Saturday, April 19, 2014


First, the essentials: there was no blood in the coop when I opened the hatch to let the brood out this morning. We were apprehensive. By 5:45 Ed is gently nudging me -- shouldn't we let the chickens out? I insist we wait until a decent 6:10. That's our sunrise right now.


So, no blood. But, it had been a stressful night for the chicks. (I can tell by the distribution of droppings up in the roost. Usually very orderly. Confined. Today -- chaos!) Still, they survived. Or, more importantly, Scotch survived. Yes, she got pecked upon her exit, but dare I hope that the pecks were less violent? And not frequently repeated? (Here, Oreo is keeping an eye on her. Unfortunately for him, she can run. He cannot.)


(talking man to man)

And as the day progresses, we see that we are going to have an easier time of it than many who throw in a new hen to an existing flock. At times, it almost seems like they've formed a bond already.


Most of the times though, the white hens ditch Scotch and go off with Oreo at their heels. (I can't help but think that she must relish some of this private time.)

But it's very important to note that there was no blood.

Okay, let's shelve the chick talk for a while. (Though here at the farmhouse, I increasingly notice that over the years, I have surrounded myself with chicken stuff...)


Late last night the Minneapolis couple arrived and though no one felt like chatting at midnight, still, it was good to know that they are now, for this beautiful weekend here in Madison.

Breakfast is a little disorganized. They have a wedding related appointed and the person arrived a quarter of an hour early. You could say, therefore, that we ate in stages. So if you thought you'd be without the face of 'just Ed' on this one day -- you'd be wrong.


But apart from his ever agreeable countenance, take a look at this day as seen from the kitchen, now made brilliant by the sunlight coming in through the porch roof. Notice the zebra patterns everywhere! They give us such pleasure that even if we never benefited from a better, brighter porch, we'd still have the joy of looking out at a delightfully patterned world.


My older girl comes over and the three kids chat with the wedding assistant while the chickens look on.


Ooops! Those chicks are making an Ocean appearance again! That's the reality: we're tending chickens these days. And in fact, as my young flock of people goes off to do errands, Ed and I retreat to the side of the barn, to finish preparing the future residence for our brood.

Shoveling dirt: this is a new activity for Scotch to witness and at first she is tentative about finding the plumpest worms when we turn over the soil. Not for long. And though there are slight skirmishes every now and then, I have to say, the girls and Oreo mostly behave. Ed comments how without Lexie, the entire dynamic changes. There is no frazzled crazy movement in every direction. Everything slows down. The noise level is diminishes.

Ed and I put in a solid half day of work. 

And I mean real work! In addition to clearing and chipping the land, we have to remove a mountain of logs that Ed had casually left in some early years of tree removal at the farmette (he does cut down trees, but they must be either dead or threatening to invade the septic tank and even then, he hesitates). Leaving a high stack would provide a temptation for the chicks to climb and take flight. The logs must be moved.


Unfortunately, we cannot finish the job. Would you believe it -- the lowest layer of logs is still frozen solid. We're now aiming to move the pen to the new location sometime at the end of the month.

And really, that's it for chicken talk. All attention should now be on this most beautiful spring day.

The kind that makes you so happy to live in the north. You cannot love a day like this unless you've had a winter like we've had. Today is our reward.

(Yes, some would be quick to point out that a day of spring sunshine isn't quite worth a season of bitter cold, but I am not such a person. For better or worse, I am forever rooted in four seasons and therefore slated to love with passion these beautiful spring days.)


In the evening, the six of us (mom and daughters, and the men attached to the three of us) go out to dinner.





Then home. For the best ever gifts and even better company...




Oh what a night! What a day, what a night!