Thursday, December 12, 2013

Earth Mother

So my chickens were getting eating by hawks. I know this, because I walked out and a baby hawk was sitting there dining on my smaller chicken without even the decency to email me first. Many hand scratches and bloody knuckles later, Nathan and I built the little outdoor area that's screened in with a little chicken door to the chicken house so the chickens can go in and out at their leisure. (pronounced LEZ shur.) This is great except that there are 10 chickens in an enclosure that fits 4 chickens. It's like Hong Kong in there. So I let the bigger chickens out and leave the littler ones in, since the littler ones are the only ones the hawk can catch and eat. You're on your own, big guys. But now the problem is the big chickens still have to lay their eggs. So they go back to the chicken door and are literally BEGGING me to open it. Hurling themselves against it. Even though I put laying boxes out front, in front of the door, they think those boxes are crap, they want the INDOOR boxes. So I open the door, the chickens bust in past me (and the little ones bust out, yay, we're free) and the big ones run into the one laying box they like. They only like the ONE box. They stand in LINE for the cool metal box that has the best I don't know what, whatever it is, the grooviness of it, they LIKE that one. The big fat red hen is in CHARGE, so she gets the nest first. The prettiest hen I have, a blue grey one that lays a green egg, is standing next to the box, clucking "hurry up, fatty," to the red hen. Red hen is picking at straw, taking her time, settled in like a VW bug in a cozy parking spot. The blue hen finally can't take it anymore and just busts into the nesting box on top of her while the red hen squaks at her, blue hen pops out her egg and jumps back out, done. She is the fastest egg deliverer on the line. I like her style. Get in, get it over with, get back out to eating bugs. For a few days I couldn't handle the door patrol - just left the door open and hoped the hawk was eating someone else's chickens, or maybe picking up small dogs for a snack - this made all the chickens happy. But today I've blocked the little guys into the covered outdoor enclosure and left the indoor shed open so the laying hens can have full laying access. Segregation, yes - but only to preserve chicken lives. As you can see, I spend a great deal of time studying barnyard animals. I was out at a park today and saw two guys sprawled out on the grass in December, soaking up the sun like starfish. I could almost see the curve of the Earth under them, as we spin around. I was thinking we're not much different than the chickens, really. They go out to find a nice spot in the sun, toss themselves down, cover themselves with dirt, and bask. I enjoy the way nature organizes things, her hand in all of our activities, whether we know it or not. We can't escape being made of the earth and doing the same things as a chicken. We all seek a little space, and the sun. Comforting, really. Watching the animals stops me from running for a second, quiets everything down, kids get a break from me and I get a break from them, and can just watch and listen and remember I'm from Earth.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off

This blogpost should go in my Momish blog, but here I am so it's going here for now. I have had to get back on the horse, as they say, and it's been two months of hell. It was already a year of riding with nerves, because of riding a young horse and me being an old mom, but then after falling and breaking a finger, and having hand surgery and meeting lots of prisoners getting their casts off at county right alongside me, and then getting back on the horse -- what the hell am I doing? Feeling sick every time. But when you ride, you just ride. You can't stop yourself from riding. I have and do look continually for an older, boring, family safe horse, and I will breathe a sigh of relief when I find one. But Dewey is a good horse. He is a young guy. He is the one who is here. So I will keep riding him, and being as safe as I can about it, until he's not so young anymore. And then, somehow, we'll be perfect for each other.