Two big black hens, identical but for their eye color, decided to get broody together and have been sitting on nests, side by side, in a corner of the chicken house. And now we have baby chicks! As of last night, there are six chicks between them. No one knows which is whose, and no one seems to care. Communal parenting at its best.
They take the babies out together, and return to the chicken house to rest together. The babies follow – and are surprisingly quick and athletic, popping over the log threshold of the chicken house even though it’s half again as tall as they are. When it’s time to nap, the hens settle themselves back onto their nests, and the chicks scurry under their wings and disappear beneath them.
The chicken house abuts one end of my garden, and as I spend mornings out there planting and weeding, I get to watch the antics. The rest of the chickens still roost in the chicken house at night (except for the rogue poufs), but during the day, the chicken house transforms into nursery, and the other chickens are not allowed entry. The mother hens take turns chasing out anyone who dares enter with flapping wings and shaming squawks.
But I pass the test (probably because I bring them food and water), and they let me tiptoe in and sit and watch, and the orange-eyed hen even let me reach a hand beneath her fluffy body, and once it was under there, I felt a chick climb onto my hand and perch on my finger.
I feel I’ve been swimming the Atlantic for the last two years, and didn’t even realize it till now – now that I’m out of the water, sitting on a dock, eating a sandwich, the salt water sun-drying on my face. Ahhh… exhale and smile. Some snippets: The Fustercluck – the punk band of chicks we got this spring that are now full grown chickens – were living in the chicken house with the rest of the chickens, but that crazy gang of punks have moved into the barn! They roost on the high crossbeams. Just that bunch. The rest of the chickens still sleep in the chicken house (with a few dozen sparrows, a family of partridges, and unknown numbers of wild bunnies).
It’s hilarious but frustrating – the chicken house is far warmer than the barn, which is not yet insulated nor doored. But they’re an independent band and will not be deterred. They still wander over to the chicken house during the day to eat and lay eggs in the nesting boxes, and the other chickens love to hang out in the barn during the day. I still owe a full barn reveal; Mike had put the tin on the roof back in September while l was in Seattle, and when I got back, I was waiting in vain for it to rain, to wash all the dust off the pretty blue roof before photographing it (this fall was so dry). It never rained; instead, it went from dry and dusty to snow-covered and you STILL can’t see the pretty blue roof!
Speaking of so much snow…. one day last week, I was walking back to the house after being out with the cows and Daisy was following me, as she will often do, thinking that she might get some special treats if she’s pushy and demanding. The heaps of snow must have obscured the contrast of the stairs to the deck, because as I climbed them, she followed me right up and onto the deck! I heard her hooves on the boards behind me and turned around and was like, ‘oh shit….’ and at that moment, Daisy realized she was up in the air and she was like, ‘OH SHIT!’ She panic pooped and spun in circles and I was praying I could help her get down before she broke through the deck. Thankfully, she trusted me enough to follow me back down the stairs, sloooowly at first and then taking the last few in one leap. Crazy Daisy! She got her bucket of alfalfa pellets after all, to help calm her down with her feet on solid ground. And now I shovel and sweep the stairs between *every* dusting of snow.
Also last week, I was testing something out in the Shop, pretending to be a customer, and realized (with horror) that the checkout process through Paypal was clunky, difficult, and annoying. I have changed it entirely. Paypal is still available for those with Paypal accounts who like one-click ordering (that part is handy), but a new, improved, completely secure, non-paypal credit card system is now up and running. It’s very sleek and easy and I’m so sorry I didn’t realize and address this issue sooner. If anyone has not gotten a 2015 Charlie Calendar because of the Paypal pain, I’ve fixed it for you, and in the nick of time – you’ll only miss a few days of January if you order yours now!
Speaking of the shop, I want to thank you deeply for your support and enthusiasm this fall and winter. I had the shop pretty much shuttered all spring and summer, and this blog was very quiet, too. When l finally revved up for for holiday and calendar season, I didn’t know if anyone had kept their patience with me. I’m so grateful for your presence and support, and I love sharing my work with you. I have some exciting and beautiful ideas for this coming year. I’m excited to emerge from the murky, mysterious ocean.
Mike found this fossil before all the snow arrived and gave it to me. Neither of us could immediately determine what the fossil was… until it dawned on me. It’s a fossil of angel wings.
Happy new year to all of you out there.
So, it got cold. Negative 26ºF, to be precise. One nice thing about that kind of cold is the perma-endorphin high I get. And three degrees (which is still well below freezing) feels downright balmy. It didn’t get above freezing for ten days, not even for an hour. All the local sparrows and wild cottontails moved into the chicken house – which is just as cute as you might imagine it to be.
Friday, it finally rose above freezing. Outside, there was the sound of dripping, and I had a glorious snowhike with the pups, in a tank top. I also wore wool pants and muck boots, yes, but my arms were bare. Huzzah, Vitamin D! Now it’s snowing again. But that’s OK; to snow, it has to be warm (it’s relative, now).« go back — keep looking »