animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / life on thomas run / MOTHERHOOD

I carried a broom

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to the sound of a fox. Really, it's not that uncommon. We hear them all the time out the front windows of the house, in the fields across the road. But this time, the fox was much, much closer. In fact, I could tell it was in the back of the house and sounded close enough to be in our yard. I listened a little longer to be sure it wasn't just a dream or the breathing of the person in bed beside me.

You'd think I'd be desensitized by now, but I seriously HATE the sound of these foxes. They send chills down my neck and make me want to revert back to my thunder-storm-panicked childhood with hands clamped over my ears and covers pulled up to my eyeballs. But, I must put on a brave front for the little people in my house.

I coo to them, "It's just a sweet little fox. We're safe inside. There's nothing it can do. Just listen to it. Doesn't it sound so neat?" I'm such a faker. If they only knew.

winding creek farm, where i grew up

Last night however, its proximity to the house had me a little panicked. I had visions of those little barn kittens scampering around the garden shed. I worried that we hadn't done a good chicken count before locking the doors of the coop for the night.

So I did the only brave thing a farm girl could do. I woke up Dan.

There's a fox!

It's in the yard!

The kittens!

Did we lock in the chickens?

What about Maggie????

Thankfully, Dan loves some good fox drama so half-awake he bumbled downstairs to listen more closely. Finally he opened up the mudroom door and Ruby went tearing off across the yard–whether it was after the fox or she just really had to go the bathroom, I don't know. But the fox either quieted down, or disappeared. Hopefully, the later.

Dan came back upstairs to find me and Mary standing in the hallway waiting for a full report.

Unlike many nights in this house lately, we'd played musical beds at some point in the nighttime hours. We stopped for a moment in the hall, discussed the fox, my concerns over the animals, maybe it was time to get some bullets for his gun, the fact that the little person sleeping in bed with me had slept through her need to go the bathroom, and was sleeping fitfully and kicking, and did I set his alarm for 5:30?

A small family meeting in the hallway. I felt like we needed to smack high fives and do a secret handshake before we returned back to our stations in seperate bedrooms with children needing to be snuggled.

my beautiful, brave mother

The whole fox thing threw me off and I had a hard time falling back to sleep. My mind recalled stories of my mother's bravery. Of the night when she heard something attacking our guineas and raced down the steps and outside in her nightgown with a broom, a broom, swinging wildly in the dark at whatever was on the attack. She came back in and said something brushed past her legs and was gone.

I like to think that if neccesary, I could step up and have that kind of bravery. But for now, if Dan's available, I'll gladly default to him.

I did eventually fall asleep and my dreams involved a large mother bear and her cub which had gotten into the house. Dan and I were racing around upstairs dropping our children out of the windows to keep them from being gobbled up. A short fall obviously better than a bear attack. Maybe it had something to do with the bedtime story being The Biggest Bear, or the fact that Dan mentioned he left the mudroom door open so Ruby could come and go in the night.

All I know is that in my dream, I was brave. And I carried a broom.

photos? backside view of the house I grew up in. + my brave mother holding baby me.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to the sound of a fox. Really, it's not that uncommon. We hear them all the time out the front windows of the house, in the fields across the road. But this time, the fox was much, much closer. In fact, I could tell it was in the back of the house and sounded close enough to be in our yard. I listened a little longer to be sure it wasn't just a dream or the breathing of the person in bed beside me.

You'd think I'd be desensitized by now, but I seriously HATE the sound of these foxes. They send chills down my neck and make me want to revert back to my thunder-storm-panicked childhood with hands clamped over my ears and covers pulled up to my eyeballs. But, I must put on a brave front for the little people in my house.

I coo to them, "It's just a sweet little fox. We're safe inside. There's nothing it can do. Just listen to it. Doesn't it sound so neat?" I'm such a faker. If they only knew.

winding creek farm, where i grew up

Last night however, its proximity to the house had me a little panicked. I had visions of those little barn kittens scampering around the garden shed. I worried that we hadn't done a good chicken count before locking the doors of the coop for the night.

So I did the only brave thing a farm girl could do. I woke up Dan.

There's a fox!

It's in the yard!

The kittens!

Did we lock in the chickens?

What about Maggie????

Thankfully, Dan loves some good fox drama so half-awake he bumbled downstairs to listen more closely. Finally he opened up the mudroom door and Ruby went tearing off across the yard–whether it was after the fox or she just really had to go the bathroom, I don't know. But the fox either quieted down, or disappeared. Hopefully, the later.

Dan came back upstairs to find me and Mary standing in the hallway waiting for a full report.

Unlike many nights in this house lately, we'd played musical beds at some point in the nighttime hours. We stopped for a moment in the hall, discussed the fox, my concerns over the animals, maybe it was time to get some bullets for his gun, the fact that the little person sleeping in bed with me had slept through her need to go the bathroom, and was sleeping fitfully and kicking, and did I set his alarm for 5:30?

A small family meeting in the hallway. I felt like we needed to smack high fives and do a secret handshake before we returned back to our stations in seperate bedrooms with children needing to be snuggled.

my beautiful, brave mother

The whole fox thing threw me off and I had a hard time falling back to sleep. My mind recalled stories of my mother's bravery. Of the night when she heard something attacking our guineas and raced down the steps and outside in her nightgown with a broom, a broom, swinging wildly in the dark at whatever was on the attack. She came back in and said something brushed past her legs and was gone.

I like to think that if neccesary, I could step up and have that kind of bravery. But for now, if Dan's available, I'll gladly default to him.

I did eventually fall asleep and my dreams involved a large mother bear and her cub which had gotten into the house. Dan and I were racing around upstairs dropping our children out of the windows to keep them from being gobbled up. A short fall obviously better than a bear attack. Maybe it had something to do with the bedtime story being The Biggest Bear, or the fact that Dan mentioned he left the mudroom door open so Ruby could come and go in the night.

All I know is that in my dream, I was brave. And I carried a broom.

photos? backside view of the house I grew up in. + my brave mother holding baby me.

14 comments on “I carried a broom”

  1. My husband is not amused by middle-of-the-night wakings and he’s a very sound sleeper, so I go out on my own when I hear the foxes getting too close to the house. If it’s really bad, I leash up our big dog and walk around and around the chicken house, hoping we lay down a heavy enough scent trail to deter the fox(es) for the rest of the night. I love your thoughts about a secret handshake or high-fives after these nocturnal adventures. 🙂

  2. i have a kitten and raccoon story; saved two littles, lost one, but i was so mad at the thing i just ran at it swatting with my hands, all the while it hissed at me, not letting go of it’s find. i didn’t think about my stupidity until later.i say defer when you can! but speaking of bravery, i don’t think i’d be so brave around your visiting young bull friend like you are! i’m a bit of a ninny with things bigger than a ram. :)your childhood home looks lovely!

  3. your raccoon is kind of like me with the dog killing the chicken. as i was going after it, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe this dog was going to be protective of his “kill” and that me chasing after it, wasn’t such a good idea. But, like you, I was MAD!!

    There was no bull today. I was a little sad. Just a little.

  4. I remember coyote calls from the farm I grew up on. I liked hearing them. It never crossed my mind that they would get our chickens or lambs, but now looking back perhaps I should have. Our dogs always did a good job of keeping them at bay and my Gramma was tough as iron with her shot gun The sound of their calls and a train whistle in the night take me right back to the farm.

  5. Must admit that the broom is also my ‘weapon of choice”. It’s always by the back door, and (much to the family’s dismay) we have found that a screaming woman swinging a broom accompanied by a large barking dog can defeat (or scare off) almost anything that goes bump or ‘grrr’ in the night 😉

  6. When I read this post’s title I immediately thought of Dirty Dancing: “I carried a watermelon.” Hee.

    The dog we lost this winter was a fantastic guard dog, even though we never trained her as such and even though she slept inside. Sometimes out of what seemed like nowhere to us, she’s start barking like crazy — we’d let her out into the pitch black and she’d tear off toward the coop and return a few minutes later. We never lost a chicken on her watch, but the week she died we lost 7. Sigh…

    My grandma once killed a snake she carried inside in an armful of wood, using the fire poker!

  7. I am a big fat chicken. I relate to the comforting of children while I am secretly shaking inside. I wish we had a farm. Our closet animal issue was when we had coyotes outside our bedroom. they would run right by the house at night. I must admit it made the St Bernard and me both nervous. My husband did chase off javelina that were in our yard. They hard scared our dog so badly she came tearing into our house at full speed (no small task for such a large dog!)

  8. Love this tale! I am dreaming of the day we have a farm…sigh. I suppose when that day comes the farm will fill my dreams too.

    So glad I found your lovely sweet blog.Hillary

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