The trip up to the Ozarks was mercifully uneventful. Bud’s U.I.L. Orchestra contests were on Thursday and Friday. I went to hear the orchestras on both days, which left less time to get things done. There were last minute things to do, such as getting supplies we would need while we were up there. I made Plantain Muffins, and fudged with them to make them like “Morning Glory Muffins” (raisins, grated apple, grated carrots and coconut). It was my second try at this, and they came out pretty good this time.
Bud was exhausted-mentally, physically and emotionally. The days leading up to contest are always stressful for him. His groups did well! We didn’t end up getting to bed until around midnight the night before we left for the trip. I set the alarm for 3:00 a.m. We left without coffee, shower or breakfast. We were on the road by 4:00 a.m.
We got some coffee at McD’s on the way out. It took a while for Simba to settle in and stop howling. The chickens went right back to sleep.
Eventually, the sun broke on the horizon through a small hole in the clouds, but it was a brilliant display of peaches, oranges and pinks, the sun’s rays shooting a beam to the earth. It was going to be a cloudy day. It stayed hazy the whole way there, with temps in the 50/60 range.
It took a while before Bud and I felt human enough to talk. That was after another stop for coffee and a biscuit an hour or two after being on the road.
We had no problems with the tarp this time. Last time, we lost several things out of the back and the tarp was ripped to shreds on one end. Bud had put some wood on the end with more hooks to secure the tarp, and it worked GREAT.
The chickens were pretty good on the way up. Mabel, Helen and Beatrice laid eggs in their cages during the trip. Helen is usually the ‘caretaker’ of that bunch, and usually lays on any eggs that are laid to make sure they are safe. Midway through the trip, I cut a head of lettuce I had brought with us into fourths and put two pieces in each cage, along with some scratch. I’m so glad I thought of the lettuce last trip.
They’ve had a particularly harsh winter in the Ozarks this year, with quite a few snow days. As we neared Newton County, we could see increasing signs of leftover snow piled up in parking lots, on the hillsides and on the sides of the road.
The dirt/gravel road leading to our place was muddy, slick, and steep in some places. We’ve been warned by the people that live in our barrio that we will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle there during certain seasons. In spite of the muddy roads, we did okay, and arrived at our house at about 2:30 p.m. That left plenty of daylight to unload things more leisurely.
We were relieved to see that most everything at the house looked as we had left it when we drove up. Though we have neighbors looking out for us, it’s hard not to worry about the place while we are gone. We had left some boards leaning against the wall on the back porch, and they had apparently blown over and smashed the porch light.
When I walked inside the house, the musty air tickled my nose. I don’t know if we’ll ever get rid of that smell, however, for now, it’s the smell of ‘home’ and I was glad to cross the threshold into it.
First, I got food and water for Simba and let him out of his carrier. He had to circle the house to get his bearings, then he used the litter box. It took a while before he was ready to eat or drink.
Next, I took the hens out one by one and gave them some Nutri-Drench by dropper. It’s a product that many chicken owners give to chicks when they receive them in the mail. It helps them recoup after stressful situations or illnesses. It has a molasses base, and is packed with nutrients to give them a boost. I truly believe it has saved the lives of several of my chickens when they’ve been sick, especially when they won’t eat anything. I highly recommend it. This time, it was a precaution after a long, stressful trip.
Since the hens have been to this place several times, and know where their hen house is, I let each one down by their food and water which was right outside of their hen house. They all went into the hen house that night like they had done it all of their lives.
I’ve mentioned before, that the ‘hen house’ is a shed we converted for the time-being until we can build another one. The existing hen house is rotten and dilapidated. We have secured the converted shed with wire hardware cloth on the floor, patched any holes with hardware cloth, however, the boards have spaces between them and there is a ‘window’ covered in hardware cloth and this is not adequate for the winter. We have had it covered with a tarp to prevent drafts. The tarp had blown off, so Bud and I secured the tarp.
We unloaded the flatbed, and then I made some coffee. I fried up some spiral sliced ham that I brought with us, fried some eggs and we had fried egg and ham sandwiches for supper. We were exhausted. Thankfully, we now had a tub and shower with hot water. We washed the grimey ‘road trip’ film from our persons, and then went to bed early! That air mattress never felt so good!