Sunday, July 17, 2011

Change And Adaptation

So we did not go all the way to Gadsden County last night to get our new chickens but only as far as almost-Georgia down back roads in the dark, across to the west past the blues club we used to go to on Friday nights to dance and be bad under the pecan trees, on to the road that I lived on in 1975 which, at the time, was way, way, WAY out in the boonies and my ex-husband and I rented a shackish house from a woman named Willie May who lived right next door in comparative splendor in a new double-wide and her son lived across the street in a real brick house and he told me that I cooked like a black woman because when he came home at night he could smell the black-eyed peas and greens I was cooking, the cornbread.
That house was one fence away from the biggest, longest cow pasture in this area. Miles and miles and miles of pasture and yes, we treked those miles and we gathered mushrooms.
We were some of the only white people living in that area and were, I feel sure, a mystery to our neighbors, two hippies with a bulldog who ate like black folks. Not the bulldog. Us.

Anyway, that road now is not even nearly the same. One huge development after another has sprung up. There are traffic lights and businesses and gas stations. There's a Target a few miles down the road. The only store when we lived there was right there where the Target is now and it was run by mean white-folks who wouldn't let me or my ex write a check even though the sign above the cash register said, "Local checks only," and our checks were local.
Fuck them.
They were fat and ugly.
Well, I wonder where they are now.
But I don't really care.

So we drove down those roads in the dark and my old house is there although where Willie May's trailer was is now a house and Muzz's juke joint is closed and dark and Smittie's Club is a Mexican Restaurant.

The people who raised these new chickens live even farther out in the still-real boonies, a swampy wooded area, and the pen their chickens were living in was a cougar pen. I'm not kidding you. They were the nicest people and they loved those chickens. It was their first venture in chicken-raising and they were just like we were two years ago when we first got chickens. They hated to give them up but they're moving to a place where they can only keep a few hens and so they had to get rid of some of their flock of fifteen. We waited until the chickens were on the roost and Mr. Moon and I reached in and grabbed them, one by one, and chose our six and then helped them load up the rest that they were taking up to Thomasville today. They were shy of grabbing the chickens themselves, afraid they would hurt them.

We loaded up our new birds in two dog kennels and drove back through the night, back down the back roads to home where we carefully set them out on their new roost and told them all goodnight and closed the door and came inside.

Then Mr. Moon lost a tooth. Yes. He did. A front tooth. One of the ones he just got a root canal on. This is just a fucking terrible thing. Not a tragedy. But still. He'll have to get an implant and those do not come cheap and he's understandably upset, although I would have probably just gone in, gotten a gun and killed myself.
Well, that's a little dramatic. But still.

And then, just as we were getting used to the reality of that situation, the phone rang. It was a little after ten-thirty. It was Lily. Owen was throwing up. No diarrhea, not much fever, just throwing up and it was freaking him out and freaking out his parents. The child has never really been sick in his entire 22 months of life which is unheard of and so none of them had any experience with such goin's on. And it's scary to see your usually boisterous child so listless and sad. I remember it well. You want to DO something, to give him something to make it all better, to restore him to his natural, blooming, healthy self and yet, there is nothing to do but hold him and clean up when he vomits and comfort him and wait out the period of time it takes for the virus to run its course, which is probably what's going on. He didn't even want his nursies, he just wanted to be held.
I talked to Lily just now and he hasn't thrown up since 12:30 last night and although he is still tired, he's asking for food and so she's given him some PowerAde with water and some smoothie and toast and he's keeping things down. He's watching Barnie videos and that sounds like the road to recovery to this old grandma.

I cleaned up the kitchen after I talked to Lily last night and put away a few of the things we'd gotten from Mother's. I took the strangest things. All of the pictures, of course, two crystal jam dishes with lids and spoons, too beautiful to give away. A crystal relish tray which could well have been a wedding present when my mother married my father. I have no idea but it will look lovely on Thanksgiving. I also took some carved wooden animals from Africa, a giraffe, a rhino, a jaguar, a zebra, an elephant. I put these on a shelf where Owen can get to them because I think he will be entranced with them. They are simple things but they have a ju-ju to them which I think he will feel.

So here we are, on a Sunday morning, we've separated out the chickens so that our old ones are outside and have access to the hen house for laying and the new ones are in the coop, eating and drinking. Poor things. The train has gone by three times this morning already and they flap their wings and run around when it does but then they settle right back down to scratching in the dirt. We're trying to fit new/old things into the spaces we have and with the case of Mr. Moon's tooth, growing a little accustomed to something missing where there was something in that space and it will be fixed soon.

Elvis keeps coming back to the coop to stand and stare and I am sure that Mr. Moon's tongue keeps searching for that missing tooth and it's overcast and the crickets are chittering. I know there is much I should be doing and slowly, I will get to it.

Sunday in Lloyd. I guess if the Church of the Batshit Crazy has a message today it would just be that life is a constant adjustment to new realities. Some things, like tummy bugs, will resolve on their own and will be forgotten in a few day's time. Other things require patience to resolve, such as the joining of the flocks. Some things take reorganization. Some things take money to deal with because there can be no real adjustment if there is any possible alternative.
And some things take all three.

But life goes on and we do adjust because that's what humans do. As do chickens.

Here they are, my new lovelies. Of course, I hope they are all hens but I'm not bettin' the ranch on that one. Well, we shall what we shall see as things unfold and if nothing else, that unfolding is eternally constant.


  1. Love the new lovelies... looks like you might be getting some brown eggs from the solid black ones... we always got brown eggs from them... mmmm.

  2. Yay, chickens! I love seeing your chicken video.

    Congratulations on the new additions to the flock. They're beautiful. Your line about them coming to love Elvis made me laugh - he does seem to like exercising his roosterly prerogative.

  3. Are they Australorps? Little Beauties...

    Have a restful toothless, pukeless Sunday, y'all...

  4. If one had to leave and live on a desert island with an instruction booklet for life, this would be it. Just saying.

  5. Hooray for new chickens!! I'm so curious about how they will adjust, but it is so true that living things must constantly adjust to new realities. Poor Owen, I hope he's better soon. I love hearing your narrator voice.

  6. Dianne- We shall see. They seem extremely placid and content. This makes me very happy.

    Amna- And his favorite hen now is Ms. Mabel, the black one so I wonder if he will love the new black beauties as well. He is a lucky rooster!

    Akannie- I think that the solid blacks are. Aren't they nice? And we are having a fine Sunday although I feel very lazy.

    Elizabeth- Adapt, dammit! That could be it, right there.

    Lora- I think the chicken adaptation is going to go well. I really do. Owen seems to be feeling better so all is well. Except for the tooth, of course which is just not going to magically grow back, dammit!

  7. Please tell me you drove with the top down on those back roads to almost Georgia.

    The new additions look beautiful, but I agree it may take some time to distinguish who is who.

    Poor Mr. Moon. The dentist should be able to get him something to al least fill in the missing space for awhile.

  8. I know nothing about these matters, but wouldn't Elvis immediately single out any newcomer who isn't a hen?

  9. Poor Owen. I sympathize. Being sick is awful. Sorry about the tooth. That is a bummer. Will the tooth fairy bring something good for Mr. Moon?

  10. I am glad Owen is feeling better. Poor little man. And Mr. Moon. Poor big man.

    Owen is still nursing at 22 months? Awesome!

    I enjoyed the video very much. Your voice is so comforting and calm. We are getting chickens next year. So exciting!

  11. Thanks for introducing all of us to the new chickens with a video - that was awesome. Since your chickens are the closest I'll ever get to having a flock, I appreciate being properly introduced. Can't wait to hear what you name them. I think the one that isn't solid black looks like a "sugar".

  12. Mel's Way- I'll get to know my birds and then they will have names. One already does. Kathleen named her.
    Glen's dentist is closed on Monday's. We're just having a big old, "Might As Well Laugh," weekend.

    Birdie- I'll let you know how this breed is. And yep, Owen's still nursing a little but his mama is trying to figure out how to wean him with the new baby coming. She's not so interested in tandem nursing and I don't blame her.

    Jill- No. She's going to be Susan for Black-eyed Susan because they are orange or yellow and black. Kathleen gave me the idea. But Sugar is a great chicken name. Maybe one of the others....

  13. So sorry to hear about Mr. Moon's tooth, but I'm glad that Owen is feeling better at least. Those are gorgeous chickens and I could watch them all day!

  14. That video cracked me up :) Hey when they're that big, can't you tell if they're hens or roosters already? I thought as soon as they got their real feathers, you can tell.

  15. Nice little essay! I like how you tied it all together there...

    Congrats in the new chickens.

    Sorry to hear about the Mister's tooth...

  16. A- I am thinking that might be very true. Mr. Moon and I discussed that very thing this evening- that Elvis will be able to "sex" the new chickens. In every sense of the word.

    Syd- I told Mr. Moon last night that no, there will be no gift from the tooth fairy. And Owen is much better, thank-you.

    Lois- I can't wait to really get to know them.

    SJ- There are signs but until they start to crow and lay eggs, nothing is for sure. In my experience, anyway.

    Michael- Hello, hello! I was one of those truly weird kids who LOVED being assigned essays. Thanks. I'm sort of thinking that the Mister's lack of a tooth is kind of cute. But then again, I love him to pieces.

  17. My Dad is missing a front tooth. He wears a partial. The grandkids love it and to hear my Dad tell it, he fulfilled all my Mom's hillbilly fantasies after he lost it. (My Mother denies this, of course. She's seen Deliverance.)

    Uh, anyway... Hope Mr. Moon's dentist can work some magic and good luck with the new chickens!

  18. Fuck those non-check-cashing motherfuckers! Just fuck them.

    The blues club sounds swell to me.

    Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

  19. Ms. Trouble- I feel we are going to be subjected to the same sort of humor around here. Sigh.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- The blues club WAS swell. We could take you there if you visit. No. WHEN. When you visit. Dammit.


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