Freezing Rain, Runaway Chickens, And Taco Tries To Escape!!

Today starts off great! As soon as I get to work, I get a video text from Jason and it shows Eli eating and seeming a little stronger on his feet!! Not only that, but Taco the dairy cow has never let us touch her EVER and she walks up to Jason hand feeding Eli, and takes a nibble of feed and lets Jason pet her!! I am so excited I wanna just leave work and work out at the farm all day. Wah! I get positive updates all day via texts and videos. Jason says that Eli is still in very poor condition, but he is hopeful. I can't wait to be done with work and kickboxing so that I can see this with my own eyes!
After kickboxing, I head out to the farm where Jason is talking to Caleb - a 17 year old family member that is becoming interested in what we are doing. This is great! Maybe Caleb can convince his peers that sustainable living is cool! I wish I would have been informed at an earlier age about this - oh well - it's never too late to learn, right? I feed Eli and then Ellie and Sugar. Then Taco comes over for a taste.....and.......BAM! she lets me pet her!!  This is amazing and the kind of positive reinforcement we needed at this point. Eli is definitely more peppy today but he has a long road to recovery. After an hour or so tending to the field animals, it starts to rain and snow on us. As we approach the gate, I realise....IT...IS...OPEN..Eeeek!! Taco is OUTSIDE of the fence eating the sweet feed. Let me remind you that Taco still shys away from us unless we have food. Caleb goes around to one side of her, I go to the other, and Jason is inside the fence. We manage to coax her in. Whew! We are all freezing our butts off and Jason decides he wants to use one of the chicken tractors to start fertilizing his mother's garden space. (If you don't know what a chicken tractor is, refer to the very first blog entry) Really?!?!? It's 34 degrees and sleeting and raining and my face is numb. When I speak it is through frozen numb lips, so everything is coming out all wrong. But if I REALLY want to start living this way, this is part of the job I guess. Time to toughen up a bit, Sandi! I can do this.
We pull the chicken tractor up to the first part we want fertilized. The plan is then to overfill the tractor with chickens so every hour it can be moved to fertilize the ground underneath, and by the end of the day you will have a sizable amount of fertilized garden space. Luckily by this point it is dark and the chickens will be easy to move since they have already roosted for the night. We ended up putting about 12 chickens in the tractor...then one escapes. I got this one! I take off in a quiet run so that I can sneak up on this chicken and catch her! I have her cornered - except she is backed up against the fence which has holes big enough for her to get though. I dive and she starts going through the fence. I got her! Mission accomplished. Time to go home and get warm. As I am leaving still worried about Eli and hope he has the strength to make it through such a cold night with hardly any meat on his bones. I take one last peek at him and he is cuddled up with Ellie and Brutus is on guard. This helps ease my mind a bit and I feel good about his slight progress.

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