Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Is That Infernal Light?

For the past fortnight or so I have on many nights noticed a strange glow.

It appears always in the windows of the milk house, a small structure appended to the stern, gray side of the barn proper. At some point in the century before our own this room held the tangled wires and vacuum pump that ran the milkers, as well as the snaking pipes that reached through the wall to siphon milk from the sixty odd cows interred in tie stalls, pulling it into a gaping bulk tank from which a truck would retrieve it. But these Baroque machinations had been removed years prior, and I saw no way that, even had they been intact, they could have turned the windows to smoldering red eyes.

More recently the building had been used to house dogs, evinced by the scratches gouged on the interior of the doors and the rotting feed bags that were matted a foot thick on the floor when we first came to the farm. In addition, it must have been some sort of makeshift veterinary clinic, for when cleaning it out I found boxes of syringes still in individual wrappers and their used counterparts scattered amongst the other detritus. There were foil envelopes of expired medication, and scalpels with thin, curved blades, like rusted toenails.

Though not prone to fears of the supernatural, I could well imagine one of the large dogs - already white and filthy and menacing - slipping across some metaphysical boundary to haunt this shabby prison. Or perhaps the spirit of a goat that had met a grisly end therein had risen from a shallow grave, a hellish aura hanging about it, bleating ominously and waiting for some poor fool to open the door to its domain.

Two nights ago, summoning all of my meager courage, I finally made myself confront whatever horror awaited within. I had hoped the milk house would appear less ominous as I approached, but the dread only built in the chill wind of that spring night, for the demonic windows glowed brighter and brighter.

Okay, I made that all up. We have two heat lamps for the chickens in the milk house. But you must admit, it does look really creepy.

The chickens are all growing at a tremendous pace, but it is frightening how fast the Cornish Crosses are putting on the pounds. My guess is that they weigh about twice as much on average as the other breeds. They still look kind of cute, but much less so, which is probably for the best given our long term plans for them.

We hope to build a chicken tractor in the next couple days, at which point we will be able to move them outside. We've already tried giving them clover and grass, and while they go crazy over it, they aren't yet very adept at eating foliage. They mostly pick up and drop the same leaf repeatedly, or chase each other around snatching a particular stem back and forth, as if it was somehow superior to the rest. They are far more entertaining than anything else on the farm and will likely remain so until we get a donkey.


1 comment:

  1. Ahahahah -- well done, Garth, you fooled me.