12 Days of Christmas at Jo-Erl Farm

by Zach and Ben Roerden (ages 10 and 8)

(Sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a chicken in a haystack.

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On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two Ford tractors and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five sky lanterns, four Hereford cow, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight pullet eggs, seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine farm-campers weeding, eight pullet eggs, seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

Mama Cow

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten Jerseys milking, nine farm-campers weeding, eight pullet eggs, seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

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On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven of Ed’s friends haying, ten Jerseys milking, nine farm-campers weeding, eight pullet eggs, seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve eggs a dozen, eleven of Ed’s friends haying, ten Jerseys milking, nine farm-campers weeding, eight pullet eggs, seven broody hens, six pizza pies, five sky lanterns, four Hereford cows, three guinea hens, two Ford tractors, and a chicken in a haystack.

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And the Weasel Strikes Again

by Laura Parker Roerden

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We had an entire blessed week of quiet here on the weasel front. I no longer braced myself before I walked into the coop. We had stopped leaving the lights on all night. I had turned off the baby monitor. I had stopped walking the perimeter.

But this morning, after I fed the chickens, as an afterthought I looked behind the egg boxes and there it was: a headless aracauna chicken, a heritage breed from Chile. Aracaunas are among my favorite chickens. They are the ones that lay the bluish green eggs that look like paint chips or something you’d find in a fairy tale.

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Each aracuana hen is different. Some are speckled beige and black; others are reddish brown. This one that was the most recent kill was a heartbreakingly almost cerulean grey.

In that moment I wanted to be like Scarlett O’Hara and just close the door to the coop.

I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I went inside the farmhouse. I took a deep breath. I maybe cried a little. I sent a pressing work email out about a book project. And then once again got back to examining the crime scene with our handyman Keith. We found paint chips and dust disturbed around an area of chicken wire that might provide about an inch of opening: likely the place of entry. We closed more holes.

I went back to the hardware store.

“Do you think the fox pee will work?” I ask the man in the paint department, who no doubt knows me as the weasel lady. “There’s no coyote pee left.”

“The coyote urine had opened all over the floor,” the clerk explained patiently. “We had to dispense of it quickly. It leaves quite the stench.”

“Yes,” I nod knowingly.

When did this happen? When did I begin spending mornings discussing the merits of various dehydrated urines?

I purchase the fox urine, feeling slightly more like Scarlet vowing to rebuild Tara as I leave.

Afterall, tomorrow is another day.

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