It was, as promised, a magnificent day -- the best of the year so far, here, in the Upper Midwest. Lexie the wee hen has been vocalizing and she is so obscenely loud that you have no doubt she is singing with joy. By comparison, Butter settles in at my feet quietly and does a modest amount of self cleaning. A girl after my own heart because, of course, at the farmette, Sunday is farmhouse cleaning day.
But before we even get there, we let the brood out, just after sunrise, right into their new little pen. They like it. They don't like it. They're okay with it. They're puzzled. How about the wider world out there? Isn't that ours as well? We ignore them and go about our house chores.
Even though, over breakfast, the discussion quickly shifts again to the chickens.
Is the pen a good place for them? Ed says -- we should have enclosed a rose bush. They like rose bushes. It's boring in that pen. Next time we have to include some distractions.
I mean, we're like the parents whose personal life ended the day the first kid popped into the world.
In the late morning, we go outside to work in the yard and of course, this is when we're happy to let the chickens roam freely. And they do.
But here's an emerging pattern: whereas the bigger girls settle in to do their pecking and dirt scratching, Lexie runs up to you and squawks and pecks. We can't quite figure out what she wants. She will peck on your shoe, your hand, anything to let you know that she is there.
Ed settles in to make adjustments to the fencing, the gate and, too, he installs an electric plug in the coop, so that when we want to plug in the water dish or, next winter, a heating lamp, it'll be an easy chore. Me, I turn to yard clean up: branch trimming. Rosebush pruning. Raking. Strawberry patch repair. We work together, but on our separate tasks and I am in my bubble of yard bliss, content as can b, until I hear Ed proclaim with total conviction -- she's going to be the first one to wind up in the frier.
It seems that Lexie has climbed into his lap and is clamoring for his full attention. So who's the boss here anyway??
I remove Lexie and try have a heart to heart with her, but the young -- they're so spirited and quick moving that it's hard to get them still enough for a lecture.
In the afternoon, we leave the chickens in the pen (yes, but will they all be there when we get back? The "what ifs" are endless!). It's time to enjoy the sunshine, to get moving again -- in other words, to go on a spring hike at Indian Lake County Park. My older girl, Ed and I.
And it is at once brilliant and beautiful...
...but at the same time, slippery and muddy. Really muddy. But oh, that warm air! To think that we are at the edge of the freshest, most hope filled and inspired season! Truly the heart swells.
At home, the chickens survived in the pen without us! No one flew away, no hawk flew in. They clamor now to come out into the wider world of rosebushes and compost piles and we open the gate and let them do just that. But come dusk, it's time to put them in the coop for the night. My daughter and her husband are at the farmette and they laugh hard as they watch me chase Whitney and Butter in circles. Dinner would have been very late if my son-in-law hadn't stepped in to help me herd the last of the brood into the coop.
We eat a supper of favorite daughter foods. Ed looks at his plate and recoils. Chicken? That could be Lexie on your plate.
We almost had a whole meal without bringing up chickens. Almost.