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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Solo, 3-Day, No Guilt Weekend

Over the years since moving to the free-range insane asylum, I have come to dread August. The heat is bad enough on its own, but it stresses the chicken houses because everything has to be running — fans and foggers — just to keep the birds alive. Large electrical devices running in the same area as a high-pressure water spray actually works (it has to), but an undetected crack in a PVC pipe or wiring insulation is going to soon be detected under those conditions. And given the situation, repairs can’t wait for a convenient time… it has to be dealt with now. Even when everything is working properly, Mrs. Fetched is constantly over there to raise or lower curtains and open/close doors (ventilation vs. insolation), start or stop the fogger lines… always something.

Add in the usual things that go wrong (and Murphy is the god of chicken houses), and August adds up to one miserable month. I can count on arriving home to find there’s some problem that must be addressed, almost before I can get my helmet and jacket off. For example, this week the downpipe fell off a feed hopper and dumped four tons of feed that had to be scooped or shoveled up.

So it’s not surprising that the best part of August is the one weekend that we escape the manor. Mom has a summer cottage in the North Carolina mountains; they spend the entire month there and we generally come up for a weekend to visit. It’s a much-appreciated break, especially since it’s often 15 degrees cooler there than here. But when Mrs. Fetched’s mom hosed her knee last week, Mrs. Fetched lost her substitute chicken rancher. She bailed out, then Daughter Dearest bailed out (“I need to stay and help Mom”). I’d already taken Friday off as a floating holiday, and I don’t get to see my relatives very often.

As if I needed any further excuse, the phone rang at about 6 a.m. this morning. When the phone rings at FAR Manor before 8, I immediately know: 1) It’s one of Mrs. Fetched’s relatives; 2) It’s not good news; 3) I’m going to be involved somehow. This morning, it was Big V on the line. P.O.D., her son and Splat’s older brother, got busted for 90 in a 50 zone while passing a car with great enthusiasm on his new GSX-R 600. As I’m the only other person in the family with a motorcycle endorsement, I get to bring the bike home while Big V is getting him out of the clink.

The bike was already on the tow truck when we got there, but when Big V gave a name and address, they knew we were the right people and rolled it back off (but she still got to pay the $100 tow bill). So on the 30 miles or so home, I learned why people ride those bikes so fast: your hips and back start hurting, and you have to ride fast just to where you’re going and get OFF the damn thing.

So I’m definitely looking forward to getting out of here for a few days. But now that I’m going by myself, I can ride my own motorcycle. It’s not nearly as uncomfortable as a crotch rocket.


  1. Hi FAR.

    Sorry to hear all that's going on, but glad you're getting some time off. It sounds like Mrs. Fetch is going to need a good vacation too pretty soon.

    You had asked earlier where my friends up in MI live. They've told me the name of the town numerous times and I keep forgetting, but I do know it near where they make corn flakes. :)

  2. I'm still stuck back on "four tons of feed." Do you mean that literally???

  3. Hey FM. So your friends are near Battle Creek? Yup, Mrs. Fetched has already committed to taking the week at the timeshare (early next month). She said she plans to do nothing for at least four days, but she does want to tour a local winery and wander around in Helen a bit.

    Nancy, four tons is what Mrs. Fetched said. It covered close to 100 square feet up to 3 feet deep in spots, so four tons isn't too far off. The poultry company has some equipment to deal with such incidents, but naturally the only person who can operate it was on vacation. We used tractors with front-end loader buckets to scoop a lot of it up & pour it into the hoppers, but the last six inches or so had to be shoveled by hand.

  4. Hah I forgot Battle Creek. I kept thinking Kellog, MI. :)

  5. Far, Haven't you learned that it's more important to look cool than be comfortable? Sheesh.

  6. Boran, the lesson was taught but never stuck. I'm a bit of a hedonist.


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