Thunder rumbles and lightening flashes, rain softly treading on the roof ~ the sights and sounds I awoke to this morning. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I knew the farmer had been up and down, in and out, a good part of the night setting up the chicken houses for catch time today. He needed a good breakfast before the catching crews got here.
It's been a rough week for chickens, and the growers. Temperatures in the 90s aren't so bad until one factors in the humidity. When there is so much moisture in the air the cool cells don't work as well as they do when the air is just hot and dry. They work much the same way as the old time window air conditioning units: water flows across pads and up to twelve big fans per house pull air through, and as the water evaporates the air cools.
On top of the heat factor, we got a load of bad feed which sent two houses into a tizzy. It's frustrating to put almost seven weeks of work, seven days a week, have a good chicken, and then something out of our control happens. But after forty one years at this work, we've come to expect the unexpected. While there are chickens in the houses, they are never far from our thinking, even at night, and it takes a few days after they're gone to remember we don't need to listen for fans or make sure the water is still flowing, or that we can rest our minds for a couple of weeks.
But there's always a little brightness to cheer up the day; one sweet zinnia has responded to the rain, in the midst of tattered iris and day lily fronds and the yard needs to be mowed again this week. Maybe the drought of 2013 is over; maybe during the two weeks without chickens I can finish cleaning out the flowers beds and hope for a lot of zinnias in 2014.
Hope you have a pleasant weekend!