The Farm Report: More Vegetables, Fewer Chickens, And A Big Boo-Boo

I haven’t posted a farm report in quite some time because I was working like a madman on the film.  But Chareva’s been doing plenty of gardening, and we’re starting to enjoy the results.

Last year, Chareva had visions of walking inside the chicken moats and plucking green beans from overhead.  She made that vision a reality.  This year she didn’t even bother to plant green beans.  And yet we seem to have more of them than last year.  In fact, they’re kind of like last year’s okra and the previous year’s zucchini, meaning the girls are already tired of seeing green beans at every meal.

In the picture below, those are sweet potatoes and cantaloupe on the left.  The center row is where she’s growing tomatoes, basil, peppers, swiss chard and carrots.  On the right, she’s growing squash.  The big leaves over the moat are the green beans.

The tomatoes aren’t ripe yet, but they’re coming along nicely.  I’m looking forward to those.  Nothing like fresh tomatoes in the summer.

Over by the yard that enclosed the older chickens, she’s growing okra, spaghetti squash, asparagus and potatoes.

Speaking of the older chickens … well, there are no more older chickens.  We’ve been wondering what to do with them, since they weren’t exactly egg-laying machines anymore.  They don’t make good roasters at that age, so Chareva was thinking perhaps we’d start turning them into soup stock.

Some wily predator saved us from making a decision.  The older chickens started disappearing one by one a couple of months ago.  Now they’re gone.

I set a trap several times, but only managed to catch two small skunks who probably weren’t the guilty parties.  Chareva looked all around the yard and tried to figure out where a predator was coming in.  We still can’t identify the weak spot.

Fortunately, we haven’t lost any of the younger flock yet.  They’re doing fine and providing plenty of eggs.

Meanwhile, the very young flock that’s part of Alana’s current 4-H project is coming along nicely.  There are a couple of bantam roosters in there who crack me up.  They have that rooster strut, but they’re so small, it’s like being threatened by toddler.

One of the pleasures of living in the sticks is having my own shooting range out back.  There’s a huge hill behind my hanging targets, so I don’t worry about bullets flying a mile into someone else’s property.

The Older Brother’s Middle Son and his family paid us a visit last weekend, along with my mom.  The Middle Son is a Ranger School graduate who served two tours in Iraq and also served as a shooting instructor.  So whenever he suggests we go out and shoot, I’m happy to oblige.  It means free lessons from a pro.

While shooting a 9mm pistol, I made a beginner’s mistake: I let my left hand drift up too high on the grip.  Whoops.  On my next shot, the slide ripped through my left thumb behind the knuckle.  It actually didn’t hurt all that much, and I thought at first it was a scrape.  Then The Middle Son saw the blood and said, “Uncle Tom, I think you might need stitches.”

Luckily for me, The Middle Son’s wife is a nurse practitioner who’s stitched up countless people in emergency rooms.  She looked at the wound and said yes, I would need four stitches.  She offered me a choice: she could stitch me up herself, or I could go to an emergency room.  The catch is that she didn’t have any medical supplies with her, which meant no anesthetic.

Given what a visit to the emergency room would probably cost, I elected to go with the kitchen-table treatment.  She told Chareva to find her thinnest sewing needle and some unwaxed dental floss.  That’s a photo from the procedure below.  I didn’t mind the pain, but as you see, I elected not to watch.  I also asked The Middle Son to hold my arm in case I flinched.

The Middle Son’s Wife also offered to call in a prescription for antibiotics.  I don’t like taking antibiotics, but I remembered what happened when I got a little sting on the arm back in 2012.  As you may recall, my arm ended up looking like this:

Yes, I said, I’ll take the prescription.  So I’m on antibiotics now.  When I’m done with the pills, it will be time to start a course of probiotics to rebuild my gut bacteria.  So it goes.

Fortunately, I’ll also have plenty of fresh vegetables to provide some probiotic fibers.


26 thoughts on “The Farm Report: More Vegetables, Fewer Chickens, And A Big Boo-Boo

  1. Erica

    Never a dull moment on the Naughton farm! Glad you had professional help there. Love Alana’s facial expression in the photo, and I’m happy she was watching the procedure.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I had quite an audience. Glad I managed not to scream when the needle was pulling floss through my skin.

  2. Kathy in OK

    Gun-related injuries shouldn’t be laughing matters, but some of them just are! When trying my first handgun in the store, I had to ask for a band-aid because I ripped open my finger on the slide. I bought the gun.

    As for the antibiotic, you could have waited for signs of infection before starting it. After all, you don’t take an antibiotic every time you cut yourself. But then, I am seriously ANTI-antibiotic.

    Be sure not to wash those fresh home-grown veggies too well.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I considered waiting, but the doc (or nurse practitioner in this case) said whenever skin is torn by metal in an outdoor environment, she’d recommend starting right away. Given what happened with my arm, I decided it was time to play it safe.

  3. Firebird7478

    My mom grew her own tomatoes as well. Plucked them right off the vine, washed away the Ortho (who knew?) sliced it half, sprinkled on some salt and a tablespoon of Hellman’s and she had at it?

    My grandmother? Tiny row home in the Tacony section of Philadelphia with a back yard you could cut with a weed whacker. Fertilized with egg shells and coffee grinds. Salt and mayo. Or a BLT.

  4. Nancy Wilson

    I’m sorry about your thumb!
    (But I’m sure those vegetables & eggs will speed your recovery.) Please give my compliments to your lovely & talented gardener. Your poultry run/garden is a thing of beauty & it looks like a very practical arrangement, too.

    1. Chareva

      Thank you Nancy. It is so very satisfying to dream up a plan, execute it and discover that it does indeed work.

  5. Howard Harkness

    Saw a guy at the range today with crossed thumbs. Luckily, I was able to call that to his attention before he got hurt.

    I also saw a lot of REALLY poor muzzle discipline today… And at least one lady who was violating the rule about keeping the booger-hook off the bang-switch until the sights are pointed at the thing you want to poke a hole in.

    Sigh. Still thinking about whether I want to get a membership at that range. I think I’ll check out a different one this week.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      If there’s lousy muzzle discipline and nobody’s monitoring it, I think I’d look elsewhere too. I constantly remind the girls every gun is loaded and every gun will fire, so never point it in a direction you don’t intend to shoot … except at the ground while carrying it.

  6. S

    So… how much would that visit to emergency have cost?

    It’s insane that you’d have to stitch yourself up in a home-job…

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      The Middle Son’s wife guessed I’d be looking at around $300.

      Not quite what I’d call stitching myself up in a home-made job. She stitches up wounds all the time, so it was free treatment from a pro. The only downside was the lack of anesthetic to completely numb the thumb first. She had me keep ice on it for about 10 minutes before the stitching to at least numb it a bit.

      So I looked at it as enduring a brief bit of pain to save $300 and the wait at an ER.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Perhaps it would, but since we’re almost never sick, we chose a high-deductible policy to keep the premiums down.

          1. Alex

            My wife and I also chose a high deductible to keep the premiums down (about $7k per year for the two of us.) It was great… until she was diagnosed with cancer. Her first chemo/monoclonal antibody treatment was in December 2015, and we hit our deductible. Next one, in the new year, and we hit it again. 20 grand in medical bills racked up in one month. And, after months of horrendous suffering, she still ended up dead. Sigh…

      1. Walter Bushell

        You didn’t take refuge with Mr. Al Cohol? A good painkiller, but unfortunately may make you drunk.

  7. Don in Arkansas

    Slide bites are painful but they are very effective in teach a proper grip. 🙂 With no anesthesia they could have at least given you a bullet to bite on. Your garden looks good.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It was an effective lesson indeed. I’ll never shoot a pistol again without checking my grip.


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