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Chaos and loss on Smyth Family Farm this week

05 Feb
Chaos and loss on Smyth Family Farm this week

Happy Saturday everyone. It’s been a rough week at Smyth Family Farm. I cut the palm of my hand while juicing oranges last night and spent an hour and a half in the emergency room getting stitches. The worst part of the week was waking up to feathers everywhere on Thursday morning. Four of my chickens were eaten by a neighborhood bobcat when the door to the coop didn’t automatically close.

I’ve been feeling extra sad and guilty for not checking the camera on Wednesday evening before bed. My husband would usually do a quick check on his phone so see if they had all gone to bed. It’s been freezing cold here at night, so I never imagined them not wanting to be inside the coop. It wasn’t a normal evening, because both of my son’s came over for a family dinner. They are my everything.

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Me and Burtha
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Babe. My Mother’s chicken

I know in my heart that I gave those chickens the best life they could ever have while they lived. I had them delivered to me from Mc Murray Hatchery in Iowa a year and four months ago. I ordered them while my Mother in law Nilda was still with us, and they came a few days before she died. It was cathartic to have baby chicks to care for and manage while grieving. I had many of my family name them. We had Burtha, who Michelle named. Dolly was named by my niece Laura. They were the first visitors after we got them. Caramel Corn was named by my great niece Tamara who is only 6 years old. Babe was named by my Mother Diane who loved going for a ride one day in the car to visit her. My Mother has had a cancer called multiple myeloma for the past 9 years and suffers from anxiety. Babe always comforted her and brought her joy. 

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Silly Dolly. The only white chicken I had.

All of these four chickens are GONE. I can’t believe it. They have given me a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning while going through Covid times. Many months of isolation were met with laughs and cuddles when I was not able to see my friends or relatives. I’m crying while I write this, but I know it’s best to feel my emotions and express myself as I feel fit. I’m pretty much a mess right now. 

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My cuddles with Caramel Corn

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My bandaged hand from my accident last night
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My injured hand with three stitches

As for the other four chickens that are still with me, they are wandering and scavenging the entire back yard as I speak. Bee Bee was named by my son Andrew. And it’s so cute because the girl I nannied for Billie, had a nickname “Bee Bee”. Billie and her sister Sammie have been here to visit the farm and the chickens last year while wearing masks and social distance. I had to give up my job with them because of Covid.

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Sammie and Billie having story time after visiting the chickens

We also still have Mary Kate, who was named by Ken, my husband. He wanted the two Red Star breed sisters to be named twins:Mary Kate and Ashley. Soon enough, Ashley was forgotten because Tamara wanted to name her Caramel Corn. Caramel Corn was one of my favorites. She loved cuddling with me every morning and evening. She trusted me the most. And I always had two brown eggs every morning religiously from this breed.

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Arthur and Babe.Sisters of the Ancona breed

Arthur was named first by my niece Keri who saw a post on my Instagram feed. Poor Arthur was sickly and smaller then the rest of the baby chicks. I would feed her by making a split pea puree to squirt down her throat. I didn’t want to lose her. Then my sister in law Nancy came to meet the chicks and said I didn’t have to force food down her throat. It was okay that Arthur was a little smaller. Nancy has worked at the local Alexander Junior Lindsay Museum which houses injured birds and wildlife in Pleasant Hill California. I would take my kids there when they were young to learn more about turtles, owls, mountain lions, foxes, ravens, snakes and more. We even rented bunnies and guinea pigs for a week at a time from there. 

It’s hilarious that Keri named Arthur a boy’s name. She didn’t know they were girls. But that’s what makes her extra special. And Keri is a special niece since she and her sister Jamie grew up in my neighborhood. We would spend time with them more than the other family, even though most of our family from both sides live fairly close by.

My older sister Susan named Mabel, who is also one of the sweetest and coolest chickens. Mabel has another name. My sweet niece Josie who is only six named her Violet when visiting the farm one day. Josie loved collecting the feathers and eggs from my girls when she would visit. It’s crazy because we haven’t seen much of anybody during the pandemic. It’s been so different from the way we lived our life before Covid. Has it been this way for you? Josie goes to school, so we haven’t felt comfortable having her here even though my husband and I have both been vaccinated and boosted. 

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Here is the art my niece Josie made while visiting the farm in December 2020.

I think I will sign off for now. It has been quite a week. And it’s not over. All I can do is heal from my hand injury and enjoy the chickens I have left. My eyes are swollen from all the crying. I can remember when I had to give Scooby Doobie Doo my rooster away to a farm in Auburn, I cried and cried. It’s like that. Only one other time did I cry so much that my eyes were swollen. It was when my friend Sherri and her son Danny moved away back to Florida. I cried and cried. She was my neighbor and a true friend. I was sad to see her leave, but she left an abusive relationship after our Avon 3 Day walk over 20 years ago. I was happy she left this guy and lived closer to her family where she was needed.  I was inspired to go back to college and get my Bachelors Degree after the Avon walk. We walked 60 miles in three days and raised money for breast cancer. It was a challenging experience, but I am grateful for the time I had with Sherri, and Heidi who also walked.

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Scooby Doo at the new farm in Auburn. I cried all the way to Auburn, but know he is in good hands

As for the other four chickens that are still with me, they are wandering and scavenging the entire back yard as I speak. Bee Bee was named by my son Andrew. And it’s so cute because the girl I nannied for Billie, had a nickname “Bee Bee”. Billie and her sister Sammie have been here to visit the farm and the chickens last year while wearing masks and at a social distance. I had to give up my job with them because of Covid.

We also still have Mary Kate, who was named by Ken, my husband. He wanted the two Red Star breed sisters to be named twins:Mary Kate and Ashley. Soon enough, Ashley was forgotten because Tamara wanted to name her Caramel Corn. Caramel Corn was one of my favorites. She loved cuddling with me every morning and evening. She trusted me the most. And I always had two brown eggs every morning religiously from this breed.

Arthur was named first by my niece Keri who saw a post on my Instagram feed. Poor Arthur was sickly and smaller then the rest of the baby chicks. I would feed her by making a split pea puree to squirt down her throat. I didn’t want to lose her. Then my sister in law Nancy came to meet the chicks and said I didn’t have to force food down her throat. She told me that it was okay that Arthur was a little smaller. Nancy has worked at the local Alexander Junior Lindsay Museum which houses injured birds and wildlife in Pleasant Hill California. I would take my kids there when they were young to learn more about turtles, owls, mountain lions, foxes, ravens, snakes and more. We even rented bunnies and guinea pigs for a week at a time from there. 

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My sweet Nice Marie

What’s extra special about his week has been the wave of love and support from my family and friends. My son Andrew brought me flowers and chocolate yesterday. It was right after I cut my hand, so we had to run to Kaiser, but I was surprised he did this for me. So thoughtful. My other son Curtis called and left me a message. When I called him back he was super sweet and caring. I felt all the love. And in the morning, my niece Marie surprised me with my favorite donuts from Johnny’s in Lafayette. OMG, I was floored. Marie has the biggest heart and empathy. She is a gift to this family.

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Lucky girl getting flowers and chocolate to cheer me up

If you want to learn more, follow me on Instagram or this blog. I will share my trip to Petaluma with my friend Kathi on the next blog.

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Me and Josie my niece
 

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9 responses to “Chaos and loss on Smyth Family Farm this week

  1. King Ben's Grandma

    February 6, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Oh no! 😭 What a horrible sight to wake up to☹ and your poor hand.
    I’m so sorry about your girls, Teri. I know how much they helped support you through rough times.

    I’m happy to see your boys supporting you the way the should. You’re so selfless and giving to everyone around you… it’s good to see them giving some of it back to you.

    Take care of YOU for a few days. Mourn your girls and rest your hand. Chocolate is helpful too😉💕💕💕💕

     
  2. terismyth

    February 6, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you Angie for your thoughtfulness.
    I have been slowing down. Watched Netflix Baking Show. My favorite.
    Now for a walk with my husband.
    Hope you are having a nice weekend.

    Hugs
    Teri

     
  3. Karen Jacobs

    February 7, 2022 at 2:22 am

    So sorry about your chickens. Nothing was going to stop that bobcat. I hope your hands heals quickly. Karen

    Sent from my iPad

    >

     
    • terismyth

      February 7, 2022 at 2:24 am

      Thank you Karen. My hand is much better. My heart is broken. It’s so different only having four chickens. People think I should trap and relocate it, but that seems doubtful

       
  4. Kayla

    February 7, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    Oh Teri, I am so sorry to hear about your beautiful girls! I can’t imagine how you are feeling. Wish I could give you a hug! Will give you a big one when we see each other (hopefully) later this month. Take care of yourself for a change. You deserve it. Much love – Kayla

     
    • terismyth

      February 7, 2022 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you so much Kayla. Hugs always help.

      Looking forward to our book club mtg.

      Thanks for thinking of me.
      I miss Caramel Corn and Burtha the most. They always cheered me up and let me cuddle them. It’s a loss I knew would come sooner or later. But it still stings.

      Teri

       
  5. kevinashton

    February 11, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your chickens, my sister’s old neighbors had chickens and being around them I could see how quickly they become part of the family.

    You didn’t say how you were cutting your oranges? This chef hopes it was using a cutting board with a sharp enough knife?

    When I was younger man working in Holland at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, we used to take turns covering the breakfast shift which included juicing up to six boxes of oranges. The old lady who ran the breakfast kitchen would always complain that we never cut and juiced the oranges quickly enough, as she sat in the corner. Thankfully we had an electric juicer! 🙂

     
    • terismyth

      February 12, 2022 at 4:36 am

      I’m not surprised you had to juice 6 boxes of oranges.
      I love fresh squeezed oj. We have a Valencia tree, but the oranges 🍊 are very small this year, yet tastier than ever.
      I was hurrying, very thirsty and grabbed the glass to take a sip and it was slippery. I tried to grab it cause who wants to waste precious oj and i smacked the glass against the granite countertop. Not too smart.
      I haven’t needed stitches before for a kitchen injury. It was bound to happen. And I was shaky and worried for the four remaining chickens. The damn bobcat visited again early this morning.
      I wish this never happened. And yes. They are my everything. Hopefully we can get more baby chicks when things are more under control.
      We have a raccoon who comes by regularly also.
      It’s a wild wild world back there.

       

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