Nourishment

We move the chicks outside to the run every day. The boys fight over who gets to pick them up, transport them and put them in the pen.

Then, they both eagerly hop in and start digging.

They like nothing better than to feed the chicks live worms.

They get the biggest kick out of the little pecks and tweets and fights that break out when they hold a wriggly worm in the air.

As I sat watching, I wondered at the chicks lack of fear with the boys. They hopped on their laps, walked right up to them and came running to a “hear chickie, chickie”.

“Why don’t they do that with me?”

“Come in here Mommy, and they will.”

And then I realized that it’s time. Time is the key.

It’s not enough for me to feed and water them and occasionally pick one up. Time spent playing with and holding them is what makes the difference.

Time. And patience.

I would never describe either of my boys as patient. Yet in this, they are more patient than I am.

They will sit and coax a chick into their laps and not get frustrated when it doesn’t come right away.

Yet, I see them lose patience with so many other things.

Joe gets in a huff when he can’t do something well the first time he does it.

Jake loses all patience when he can’t get the wrapper on his cheesestick off.

But maybe it’s because these “other” things are just not in their control. They have to rely on someone else to help them.

Maybe thats where the frustration comes from.

Playing with the chicks, nourishing them and coaxing them to be comfortable is not frustrating for the boys.

On a weird level, they connect with that vulnerability.

The chick is at their mercy. The chick is relying on them.

There is really no magic to the chicken whispering.

There is just time.

 

 

My Dear Mr. Greenleg

Pecky has been through a lot
His feathers look so sad
He’s constantly attacked by hens
They’re really very bad

He never tries to fight back
He never tries to win
Every time we let him out
He tries to get back in

You can’t control your chickens
You can’t command your flock
These girls have got you beaten
They only need to squawk

My dear Mr. Greenleg
Oh how you make me cringe!
I want you with the others
Not hanging on the fringe

Lovely Lilac

This is my lovely lilac
Planted years ago
Growing oh so slowly
Bruised by wind and snow

Last year, I thought it dead
But I left it in the ground
And now I’m glad I did
Just see this plant rebound!

Now patiently I’ll wait
For many years to pass
That is how long it takes
For buds to bloom at last

Kneeling in the Garden

Yesterday, the boys planted a “secret hideout” using mammoth sunflower seeds.

They planted the seeds in a ring and then planted flowers, watermelon and broccoli inside.

Why watermelon and broccoli?

“For a snack while we are hiding out.”

While they were busy planting and plotting, I knelt in my own secret hideout.

I planted spaghetti, acorn and pattypan squash around the base of the squash arch. Today, I’ll plant the morning glory seeds I soaked overnight around the outside. I can’t wait to see what the arch looks like in a month.

I planted alyssum around the edge of the garden and transplanted a few more tomatoes. The ones I planted on Monday were very sad from wind and frost. I’m still hopeful they will bounce back though.

I planted the globe amaranth I had started indoors, as well as the purple basil in the herb spiral. There is still no sign of the cilantro and basil I planted a few weeks ago.

I planted the last pepper. I do not know what kind of pepper it is. I really must figure out a way to label better. My masking tape ends up falling off and my labels fade, even when I use a permanent marker.

I know it could be a sweet chocolate pepper, a jalapeno or a hungarian hot wax.

The tomatoes are the same. The pink boar’s all kept their masking tape on, but the crimson sprinters and mortgage lifters shed theirs when I wasn’t looking.

I have this problem yearly. It seems like it would be an easy enough thing to do, labeling plants, but for some reason I cannot seem to get it.

Oh well, I like a surprise.

Kneeling in the garden
Smelling earth and trees
Thanking God in heaven
While I’m on my knees

Juveniles

The teenage chickens are hormonal.

Their pecks are starting to bite a bit and they are getting on each other’s nerves.

If Cheep Cheep makes the mistake of trying to eat at the same time as Yellow Feather, fighting breaks out.

If Fluffy takes a drink too close to Flappy, a battle begins.

And if Fin tries to cuddle up with Sir Hubert McFeatherington…the gloves come off and the pecking gets even more aggressive.

They definitely have some of their mothers’ traits. Some of them are calm, cool and collected, but the two that I think are roosters are angry juveniles fighting for the alpha position.

Enter the chicken whisperers.

Since it is such a nice day, we decided to bring them out to their run for a little fresh air and sunshine.

I don’t know if it because they had more room, or because the chicken whisperers were in the run with them, but they were instantly calmer and spent the time exploring their new surroundings and climbing all over the boys.

I dread putting them all back in their dank tank in the garage. They seem so happy hopping and flapping around the run, and the boys love being in there with them.

But they sure did get a treat today.

Two boys control them
Softly soothing with whispers
Held gently with love

Innocence and Bliss

Yesterday was wonderful
We strolled around the swales
A sunset bright and beautiful
Boys running through the trails

Pretty buds were blooming
The water overflowed
The innocent enjoyment was
A wonder to behold

The grass is getting greener
The trees have little buds
As the day turned into night
The boys splashed in the mud

The summer heat is coming soon
Blue skies and brightest sun
Sprinklers, frogs and muddy feet
Swimming, biking…fun

Splashing in the swale

Searching for frogs

Racing through the maze

Investigating

Hard at Work

The tomatoes I started are leaning…actually, they are bending over in the pots. Rather than transplant them yet again, we planted them in the kitchen garden today.

The boys were a big help. They love to plant, dig for worms and play in the dirt. This was also an excellent opportunity to talk about life-cycles and the importance of healthy soil.

Science outside today!

Jake found a bunch of worms and wanted to build a worm home and keep them…inside.

We talked about how worms are a sign that the soil is healthy. Worms break up the soil so the roots can grow and their castings are a great fertilizer.

“What are castings?” asked Joe.

“Basically, worm poo.”

As you can imagine, that got a few giggles.

At least 5 worms were in every shovelful of rich, black dirt. The squirmy, wiggly worms told the story of the chickens scratching and fertilizing their way through the garden.

Both boys worked hard at digging their holes. Joe planted two peppers and Jake and I planted three tomatoes.

I pulled the squash arch out and put it closer to the deck this year. I also lined out my paths and will come back over the cardboard with wood chips once the ground dries out a bit.

This is our garden so far. Doesn’t look like much does it? A few chives, some tomatoes, two lovage and a couple of pepper plants. We’ll plant more next week, and the week after.

By June, this space will be lush and green and, with any luck, starting to produce.

 

 

 

 

Greatness 

I stand up on the water
And stretch my neck out long
I know that I am different
Just listen to my song

I’m destined to do great things
And all the hens agree
I’m unique and I’m special
Just take a look and see

I’m leader to this small flock
I protect them from the night
No cats or rats get past me
Without a feathery fight

So listen to my warning
Make sure you get the scoop
My name is Sir Hubert Mc–
Oops…did I just poop?

Fulfillment

My life is grand, my life is great
I’m thankful every day
For all the blissful moments
For laughter, joy and play

My home is full of giggles
My family full of love
For smiles and hugs and kisses
And comfort from above

I know that I am lucky
To have found my perfect mate
Our boys complete our family
How fortunate our fate!

My life is so amazing
I couldn’t ask for more
My husband, boys and family
All things I’m thankful for

Edible Roommates

We moved the chicks to the garage last night. They, mostly, have all their feathers so should be able to stay warm. Besides, they were getting way too big for their box.

They are now in a large tank and are very confused.

They no longer try to jump out. Instead, they huddle to one side and take turns darting out to explore.

It’s pretty entertaining.

The garage is home to our two cats: Boots and Echo. They are not overly fond of roommates since a skunk decided to visit last year.

They don’t care about the full-grown hens. The chicks however, captured their interest.

I’ve told both cats my expectations. 

They should not, under any circumstances, try to approach or talk to the chicks.  

These are not edible roommates.

No matter how much noise they make, they are not asking for help.

In other words…leave the chicks alone.

I think they understand. At least, I hope they do.