Friday, May 02, 2014


Be prepared: it's a sluggish  and chore filled day. Reading an account of it has to feel like plodding through a book where there is no story line. Except this: sometimes, one just has to do chores.

I wake up, note it's time for chicken care, look out and confirm that it is cloudy and damp. Just as expected. And now I have to push myself a little to get up and outside. It's not especially warm and so it's still a production to get going. I had glanced at Ocean from a year back and noted that we had been eating breakfast fairly regularly on the porch on these dates. Not this year.

Okay, I'm up. Hey Ed, I'm up.
Mmm. He rolls over and continues to sleep.

It's been a while since we've seen or talked to the chicken owners (remember, we're only foster chicken caretakers). It seems that they're happy to drop out of the picture. That's okay: there's not much that they can do for the birds if the birds are here. I know that now.


It's Friday and for us that means that after breakfast...


.... Ed hurries off to his meetings and I hurry off to do weekly grocery shopping.

I prolong the expedition somewhat by stopping off at the eye glass store. I need new glasses. Mine are too old, too square, too loose, too incompatible with my current vision. I stare at the prices of frames and I tell the salesclerk that I could buy two huge TVs for that kind of money and there's a lot more technology that goes into TVs than into frames. She mumbles something about the frames being handmade. Is it more important to have your glass frames be made without use of technology?  The glasses will have to wait. 
Back at the farmette, I sit down to do some writing. I look up every now and then to take note of where the chickens are. I no longer panic when I don't see them. They're always somewhere. Okay, let me do a more thorough check now. I go outside.


I call out -- cheepers!


I think -- it is impossible for all four to disappear in unison! I call louder. They come running. All the way from where the long driveway meets the road. (Where the robins hang out now, to keep out of the path of chickens!)


Oh for God's sake! Must you wander into the dangerous world out there? They look earnest, but disinterested in my lecture.

I think about our life before chickens. Easier, that's for sure. Still, easier doesn't necessarily mean better. Though when I spot our resident groundhog (I call her Martha)  moving bits of styrofoam to the wood pile, I scurry inside to read up on the danger she may pose to the flock. I do not need yet another predator to worry about. (Word has it that a groundhog will turn mean only if threatened or if it wants to protect its babes. Otherwise, they're into vegetables. And styrofoam.  Again I give the chickens a lecture, this time about getting too close to the woodpile where the groundhog family resides. Again the chicks appear to be disinterested in my guidance and instruction.)

When Ed comes home, we attack the second of the two awful projects I have scheduled for us this spring: the cleaning of the barn (perhaps you remember -- the other awful project is the mowing of our prairie grasses).


The chicken follow us, curiously, cautiously.

No. They don't like it in there. They quickly exit. They stay near us, but outside.


I don't blame them. It's awful inside the old structure. Decades of bird, bat, mouse droppings. Spare boards, wire netting, plastic sheets, hay, insulation planks. Organizing all this is dirty work.

We get to it. Much of the clutter there has to be discarded. It'll take weeks of trash collection to cycle the stuff out. The rest needs a bit of tidying and organization. We're not compulsive: it doesn't have to be great, just good enough. And by the end of the day, I deem it to be just that. At the very least, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did when we first began.

In the meantime, the chickens find their favorite spot in the compost dirt.


We'll be moving them close to this space soon. Maybe that'll keep them focused away from the road, away my flower beds. Maybe.

Evening. Another brief rain shower. Again a cooler wind.  But tomorrow -- they say we'll see some sunshine. Oh, I cannot wait for that!