Not much tends to freak me out. I mean, being on a farm or in the country for any length of time, you see all sorts of things that most city / suburban folk don't and you tend to become numb to those things.
Dried goat afterbirth stuck to your ponytail. Dried up remains of goat testicles being kicked around by your daughter. Mummified remains of mice that jumped into, but unable to jump out of feed buckets that have been sitting on the shelf for say, five months. Half eaten armadillos stinking up a square mile after sitting in the hot summer sun for three days.
But today. Today I saw something that made me do an audible "Ewwww!" and step back. I really thought about going back to find it and take a picture for all my blogging buddies, but I'm hoping that it has somehow moved, been eaten, buried, dragged away, or is otherwise no longer in the barnyard.
Now what could be so bad that I, skinner of squirrels, butcherer of pigs, eviscerator of chickens, would be so revolted by?
A chicken toe.
Yes. A chicken toe. Not attached to the chicken. And not an old, half rotten toe that looked like it was dug out of the compost heap or anything. No. It was more like a, "Shit, my toe just fell off!" kind of fresh chicken toe.
It wasn't the entire toe, but the claw (fingernail? talon? WTF do you call a chicken's toenail anyhow?) and up to the first joint / knuckle. After the initial gag-reflex, I stared at it again.
And I hastily exited the general area.
Now a good farmer would have immediately gone around and assessed the feet of each chicken in his/her flock. I am not a good farmer. I haven't been back in the pen since I left, hoping that when I do finally have to go in there, that it will have disappeared and this will all be a distant and slightly disturbing memory.