Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chickens. Better than therapy. (an ode to farm chores)

My dear husband has been working 1-9:30 shifts all week over at the old granola factory, so it's just been me & the animals out here in the middle of rural nowhere when I get home from work myself.
It is really a change here from Northampton that's more apparent when Owen & I work opposite schedules. No more quick walks downtown, no more roommates, no more friends close by.
Surprisingly, I have found the last week very peaceful. Back in Noho I hated it when Owen worked  this shift.
The reason? Chickens.
 3.1.12: Lucy, Amanda Jo, Miranda, & Lulu, my new EnD companions.
Chickens plus the larger picture that includes the chickens.
I find I really like the routine of farm chores.
When I get home around four, I immediately have to check on the baby chicks, feed the outside chickens their afternoon cracked corn & some greens, take the dog for a walk, shut the outside chickens up for the night,  check on the babies again, bring in wood, build a fire, & then feed the dog & cat. That's all before I deal with the dishes & start dinner & maybe do some laundry.
I used to sometimes resent coming home from work to dirty dishes & housework chores when Owen worked these sorts of hours before, but for some reason the farm chores make me feel great, & I don't mind the other stuff either.
In these winter months I miss the summer routine of tending to the garden in the evenings. The chickens are a bit like having a garden in the winter. I like that their care involves me actually going outside frequently.
Not to mention that they really are good company. They make all these great sounds. They run to their fence when I pull up in the driveway. As my dear sister says, they have cool dinosaur feet. The little dudes are starting to really recognize us too & greet us.
The brilliant Jenna from Cold Antler Farm wrote something I read recently about how the absence of farm chores can be really disheartening once you get used to them, & I totally get that. I love my current routine. The chickens go up to roost just at dusk & I am so grateful to be outside when the sun sets every single day.
The view of the sun setting behind the trees that I see from the chicken cop is beautiful, the ladies make all their little good night sounds, & it makes me feel like I'm living my real life.
There is something about keeping living things alive that is fundamental satisfying.
I find that I breath easier after I finish my chores. 
I cleaned out the chicken coop last weekend on a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon by myself & finished feeling exhilarated. We found a shovel & fork for $1 each at a tag sale earlier in the day that were just the right size for me, & I couldn't wait to get home & use them.
I did wonder a bit, who am I know, exactly? I sure never got excited about tools at a tag sale before.  But I have never felt so calm & capable before either.
So, thanks, girls.  

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