Monday, July 14, 2014

My Cup Runneth Over

My chickens make me feel rich. I believe, as I have said before, that humans and chickens have co-existed for so many years that we now have a place in our DNA dedicated entirely to the keeping of these birds and when we do, we feel a little bit more, well, fulfilled.
Chickens can be tended by the elderly as well as by children. They require so little, they give so much.
As I have also said before it is my belief that chickens have done more for the human race than Jesus ever did but maybe I'm prejudiced because not only do my chickens (and their eggs, their beautiful, delicious eggs) make me feel rich, but they delight me.

Here's Chi-Cha on the nest. (Thank you, Jill!)

Her sister has already given me an egg this morning, warm as toast, white as her feathers.

I love having flocks of mixed breeds. I love watching the way they all get along, both within the separate flocks and as the flocks mingle. I love the daily visits of chickens from next door, Elvis, Jr., Miss Honey and her sisters, the pretty little black banty rooster. I love watching Drogo come of age. It thrills me when one of his hens lays her egg and then bawks and calls and he comes running to bring her back to the flock of her sisters. I love watching them scratch and move about the yard as the day progresses. They make me laugh with the absurd postures they take when they nap in the dirt, their legs stretched out as they lay on their sides like pin-up models of old, their feathers ruffled to take in the sun.
Their poop does not disgust me in the least. They pull the weeds from my kitchen garden. They eat bugs. They patrol the yard, bringing life and noise as they scratch. I take a small amount of pride in that I have learned some of their language. The call the rooster makes as he finds a patch of particularly tasty bits which he wants to share with his ladies. The call he makes when he wants them to all show up so he can do head-count. The frantic bawking of the hen after she lays her egg. The contented squawks they make as they eat. I am never alone here with my chickens and when I shut them up at night, it is one more tiny bit of peace, knowing that all is well as I go to bed myself, a promise that they will be there in the morning to rise and scratch and lay and fuss and have sex again.
I admire their colorings and they way their feathers are iridescent in the sunlight making a bird that on first glance appears to be black or brown, prove to also be green and blue. I find their varying personalities to be fascinating. Some are bold enough to snatch a cracker from a baby's hand, to peck at my painted toenails. Others are so very shy and stand way back when treats are thrown their way.
They are so much like humans or perhaps, we are so much like them.
And...they are the closest living relative of the dinosaur and if that's not cool, I don't know what is.

Huh. A chicken essay. Didn't start out to write one of those today.
I feel better and slept well. We did have a nice evening of playing cards on our new table, of eating poached eggs on spinach and toast. I am still a bit achy but my energy is much better and I plan to move about a bit today doing a little housework, a little yard work. The wisteria needs trimming desperately. As I walked out to the henhouse this morning, a tendril literally grabbed me by the hair and bid me stop so that it could entwine itself around me. I had promised Mr. Moon on Friday night that I would trim up these palms in order to make the access to the front porch less jungle-fraught.

He has never quite forgiven me for planting them so close together but my idea is that as they grow tall, their fronds will not block anything and that they will be elegant native sentinels to the steps of our porch. And last night, we discussed the situation again and both of us agreed that those two fronds meeting in the middle in delicate arching are really quite beautiful and don't actually block the way at all.
So I believe I will leave them as they are.

Rich. I just feel so damn rich.

My porches, my chickens, my palm trees, my buzzing cicadas, my blooming wild gladiolas, my constantly shifting pools of light underneath the trees. The dragonflies as they fly in parabolas together in their mating dances. The butterflies that drift over the phlox. Some days (today) I feel as if I should wear a ruby or an emerald the size of one of Missy's eggs around my neck to represent it all, multiple gold hoops from my ears so that I am as dripping with wealth as my life. Velvet because I move about a kingdom as opulent as any ever seen before.
Or simply what I am wearing which is, of course, cargo shorts and a tank top, one small gold hoop in my left ear. Bare feet planted firmly on the old boards of my porch.
I will let Maurice wear the velvet for me, her soft orange velvet.
I will let the jewel colors in the chickens' feathers do for my rubies and emeralds.
I will let the puddles of light do for my gold.

It is all enough and I take it in and I glory in it, my heart within me a living wet ruby, pulsing in time to the cicadas, to all of life as I am part of it.

As are you.


  1. It makes my heart glad to see someone wise enough to count her blessings and know, know without a doubt, that she is rich beyond counting.

    You are a wonderful teacher for us.

  2. Tearful- Sometimes you make me want to cry. I am just a very, very lucky human being and have the great good fortune to know and appreciate it. Thank you for coming by, leaving your kind words.

  3. Your statement about Jesus and chickens is what delights me. My grandma was a Kansas farm girl and hated the chickens. I take after her.

    Chickens or no, these words were a balm to my soul today.

  4. Ms. Vesuvius- Probably like everything else, some of us have the chicken gene and some do not. I'd feel a lot different if I had to personally slaughter my chickens for the pot. These are just pets who give me eggs. It is a peaceful day here in Lloyd. I am glad I could share that with you.

  5. All the pretty chickens....hmmm, sounds like a book title to me. You are truly rich, and you don't mind sharing. Thank you.

  6. That is the best tribute to chickens ever ever ever! Reading all of this, I look around at my own richness - bees and otters glorying on the riverbank, geese swimming past my front door, my new friend, the still nameless gray cat, curled up on the bed - and start my day with gladness and thanks.

  7. Just wonderful. All of it.

  8. I never tire of hearing about your chickens, reading about your chickens, seeing your chickens.

  9. Denise- I'm obsessed with chickens. I know it.

    Andrea- It is a good day when all of our riches are so apparent, so pleasing, so fine.

    A- Thank you, Ms. A!

    Elizabeth- Well, that's a good thing. Otherwise, you'd be bored to tears.

  10. Maurice is a magical spirit being. I'm convinced of it. Oh I love the all of it of this. Thank you.

  11. I am a cat, dog, and horse person. And could probably be a cow person. I never took to chickens much, but then I wasn't around them to observe their behavior and really didn't learn to appreciate them. I have come to have a new understanding of them through what you write here. And I do have to avert my eyes when I see the poor chickens smashed together in the trucks going from chicken farms to slaughter. It seems obscene to me what we do with mass production of animals.

  12. Angella- She is acting more cat and less spirit animal every day! But she is sort of magical.

    Syd- I couldn't agree more.

  13. Reading that was like meditation.

  14. You do a wonderful job of conveying the magic of everyday life.

    (I wonder if I COULD keep chickens in London???)

  15. Oh, beautiful.

    Steve, I'm pretty sure there are growing numbers of urban chickens.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.