It was only a few short days before my sister's wedding. I was all excited and could think of little else.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Goose-Goose had decided to build a nest. Mr. Goose-Goose doesn't really like me a whole lot to begin with, but he will usually tolerate me. For whatever reason, he prefers my husband. I'm the one that feeds the rascal! (Incidentally, the hubs finds this totally hilarious.) This makes no sense to me whatsoever, but these are the facts. That goose can see my husband coming and will leave the pond and come flying up to him, honking and carrying on all happy and excited. When he sees me however, he looks at me suspiciously and ruffles his feathers. Most of the time that's as far as it goes. Today though, his mate was nesting.
I should have anticipated it, but he crept up behind me when I was busy fussing with the water spigot and bit me hard right on my left calf! The sneaky bird had effectively employed the element of surprise and then straightway hastily retreated after his swift and calculated attack. He turned around just within ducking distance of the safety of the henhouse floor (I guess he knows I can't squeeze under there) and stood proudly honking at me with his head and neck stretched up high in a taunting and victorious display of his superiority in battle. Good grief.
I was certainly grateful I had been wearing jeans, but it still really hurt. I went inside after finishing up the chores to lick my wounds and assess the damage. By this point, it had already made a painful red welt. I bruise easily so by the next morning it was the size of a golf ball, swollen, and turning purple. I growled and began rummaging around for the Advil.
Two days after that, the bruise was beginning to increase in size, spreading shades of purple and green and blue even further past the periphery of of the last couple days' colorful blotch. I was scheduled to be in my sister's bridal party. The dress was knee-length. The horrifying truth began to sink in as I realized that indeed this wasn't going to go away in time. The colors of the injury were greatly accentuated by the stark white background of my rather pale skin. Great. Just great. I hardly needed to be the prettiest girl there, but I certainly didn't want to cause a distraction by garnering horrified gasps either.
Farmers don't lay out much. Anytime we go outside we find 50 things that needed to be done last week and we can't sit still long enough to get anything besides the proverbial farmer's tan. (One must be careful when mowing not to get burned in very awkward patterns. Sunscreen and a good hat are the safest bet.) In our defense there are occupational hazards to walking around in shorts and flip-flops, the least of which are stepping in sheep poop or getting into fire ants. So, although my lower arms and face were tanned, the rest of me looked like it hadn't seen the sun in years! As if that weren't kinda funny-looking to start with, now add a humongous purple goose bite. This was not going to work. We were supposed to leave the next afternoon.
Thankfully, I had been to my hairstylist the day before. (I might add that I may not have remembered to cover up the gray and roots if my husband hadn't tactfully asked, "Um, did you want a hair appointment before your sister's wedding?" Full-on panic almost ensued at that point but my hairstylist is awesome and she fit me right in.) Anyway, I had begun to suspect, as I was sitting there getting my hair done, that there was a possibility that I may have to do something about the goose-bite situation if things didn't change, so I had asked my hairdresser and she helped me ask around the salon. So, the next morning, when all hopes of a sudden disappearance of the nasty purple blotch were totally gone, and when the aforementioned reality had finally hit home, I called the medical spa that was recommended to me. I scheduled an appointment for a spray tan.
I had never had a spray tan before. I guess I'd just never found the need to get one. This was a new experience for me. However, I'm pretty sure the nice girl that did it for me had never had someone schedule a spray tan to try and camouflage a goose bite either so I like to think that made us kinda even. As I was about to emerge from the cold little tent made of tarps with the fan in the back, she told me to stay hydrated but not to wash my hands. "Just use instant hand sanitizer on the palm sides only," she said as she demonstrated with her own hands. NOW she tells me that the tan has to cure for 12 hours and that I can't get wet or sweat or wear tight clothing in the meantime! She must have seen the way my eyes were widening in utter shock and decided to emphasize her point, "If you wash your hands, you'll end up with white hands." Well then.
As I drove home, I laughed to myself about the predicament I now was in and wondered how I was supposed to water thirsty birds and walk through the barnyard in this kind of condition. (Since I had called last minute the available appointment I was given was first thing in the morning and I figured I'd just take care of all the animals once I got back. My mistake.) I imagined water creating white splash marks on my legs and feet. If I tried to wear jeans and socks and shoes though, I might rub it all off, or worse yet, end up with white feet and ankles from where I had the socks! I decided to go in my shorts and an old pair of flip flops.
I gingerly picked my way through the barnyard and changed the water in the little chicks' pen without incident. After that I headed into the chicken yard to carry feed and change the water. I was trying to watch my back this time and not get bit again by the crabby goose. The goose didn't seem to really care about me today so I was about to head back out and do a happy dance when I realized that my concentration must have been broken and I had failed to latch the gate behind me...
The sheep had seen their opportunity and seized it, running headlong into the chicken yard and straight for the chicken food. The greedy critters began gobbling up the food I had just set out for the birds. The chickens were both startled and insulted. In a half a second flat the area erupted into a cacophony of squawks and shrieks and flying feathers and a billow of dust. I yelled at them and tried to scare them out, slapping them with the palms of my hands and scolding them. They ignored me and continued to chow down on the forbidden food. Finally I grabbed the pan they were inhaling and wrested it away from them and set it up high on the roof of the henhouse. I stepped back thinking the goose would surely chase them out. He tried. He unfolded his wings and ran at them, honking and biting, sending chickens squawking and feathers and dust flying once more. The sheep ran away from him for a short distance, but they refused to leave the chicken yard. I gave up. I left the gate open so the sheep could get out once they bored of looking for food they couldn't find and got tired of being chased by the angry goose. I headed back into the house to use my instant hand sanitizer (on the palm sides of my hands only) while I could still hear the honking and kerfuffle going on out in the chicken yard. Oh well.
Meanwhile on the other side of the barn, our yearling ram had found a barrel in his enclosure and was repeatedly head-butting it, slamming it up against the fence and making a racket. (No, I'm not exactly sure why he was doing this. I guess he is a ram and he just felt like it.) I had a sudden pang of guilt for leaving this mess with my poor neighbor while we traveled to my sister's wedding. I made a mental note to make sure to ask the hubs to move that crazy ram when he got home. Maybe he needed a change of scenery. He had only been in this area for a couple of days on weed patrol, but maybe he was over it. The front field would be right next to the rest of the flock and might give him something else to think about.
I decided the best use of my time at this point was just to pack the bags. About the time I was almost done making final preparations inside for our trip, the hubs got home from work. He laughed at me and went outside to set things in order. Pretty soon he had everyone, including the ram, back in a content mood (at least for the moment) and we set off.
The morning of the wedding, I did put some makeup on my leg, but it really wouldn't have mattered if I didn't. First of all, the girl did a great job with the spray tan so it wasn't nearly as noticeable. Second and most importantly though was my sister. She was absolutely stunning. I fought back the tears as she emerged from the little room where she had had a little help carefully applying her makeup and meticulously pinning the curls of her long brunette tresses. My baby sister was all grown up. She looked like royalty.
It was a beautiful day. Despite a forecast of rain the weather held and was perfect up until just minutes after the happy couple departed in the groom's massive white diesel pickup. At that point, a few big drops of rain began to fall in a gentle cool breeze.
So in the end, the goose bite didn't matter one little bit. It simply made for more memorable preparations leading up to my awesome little sister's gorgeous wedding.
I'm Debbie. I love listening to chickens cackle and sing. I love Lindt chocolate truffles, a good cup of coffee, and a good book.