Multiplying Like Rabbits.

Ok, so I mentioned that this week we found out that I had made a boo-boo last fall. It happens.

We raise Flemish Giant Rabbits. They’re not ordinary rabbits, these are one of the largest rabbit breeds in the world. You can read a bit about one vying for the World Record of longest rabbit here.  Longest Rabbit Contenderarticle-1199340-05AF2660000005DC-525_634x820.jpg

Benny, above, is that contender. Flemish routinely weigh up to or over 20 pounds and are bred for show, pet, meat, and fur, usually in that order. They can be over two and half feet (30 inches) long, and when they stand up on their hind legs, are really impressive. Below is our doe, Big Mama, sitting on T’s lap.

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T and Big Mama

Most of our buns go to 4-H or pet homes. I can’t bring myself to eat one, although we do eat rabbit, just not ours.  The remainder usually go to auction, where again, the show or pet buyers will drive the price up beyond what the meat buyers are willing to pay. Even so, I refuse to offer rabbits for sale in the spring before Easter. This prevents impulsive “pet” home purchasers from showing back up on my doorstep with the “I didn’t know what I was getting into’s.”

They eat. Like furry ravenous Vikings after a ten day sail…it’s astounding how much they eat. So, as a rule, we will winter ONE buck, and several does. Last year, we pared down so we kept one of each. And last week at auction, T picked up another doe.

More info on Flemish Giants Here

So the annual bunny breeding festivities began this week. Rabbits were removed from winter quarters in the barn, and put out in a row of Great Dane sized kennels on the lawn to graze grass and sniff test one another. (rabbits are “forced ovulators”…meaning the does release an egg when stimulated to do so by the presence of a buck.) We put them out 12-24 hours ahead of time for a little “Getting to know you / rabbit speed dating / hormone havoc.” This pumps them up like frat boys and sorority girls at last call and generally prevents any indecision. Then, like the above human creatures, ANYONE looks good at last call.  After breeding, the expecting does get moved to rabbit tractors like the one below, out on grass. This is good for both Mom and my feed bill.

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The rabbit speed dating singles bar.

We take the doe to the buck, then supervise to make sure she’s receptive and breeding takes place, and to insure that no injuries occur if she’s less than willing. You can generally tell that  breeding has been successful by what we call the “DFO” factor. This is a highly scientific (no, not really) thing imparted to us by a very experienced lady breeder of Flemish show quality rabbits. DFO is what happens when the buck has done his job correctly. He will visibly “Done Fell Over”. (Yes, really.) The entire breeding process is like 4 literal seconds, after which papa rabbit will (if he’s been successful) stiffen, sometimes squeak, and then fall over sideways, usually bonking his rabbit noggin in the process. Don’t expect any reaction out of the doe other than eyes cutting  to the side or a “Wait, that’s it? You’re done? Really? I can move on?” attitude. I’m dead serious, this is the rabbit way of things. There are probably a ton of youtube videos available if you’re a nonbeliever.

We normally let this process occur minimum of twice each “meeting” for two days straight. Then you wait. 30 days later, ideally, mama has lined her nest box with fur and popped out 6-12 naked rabbit kits. There are people who can examine a doe during this period and determine if she’s bred. I am not one of those people. So we wait 33 days, and of there are no kits, we try again. Here are pics of one kit from one of our litters. .  6578_652296578130543_641044128_n

So morning, we put Doe #1 in with Papa  , job was completed with minimal protesting on behalf of either participant. Afternoon, Papa was joined by Doe # 2. In the five minutes that followed, there was chasing and squeaking, several bouts of awkward attempts at copulating with the wrong end on behalf of both participants, and then some nippy scratchy wrestling and squalling that induced an emergency breaking up of the combatants by Tony, the rabbit bouncer.  An undignified inspection of the removed “doe’s” nether regions revealed a scratch injury to some very non-girly parts.

Oops. My bad. Rabbit sexing epic fail.

You see, sexing juvenile rabbits is not an easy task. I’ve really not perfected it yet. My batting average is pretty darn good, since this is only my second epic failure. Mostly it involves turning a squirmy, slippery, kicking, sharp clawed, uncooperative rabbit on its back, prodding at the business end of things until what is in peeks out, and there is a SLIGHT difference in the shape and mechanics of the peeking parts. Snap judgements are made, so you don’t get scratched to ribbons by surprisingly strong back feet. Apparently last year, during the annual separation of the remaining rabbits, I spoke too soon.

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Last year’s babies in one of the Rabbit Tractors.

 

Sigh, so we have overwintered an extra buck. I am still getting over being sick and took an out of character afternoon nap in my despondency about only having one doe and one possible spring litter (which won’t even cover the feed bill). While I did that, T posted a for sale ad and sold the spare buck with the now slightly scratched and dented male parts for 25$. In like 5 minutes of posting, because they don’t sell for that price unless you’re pissed enough to price them that low. Considering the roughly 175$ in feed and hay that misidentified beast has likely hoovered up over the winter, I’d call that a loss.

Oh, well…we’re expecting extra chicks this year, which should make up the difference. Sometimes raising livestock is more like forced savings than a profitable venture.

We’re expecting Flemish kits the last week of April.

Grand Mobileness!

Well, this will be my first ever blog post from the road. We have been on the road non stop since this morning with a few brief breaks at home and for fun along the way. And I have the biggest most exciting news! Seriously, and not in my traditional snark-castic  sense of the phrase, I can hardly contain myself.

This morning, we made an appointment to ride about 45 minutes to our sheep farmer friend’s place to pick up another round bale for our hoofed eating machines. Of course, an excuse to visit and see all the beautiful new spring babies was bonus material. Ry got to discover brand new (Like, last night or today brand new) goat triplets napping under a feeder in the barn, and see all of Radar’s (the lamb) half brothers and sisters romping around. It was a big hit, even if there were no new orphans for us to pick up.

A stop on the way home at a park and river along the way to break up the ride, did a little fish activity recon, (and a stop at our favorite pizza place for a late lunch that we’re rarely ever near anymore) and we dropped our pitiful workhorse of a flatbed trailer off at home.

 

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Why, yes, I AM aware of what a sorry excuse for a trailer that is. It’s become a game of sorts to count the stares on our trips, and we bet now on whether or not it will bear the next load. Yes, there is a legal tag on that thing. Welcome to Delaware.  

 

 

In our travels, we stopped to look at a tractor on the roadside for sale. We called the number and spoke to the nice fella.  It was way beyond our budget. Oh, well. Besides, we just had our old Ferguson heap hauled home this week as the gentleman we took it to nearly a year ago to be fixed has been unsuccessful. Or possibly overwhelmed by her loveliness. Or possibly just completely unwilling to tackle the old broad in all her rusty glory, because….well, he could probably earn a master’s degree or circumnavigate the globe in the time it would take to make her act like a tractor again. We have now planned to take it to a tinkering tractor savvy neighbor who’s quite sure he can have her running before spring. Frankly, I don’t have much hope. Here’s the Old Ferg, below,  (brace yourself, now,  for beholding the sight of this lovely lady) who has been the recipient of much impolitely phrased venomously unholy wrath  (and possibly an occasional kick ) from me.  Seeing as how she’s only seen fit to run for a total of less than an hour in the last six years and all, I have minimal guilt about that.

 

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The Ferg-Beast. It’s the politest name I have for her, but not the only one. 

 

I know, she’s a real beaut, right?

Well, then T let the news slip. He’s taken the day off tomorrow so we can road trip again to possibly pick up the Ferg beast’s replacement!!!! Like, one that runs! For really and truly! You turn the key and the toggles and switches and whatchamawhoseits and it starts. You move levers and pedals and shifters and… It does tractor-y things! It moves without the aid of three winches and several draft horses and a couple of teenagers. Things it was actually built for and meant to do – pushing and pulling and tilling and grading and mowing and whacking and posthole digging…Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

My SIX SOLID YEARS of relentless (In no particular order) gentle loving hinting, requesting, begging, pleading, wheedling, whining, cajoling, bribery, blackmail, nagging and witching with a capital B have finally paid off?  Was it that last exorcism style temper fit where I nearly stomped a hole in the floor and growled in a foreign tongue and my head spun around and I scared myself, not to mention any witnesses? (Nope, not really, but I thought about it. A lot. A really, really lot. ) Can this be real? Holy guacamole, I need to go buy a lottery ticket. Or wake up. Something. Please let this not be a joke.

Seriously, love of my life…is this is your twisted notion of a joke, you may not want to go to sleep again. Evvvveeerrrr….don’t do that to me. You may wake up with one eyebrow. Or none. Or worse. I’ve watched Orange is the New Black. I may put things in a sock and beat you.

Please tell me I am not on an episode of Punked.

I’m literally so excited I could scream, maybe I did. I might have even peed a little had I not just taken care of that hovering in the god-awful park port-a-john. Ryan’s doing the happy dance in the back seat.  So, I’m probably not sleeping tonight. I’ll likely be up, showered, coffeed and dressed long before my customary 5 am. Like, now. Now is good. Can we leave now? Be there when they open? Can my perfect attendance since pre-K except for one day 8 year old skip school? Someone may get there before we do. I simply cannot have that.

So, if you’re a praying sort, please keep me in yours, if not, well, then, good vibes, positive thoughts, sage, crystals, whatever your bag is…I’m very un-judge-y. I’ll gladly accept any and all positivity and hopefully tomorrow will see us bring home a functional (new to us) new mechanical ACTUAL honest to goodness farm implement with whatever attached trappings we can negotiate (wheedle) out of the dealer. I have a spare kidney. I really need a bush hog. This could get real.   (Then I can borrow a chainsaw and lumberjack our 2 ton disc out of the two acre wood that has grown around out in the last six years!!)

Ohmygosh, my mind has reeled all day, like a browser with 2,973 tabs open. I confess to you now, in six years, we have literally and callously murdered 5 riding mowers,  a sickle bar mower, 8 push mowers,  a dozen weed whackers and assorted other mechanical cutting , threshing, and tilling machines, including three Roto tillers, all trying to do the work of one tractor. You cannot possibly understand the level of joy and relief this could mean. A Craftsman yard machine is not a bush hog, nor is it designed to willingly navigate muddy hoof churned, equine land mined terrain. They just simply quit. Give up and die. I don’t really blame them. We are merciless and horrible, and ask things of a machine that will drive it off the cliff of mechanical suicide. Goodbye cruel world! I so wish I was kidding.

So we made our final stop, to drop off my only grandson’s birthday gifts, he turned two yesterday…

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He has 5 co grandbabies and two siblings, but they are every single one girls. 🙂 Poor little dude, he’s swimming in the estrogen ocean. His uncle Ryan there is the sole manchild in his circle.

Had to make a fast emergency tenant stop and are just now finally on our way home, where I will try in vain to sleep till tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me! Have a wonderful night all!

Strutting Roosters and Ryans

My little manchild has gotten rather serious about his chickens. First of all, we woke up yesterday morning to this March Madness. There was cursing. Mine. In fairness to me, it was pre-coffee and I am not ever responsible for what comes out of my face before the coffee goes in it. 20160304_073551.jpg

Heavy, wet snow, coming down in great white clumps. It was a teacher inservice day at school anyway, so there was no closing or delay announcement to wait for. Most eight year old boys would immediately want to get out and play in it. Ryan stared out the window and declared “Naaah. I’m actually kind of tired of snow.” He asked me if his new incubator would come today, and I guessed probably not. We’re waiting on a small incubator I ordered for Ry at a ridiculous discount because it’s going to take forever to get here from the bowels of some overseas shipping system. I really don’t want to fire up and tend our huge cabinet style one for just a few eggs, so I ordered Ryan a personal one. It’s a little seven egg number so he can hatch his personal birds, and be solely responsible. (Without risking that he whacks 300 fertile eggs with an “I forgot” because he’s, well, an 8 year old boy.) But it’s shiny and new and digital and has a fancy schmancy automatic egg turner so he’s a little excited.

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Ryan at 3 or 4, checking “The Beast”…our homemade incubator.

So, since we didn’t have to post up in the front window and watch for the mail lady, we suited up and went off to the Southern States in the next town over. We have new birds from the auction, I was out of chicken meds and running low on feed.  Before we left, I sent Tony up to the attic in search of one of the ancient Little Giant styrofoam incubators we retired a couple of years ago, because patience and shipping through customs are not big with small boys. We set it up to test it and off we went.

Ry and I cruised the “chicken section” and lusted after all sorts of things that had my internal “No” recording working overtime, but I relented and sprung for a 14$ egg candler for him. Mostly because I don’t want my child goofing around with the current system of candling eggs here, which involves  drilling a hole in a metal soup can and using the highest wattage kazillion degree bare lightbulb as a redneck engineered projector.

We came home and trudged across the “frozen tundra” to medicate our quarantined auction chickens, feed, and check for eggs. Ryan has big dreams for this season’s egg and peep sales. He’s going to buy a go-kart with a Jeep body and headlights for his four wheeler and maybe a car, you see. 🙂20160304_080810.jpg

So yesterday was a banner day here. Tony left for work with goods from the farm. Certainly not the first time for that. I’ve seen him sell roosters out of the back of the old Subaru station wagon to the built-in ethnic market that comprises a good portion of his employer’s rental tenants.

But yesterday was new in that, for the first time, the “goods” in question were the first ever batch of eggs from Ryan’s personal birds. They were packed carefully and shipped off to a tenant who pre-ordered them.

T came home from work and presented Ryan with $3.50 and an order for two dozen more for Sunday.

 

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We may have created a monster.

 

Ryan and I spent most of the rest of the day indoors yesterday shopping online for hatching eggs. The go kart Jeep has been all but forgotten. He’s focused on his egg empire now.  I think I’m in trouble.

 

 

Friday Funnies – of Men and Maggots

I’ve been thinking of things I wanted to do with our blog here, and I’ve decided that on some Fridays I’m going to dedicate a post to some of our absolutely most hysterical moments over the last few years. It’s not always been an easy ride, we’ve had plenty of highs and lows to be sure. We’ve done our share of the toil and tears, but what keeps us going is the times when things just take such a completely absurd detour that someone begins to laugh, and it’s contagious, and the next thing you know everyone is in total stitches. It’s a learning process, and sometimes not just for us. We have also made a LOT of mistakes…which usually end up in comedic fashion.

So we buy bottle calves. The bull calves that are culled by the dairy farms, sometimes within hours of birth and sent off to auction. This can be a dicey proposition. You really have to dig in and fight them, some simply do not want to live. If we’re lucky enough to see them through the initial rough patch, it can be a really rewarding feeling. We band them, raise them to feeder weight, and usually sell them to a farmstead or family that wants to raise a beef steer. 227723_219693134724225_4411804_n.jpg

We’ve bought anywhere from one to as many as a dozen at a time. If you’re feeding one bawling beefy beast a bottle 4 times a day, it’s just as easy to feed multiple ones. However, they usually come with what’s called “scours”. I don’t know how they came up with that name, other than it’s what you feel you have to do to your clothing and any exposed skin after handling a calf with scours. Scours, if you don’t know…well, do yourself a favor and don’t google it, ok?  230397_219692698057602_4699897_n.jpg

I’ll put it this way. Scours causes everything in every single one of a calf’s four stomachs to be ejected violently, at high speed, and in any one of a dozen colors from a calf’s rear end. As fast as you put in the other end. Messy, smelly and inconvenient in the cold weather months. In the summer, you have the added nightmare of insects.

It’s a simple concept, really. Poop stinks. Calves do not use Charmin. Flies are attracted to stinky things. Like poopy calf rumps. Mother flies apparently are prone to thinking this is a spectacular place for an insect obstetrics unit, and Shazam! Next thing you know…well…you’re in a position like we were a couple of summers ago.

To understand why we might find this amusing, you must first understand that my other half’s Dad is a very particular man. Everything about him is usually immaculate. His sleek burgundy luxury sedan pulls up in the driveway, and out climbs a very well put together gentleman wearing lovely slacks, dress shirts, and beautiful shiny loafers. He is usually singularly focused, moving at a surprisingly good clip in search of his son to discuss whatever’s brought him to the driveway. He’s very gentlemanly and polite to a fault.

This day was no exception…like a senior citizen shaped missile he fast tracked to the barn and made a beeline for us. It’s June. It’s 100 degrees in the shade, we’re standing by the barn door with 50 foot of hose and a brush. Clad in sweaty muck boots and elbow length playtex gloves, with an arsenal of potions and sprays and a wet, reeking, supremely pissed off  holstein bull calf bawling loudly on a lead line.

Since the business end of the operation was pointing out the back barn door, I really don’t think he had any warning what exactly he was walking into. He knows from experience to walk carefully in the barn, I think he was paying such close attention to his travel path maybe he didn’t add it all up. Or focused solely on his objective. He stopped about 5 feet from us.

“Helllloooo! How’s everybody doing today? T, I was thinking about something and I figured I would stop and run it by you.”

“Ok, Dad…well, we’re a little tied up here just at the moment…Can you give me a few minutes?”

So, at this point, we’re dripping sweat by the bucketful, this is like the third calf in an hour, bath time is NOT a hit with our baby bulls at all. They don’t want to be wet, they want milk. You’re at the wrong end. It’s a wrestling match of epic proportions and you’re trying to avoid being coated in liquefied calf crap. And maggots.

As he watched, his nose began to wrinkle a little. He took a step back.

“So, uhhh…what are you doing there, Lisa? Washing them up?”

Eyes down. Boy, this is awkward. I’ve never had someone watch me de-maggotize a calf with severe swamp ass before. Does he not see the river of churning fly babies floating out the door? Tony and I were looking at each other and trying to decide whether to be stupidly uncomfortable, and trying so very hard not to burst into tears or laughter or a ridiculous combination of the two. This is just not a good time. We’re struggling and wrestling and washing and chasing calf rump.

“Yessir…they have been a little sick, needed a bath.”

And then it happened. Politeness took over and he did it. The well dressed gentleman standing a few feet away from the most grotesque scene ever and apparently still oblivious to the reality of the task at hand said “Do you all need some help? Anything I can do?”

It was at this point time stopped. We stopped. Everything stopped. The calf stopped fighting. Even he seemed flabbergasted. And he stopped with the overpopulated tail end toward our would-be helper.

His eyes widened. His nostrils flared a little. His face began to turn a peculiar shade and you could tell the horrific reality of what he’s just volunteered for has now struck him. I looked at Tony. I looked at his Dad’s cream colored slacks and shiny loafers and tried hard to stop the laughter bubbling up.

“Uh, no, Dad…I think we’re good here. I don’t think this is something you want to get into today.”

“Oh, my. Uh…yes, you’re probably right. You know, you all look a little busy. Maybe I’ll stop back later, or call, or something….”

His voice trailed off and he turned around to flee the scene. He called a goodbye over his shoulder and made a hasty retreat. T and I are looking at each other and realizing just how incredibly, horrifically ridiculous we looked, we’re a total hot mess.

I couldn’t help myself. “I love your Dad, but I gotta say, for just a minute, I wanted to hand him a pair of gloves.” I giggled…I couldn’t help it anymore. Tony’s face completely cracked and we both just lost it. We’re filthy and we smell and we look totally absurd and there are rivers of crap and maggots everywhere. And we’re laughing so hard we’re literally crying.

His Dad’s a lot more careful about volunteering now.

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Mother Nature Is Off Her Meds

I don’t know about your particular ‘burg…But in our little part of the East Coast, Mother Nature is a little Bipolar this year.

Just a few days ago, it was 70 stupid degrees. Today the thermometer only broke freezing by a hair. Last weekend I was painting in short sleeves, and they’re telling me this one may see me having to break out the stinking snow boots.

We’ve had a really mild winter this year. The waiting for the bottom to drop out and 4 feet of snow to fall on your head flavor of mild. Christmas Eve there were people out shopping in shorts, for crying out loud. Of course, this is Sussex County, DE, so you’re just as likely to see an idiot doing that in the beginnings of a blizzard. I took this little gem recently. Notice the young man, in his cargo shorts and Jesus sandals with his young lady friend who is in the full Camo coveralls and coat. Because well, it’s snowing and here that means everyone needs bread milk, and toilet paper posthaste. Especially all those who are incapable of driving in the snow. They should commence their incapable driving this instant.

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I’ve started about 600 plants in my house that need to move outside, and I don’t yet have the joyous experience of a greenhouse. I’m thinking seriously about wrapping one of the “hoop coops” that I put together last year in greenhouse plastic to move the plants to, like a mini high tunnel of sorts. There’s a peach tree in a pot living behind my sectional sofa. There are biddies in a rubbermaid tote turned brooder box in my dining room. I am READY for spring, you moody wench! Did you not get the memo?

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Even the horses are protesting. We put them in at night during cold snaps and blanket them, but turn them out during the day, wind and wet permitting, to stave off the stir crazies. There’s usually kicking and bucking and rolling with glee. Not this morning, Jack. Nope, they just shot a “You suck” look over their own backs and plodded away to the more sheltered side of the pasture. If I dropped the electric fence right now, they’d both probably beeline for the barn without benefit of halters or leads.

No lambs at the auction last night…so no friends for Radar. I left with only a handful of hens and a Polish rooster with an incredible chicken afro that makes me giggle. Unfortunately, after getting him home we realized he’s flighty as all get out and has a bit of a sassy streak.  They’re all in the quarantine pen. Meds go in tomorrow.

And my manchild has a long weekend and it’s going to be cold to the nth degree, and he’ll likely be stuck indoors and pouty. So I guess it’s time to find some indoor projects. Besides planting. Every window sill and available shelving unit that can be placed in front of a window is full.  For once, I’m ahead of schedule…go figure! 12794614_1259884367371758_1014108812434318870_n

 

Off to Auction!

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So we are off to the livestock auction, after last week’s poor planning and not realizing it was a new “winter schedule” off week. And it occurred to me, that some folks may have never had the joyous experience of attending one of these lovely functions. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go where they amass huge quantities of various species of manure producing farm animal, pen them up and as if they’re not wigged out enough already, herd them through a ring one at a time or in small groups and auction them to the highest bidding strange human? Good times!

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Seriously, though, I am an auction fan. It’s a very different experience if you’ve never been to one. I take great joy in hauling along out of town friends and family members. They only get a couple pieces of advice. Wear boots and don’t wave. You will step in things that are suspect, and if you wave, you’ve bid, and could end up the proud new owner of a 350 pound hog with an unsavory disposition.

So I thought I will take a few pictures, and use tomorrow’s post to chronicle our local auction experience for those who haven’t yet had the experience of being able to attend one, along with some tips we’ve learned along the way.

Stop back by tomorrow and remember….wear boots. And don’t wave!

I hate a shoe

depositphotos_12436209-Ladies-Shoes-Collage.jpgI have a love-hate relationship with shoes. I mostly hate them. This might be an odd sentiment for someone who spends a great deal of her time wading through excrement of one species or another. And who does it in a place where she must circumnavigate all sorts of abandoned rusty metal things and sharp things, and dodge the heavy hooves of various critters. However, if the weather is warm, you can most often find me barefoot or as close to it as I can possibly be. Barefoot or flip-flops. At least six months out of the year. More, weather permitting.

On my “I’ve been reading too much decluttering propaganda” purge of late, I discovered I own 27 pairs of shoes. TWENTY flipping SEVEN. That’s 54 shoes. I feel like this is ridiculous and excessive. I  resolve to pare down my shoe hoard. To be fair, 5 of those pairs are flip flops or sandals, 2 are muck boots, 2 are work boots, 3 of them are tennis shoes, (1 set of steel toe) and two are Crocs. (Yes, I know that crocs are ugly, but they require no bending or tying, will slog through wet grass and not complain and have once defended my tootsies from a rat snake with a ‘tude whose tail I foolishly trod on, so they stay.)  There are 5 pairs of other assorted boots.  The remaining 8 pair are girly, frou-frou, mostly heeled (ranging from sensible church height to whattheblazeswereyouthinking 5 inchers).

Who the heck needs 27 pairs of shoes? Especially a person who is chastised on such a regular basis by her entire family for “improper footwear”?  Well, the person who should have a podiatry specialist on call 24/7/365. Yep, that’s me. If I ever willingly went to a doctor type critter, anyway.   Understand the chastising usually comes into play during, after or occasionally before the latest foot tragedy.

Over the past ten years, of the most notable “foot tragedies”, some have been fairly serious. I have had a foot run over by a VW Thing and broken. I have flipped a paving stone with such force that it came down perfectly on my heel and laid my heel open like a spatchcocked turkey. I have flipped a soaking wet kazillion pound pressboard table I was rolling to a dumpster over at just the perfect trajectory that it relieved me entirely of the nail on my big toe. Violently and immediately. Not in the smash it, nail turns black and eventually falls off at its leisure sort of removal, the instant and extraordinarily painful variety.  I have twice burned all the skin off the top of a foot. (Once was waitressing related coffee pot drama, the other was pan frying while in nowhere near a sober enough condition to be within a mile of boiling oil.)

Couple of years ago, we came home from night fishing and while unloading the truck, I tripped over a piece of heavy gauge wire (like drycleaner coat-hanger gauge) some idiot (I’m likely the idiot) had dropped in the driveway. At least I thought I tripped. Somehow, I managed to trip / step / lurch onto it at the perfect angle that the wire went through the bottom of my flip flop, completely through my big toe, (neatly missing the bone) from the bottom and came poking out the top. This was followed my much drama and screeching. (none of which was mine, I was oddly calm at the time) My sweetie and his daughter were both beside themselves plotting ER visits and possible ambulances, all while I was repeating…

“Tony, just pull.it.out.”

“Oh My God, Ok, let me get the wire cutters, pliers, flashlight, holy crap, OhmyGod, Do you see now, this is why I told you stop wearing these ridiculous things! Improper footwear!! Take the shoe off!”

“Babe, STOP. I can’t take the shoe off. It’s pinned to my foot. Not the time for a lecture. Use the hands you have right there, grab the thing and just pull.it.out. Yep, right there, no, not slowly…Yank the stupid wire.”

“I can’t do this. This is crazy. You need a doctor, a surgeon, something.”

This is a man who can gut a deer blindfolded and eats organ meat for breakfast, for crying out loud. There is not even any blood yet. But it’s starting to smart more than a little now.

“Listen. TO. ME! Just grab the wire. At the bottom where it went in. Deep breaths all around. Now pullitoutPullitOUTPULLITOUT!”

This is the one I’m reminded of most frequently. There was peroxide pouring and bandaging, and hobbling about for a while, but no doctor visit. Thank the Lord for up to date Tetanus shots.

I put all the shoes but one pair of ridiculous “hooker height” heels I haven’t worn since 1999 back in the closet. Feet are kind of important. Maybe I should actually wear the real shoes more often.