You hear the war stories of country folks being chased by mean spirited roosters all the time. I’ve only had one bad rooster and he was bad-to-the-bone. We moved to a little farmhouse rental from an apartment. It had a darling little bridge with a pond in an alcove of plum trees and a salmon stream ran through the property. Idyllic, right? Behind the house was a beautiful chicken coop with a run, covered in some kind of flowering vine. I’d dreamed of living in the country and what’s a girl to do but gather some hens?
Unbeknownst to me, one cute little fluffy chick turned out to be the devil’s minion. Each morning I’d go out before the kids woke up to feed my little flock and pretend I was Tasha Tudor. It was unfortunate that I went outside in my pajamas. I wasn’t dressed for battle. You would think I’d learn my lesson but did I? No.
Much to the delight and entertainment of my neighbors, I’d go flying across the yard after stealth-mode failed, being chased down by a fast-moving terror with spurs a foot long. I feel like this was mere foreshadowing for other events in my life. I’ve had many roosters since then. I’m no longer afraid of roosters, and I’m convinced they make nice pets.
Fast-forward several years to bigger and badder foes. We bought a ranch 200 miles from home and everything was exciting but hard. I got my first dairy goat. Clair was a beautiful and regal lady. However, we soon found out what terrible manners she had. After a quickie milking lesson by her breeder, I was determined to milk Clair like a real dairymaid and gain favor and influence over my family with the wonderful milk she would provide. (The kids had cow milk allergies but loved dairy)
Déjà vu. Picture this if you will…I go to the barn in the early mornings before the children wake. There are more of them now. It’s peaceful in the barn. I’m in—you guessed it—pajamas. I don’t know so don’t ask. Each morning I trot out happily with my milk pail and each morning Clair and I get into an argument and she kicks the pail, dips her filthy toe in it, or worst of all, she waits until I’m all done and tasting victory, and then uses a back leg to slide the pail off the stanchion, thus spilling its precious contents in the dirt at my feet.
Many mornings I trudged back to the house in defeat, tears streaking my face and green and brown stains on my pajamas. And Mr. Henning next door would be outside calmly moving the sprinklers on his field in the morning sunshine. Fully clothed and wearing boots. He would see me, stop, grin, and depending on how bedraggled a state I was in, once in awhile bend over in hysterics.
All these years later, I still do barn chores in my pajamas. Let’s face it some things will never change. I’ve had more goats than I can count now and I’m a master milker.
These days I’m writing, and even though I’m behind a screen instead of in the front yard providing comedic relief to the neighbors I’m still learning something new the hard way. And some of the neighbors will still say I’m odd. I still stay in my pajamas way too long, I study writing until I’m brain dead. But I produce books and sometimes publish and market them. It’s not as scary as it was three years ago when I started out. I’m a mess some days, but I’m enjoying myself and even if I still embarrass my kids at least they know what it looks like to TRY.
All that to say: It’s obvious I’m not afraid of hard work, looking stupid, or getting dirty. And sooner or later I take ground. If you’re trying something new and afraid to fail or look foolish, take a page from my book and do it anyway. People may laugh, but they’ll admire your tenacity and most of the time they’re really laughing with you, not at you.