout of air up into the sky on a regular basis.