Fortunately, Michigan has a 10-cent can return. Yes, of course you pay the 10 cents when you buy the soda in the first place, but it's like a little savings account, because when you take all those cans back, it's as if they're giving you free money. Woo-hoo!
I would also knit for tattoos. Chris found this adorable t-shirt. The girl even looks a little like me, except that I have less hair and haven't worn leg warmers in 25 years. I thought I'd add it to my collection of knifty t-shirts, because perhaps for only $16 you'll want one as badly as I do.
Now on to other things. I've been accused of making farm life sound too idyllic, and now everyone wants to come and live with me. So I'm going to tell you about the less glamorous side of living off the fat'o'the land. (Geez, hasn't anyone been watching that reality show where they threw those two blondes on that farm? Oh, well, me neither.)
Don't even get me started on the mosquitoes. No matter how busy our bats are--and they eat thousands of mosquitoes in a single night--there will always be millions more just waiting for my ankles.
And on the subject of deer, the question in Michigan is not if you've hit one with your car, but how many times. They constantly wander in the road, and I swear they target motor vehicles and run right into them.
So far we've been really fortunate and have not yet been in a deer collision, but even a small doe will easily total your entire vehicle. They particularly love the section of road right in front of our house. And to my amazement, no one comes to clean up the carcass. If there's a dead deer in front of your property, you have to take care of it yourself, or suffer the malodorous consequences. (For more on this and other inconveniences of rural living, see my helpful guide, "You Know You Live in the Country when...")
need regular shots and deworming every six weeks once the ground thaws and nail-trimming. Yes, llama beans are excellent for your garden. But you still have to scoop them all up out of the pasture.
infection) to swab and disinfect and moisturize--this involves turning your sheep on end (as shown above for shearing) and cleaning it well, rinsing with hydrogen peroxide, applying bacitracin, etc. every day or two for a few weeks, and giving your cute, wooly charge some Nutra-Drench or other extra nutritional supplement to speed healing, as well as possibly a course of antibiotics.
I've also described elsewhere the sheep-testicle
removal bit and...you know, all that good stuff. Presuming everybody stays relatively healthy.
Is this sufficient to discourage everyone's fibery farm fantasies? Perhaps I should just let you all continue dreaming your bucolic dreams. Of course, I read all of James Herriot's books (All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All) and he could describe to me in the goriest detail how he stood in a feezing cow pasture, soaking wet, with his arm up to the shoulder in a cow's uterus trying to help a her give birth to a calf that was turned the wrong way and I was still convinced that I wanted to be a veterinarian.
You'll have to decide for yourself. Remember that every single day your animals need food and water. This means going out to the barn rain, snow, sleet, hail, even come blizzard or tornado. Sometimes twice a day in the winter, because the water will still turn to ice even with the heated bases under the buckets if the temperature gets cold enough. (Then you get to break ice before refilling buckets. Fun!)
Fortunately, I like cold weather. Good, quilt-lined overalls and waterproof, insulated boots like these are key. Just in case you wanted to know.
As an interesting side note, when I googled "llama bean" images I found my own blog. But it was a picture of Pepper and Lacey, not llama beans. The nice wheelbarrow picture I found isn't mine, but it sure looks like our wheelbarrow, the one that's really hard to push in snow and mud and whose tire likes to go flat at the most inopportune moment (like, when it's really full of poop and you're nowhere near your destination).
And oh boy, I didn't even talk about weeding, mowing, fencing, all the sorts of things that constantly need repaired, animals occasionally escaping...but fortunately, my father likes to mow and till and put up fence and fix things, and my parents are here during the part of the year when those sorts of things need to be done. The garden is their baby, so I mostly get to ogle at it and and enjoy its bounty. (Credit where credit's due!)
So if James Herriot's frozen arm up a cow's birth canal on a rocky English countryside left me convinced that I was destined to be a country vet, maybe you still think farm life sounds pretty dandy, too. Most days, it truly is.