Since we live on a farm and have numerous dogs, cows and feathered friends running around everywhere there is one thing you must always be on the lookout for. Poop! It’s not uncommon for me to have some animal’s feces stuck to the bottom of a boot after doing chores or even just walking around the place. When people come over I’m constantly reminding them to watch their step whether it’s in the yard, the barn or even on our front sidewalks.
For quite a few years now we have had chickens on our farm. Not a ton of them, but enough to prevent me from ever having to buy eggs which is incredibly awesome and convenient! And not only do we enjoy having a never ending supply of eggs but so do our dogs who are lucky enough to indulge in treats of scrambled golden goodness several times a month. I’m not sure how many dogs would even raise their heads to alert us of a burglar in the middle of the night but you crack an egg open over the stove and there’s a stampede to get to the kitchen.
Having chickens around was pretty easy and required little work for the first few years so we decided at some point to add ducks and turkeys to the mix. What I quickly learned with these two other breeds of birds is they make a much larger mess on a much larger scale. And their daily pooping activities are a TON more piles of crap to dodge and two-step around. Feathered free range animals are like letting pterodactyls loose 24/7. Oh, and did I mention they are never quiet? Never, ever ever. It’s a lot of loud drama going on all the time. Gobble, gobble, gobble. Gobble gobble, gobble. Gobble, gobble, gobble. It is impossible to carry on a conversation with another human being if the turkeys are even remotely in your midst. And the ducks? Never. Stop. Quacking. Ducks also seem to prefer pooping on sidewalks apparently.
Usually every Spring when the local farm stores start selling baby chicks, ducks and other fowl we will add a few birds to our flock to keep our supply of eggs from ever diminishing completely. My first visit to the store resulted in six adorable baby chicks coming home with me. Since there were only a few of them they were able to enjoy a few weeks of living in my office at home as we waited for the warm weather to show up.
However eight days ago I went a little nuts. Okay, not a little, more like I lost my mind and should have been tackled in the store. “Security, there’s a crazy bird lady on aisle five that needs escorted, empty handed, out of the building!”. I visited a different store on my second trip and some how walked out with 4 baby ducks and 43 baby chicks. And well, since I don’t have the barn ready quite yet for this many littles and the weather is still on the cold side, that insane impromptu purchase resulted in our basement becoming their temporary home. And to add a little more work and craziness to my already busy life, yesterday I brought home yet another dozen peepers. Hide my keys….take my wallet….break my legs. I obviously have an animal addiction problem. So now the basement is occupied by little feathered bodies running everywhere in tanks, continuous sounds of little cheeps and peeps and poop. Lots and lots and lots of poop….in confined, small areas.
Yesterday I knew I had to tackle cleaning out the troughs and pens in the basement that are housing the new flock. I knew it was going to be disgusting and smelly and a crappy job, literally. I stood over one pen, my back aching after only a few minutes and my nose burning from the smell while scooping through inches and inches of wet woodchips soaked in urine and feces. After awhile I started thinking about all the things I am willing to do for my animals around the farm and how most days I don’t even mind the work no matter how disgusting the task is. They are my responsibility and it’s the work that comes with it.
If we do any type of work with cattle chances are I will end up with manure on me in some way, shape or form. The goats like to poop in their water trough nonstop and there’s huge piles of crap the turkeys left in the barn from roosting on the rafters. Three kittens have been living in the tact room all winter and the smell coming from that area has assured me I’m going to puke when I clean it out this week. And if you following me on Instagram you have seen my posts about our latest puppy that STILL refuses to crap outside in the grass because apparently he prefers carpet. (Side note…he did learn how to roll over today lol.) Most days I walk around worried I smell like a giant turd because well….that’s just how farm life is. I feel like my job title should be Pooper Scooper when I’m at home.
Since I was given a heart that truly loves and adores animals the mess, destruction and the cleanup doesn’t really feel like that big of a deal. You know what does seem like a chore though on a daily basis? Dealing with the mess of people in this world and the crap they sometimes leave all around and bring into our lives.
People. They are something aren’t they? Created in God’s image and yet so many are a mess. People all around us every day are consumed with the daily toils and crap that life brings with it. To be blunt that’s just what it is. Smelly, disgusting, turn your stomach crap. Crap they may have created by their own hands and crap possibly created by others. It’s atrociously messy and complicated, and nine times out of ten thicker than a couple inches deep when you get to the bottom of it all. Dealing with it is a chore.
But I don’t think God created us to sit back and side-step helping those who are lost in the putrid piles of messes in this world. The ones who are dealing with some of life’s toughest moments. I think He wants us to be pooper scoopers. I believe it’s our responsibility to roll up our sleeves and help the less fortunate on a large scale but also our neighbors and friends on a closer to home scale, that they may see the light of Jesus in this quickly darkening earth.
This past week I learned some news that really shocked me. The whole ordeal is messy, complicated, crazy and sad all tangled together tightly. Those in the deepest part of the situation are feeling like a load of crap came crashing down all at one. I was thinking about it nonstop while scooping up poop in the chicken troughs. I was also thinking about how these are the moments, the harder then a dickens moments, that God really needs us to help others clean up their lives. No one is saying it will be easy, that it won’t some days be filled with miles and minutes of muck. But offering ourselves and our resources is what true compassion and grace looks like if we honestly want to bring other’s to Christ in order for them to enjoy eternal life with him one day.
Maybe you’re the type of person who doesn’t even bat an eye at helping out others. If so, that is outstanding! But for me it’s something I’m still working on daily. I’m more of an automatic No girl. People ask for things all the time. For help, for our possessions and for time and my first response WANTS to be No. Ain’t no one got time for added drama that usually follows either. I’m working hard at changing my No to a yes. To instead swallowing my pride, judgement and selfishness and hoping that when a messy, yet utterly important moment in this journey called life arises I am able to deny myself and help a friend clean up the crap they have come to face.
Because let’s be honest….if I can spend my days cleaning up animal feces the least I can do is love others and lend a helping hand and heart to the souls that are desperately needing Jesus.