Sunday, July 12, 2009

hen delivery

When I got home from the trials, I was met right at the cabin door by Jazz and Annie. Their dark eyes and quiet voices (they rarely make a sound). My dogs met me at the door and smelled the dozens of sheepdogs I'd be working with all day. Tails wagging, nuzzling their wolf heads against my waist. They forgave me and I hugged them. I would not trade them in for the best border collie in Scotland. They're family, and the only constant thing I've known since I first left Pennsylvania nearly five years ago. Everything else changes but these dogs are mine. It's written in stone.

After the dogs were walked and the farm taken care of—I called my coworker Noreen. (Noreen was the woman I went on that chicken adventure at the office a few week's ago.) She'd just constructed her henhouse and run, and was ready to have the birds she bought with me delivered. I loaded four hens in the back of the haytruck and we headed down the mountain into Arlington. You just can't know the fun of hand-delivering laying hens to a first-time owner.

I showed up at Noreen's to find her laying in her hammock. (I like hammock people, for I am one of them) and she was as excited a girl waiting for her prom date. We carried the cage to their new home and placed in the two Light Brahmas, an Australorp cross, and a Red Star. The four hens made their home their own quickly. I hope they start laying for her soon. Noreen did not stop grinning the whole time.

There is something empowering about raising chickens. I know that sounds a little silly, maybe a little dramatic, but it is. Chickens up the ante from the basic garden. They bring in the element of protein right to your backyard (without all the messy slaughter work or ethics of killing). I depend on my flock to cover a lot of meals and help with baked goods and entertainment around here (I don't have a TV). And with new chicks chirping away, and some new adult birds on the way as well...I hope to stay in chickens for a long time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, one day. I so want one of them old-fangled Farm TVs. Homeowner's Association doesn't allow chickens, but one day...

July 12, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I spend more time watching the chickens than watching TV anyway.Chickens are more interesting. You never get tired of watching them run and jump in the air for insects. I have one chicken, Marianne, that follows me everywhere I go. She makes cleaning out the barn much more interesting. And when I start singing "All day all night, Marianne, down in the barnyard, sifting sand...." she looks at me intently and knows I'm singing just for her.Chicken people are crazy, but in a good way!

July 12, 2009 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger evylynn said...

I am a hammock person too. Although, there's so much to do, it's hard to find time to relax in a hammock.

As for chickens, one day I'll have them...urban chickens. Thankfully, we can have up to 3 chickens in Seattle. Can't wait.

July 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

I've had my three buff orps (9 weeks old) now for a little over a week. They are fascinating creatures. I couldn't tell them apart at first but their personalities have really come through. I anxiously wait for the day when they start to lay!

July 12, 2009 at 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That feeling you have about sheep and shepherds is exactly how I feel when I see people working draft animals Some day...


July 12, 2009 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger djp said...

I wish I were a chicken person... maybe I'll start a campaign for urban chickensin Montreal. They'd be a hoot with my two de-clawed siamese!

July 12, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous kandy Gray said...

hay djp,

I just wrote to the mayor of Dorval (just west of Montreal) explaining my want (need) to start a back yard coop, and got no answer. i am going to take that as an o.k. from them and get my chickens in the spring. hay, i told them, they ignored me (probably thought i was a crazy woman) and did not say no......

kandy from canada

July 13, 2009 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

My Wide Katrina and I love our chickens. We have a small lot here in Middlebury, but use as much as we can. The nice thing is between our huge garden, my wood staging, bucking and cutting area out back near the drive (Wood stove went in last year, saved a TON of money), and the fenced in side yard for the chickens, mowing the lawn takes all of a 1/2 hour now.

What I like best about the chickens, is watching them go crazy for a cup of potato beetle larva as I pour it over the fence. Very Satisfying.

July 16, 2009 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Make that wife Katrina.....

July 16, 2009 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Carrie and Justin said...

Chickens are SO addictively wonderful. Some of ours know their names - their personalities are very distinct.
Our yard looks so much better thanks to them, our compost is richer, and watching them eat any of our spoiled food (or just leftovers) is the highlight of my day!!!
We're fighting for our right to keep our 6 hens right now.

July 19, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

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