Sunday, October 04, 2009


sometimes i get the urge and inspiration to actually *write* on this blog ~ to take the time to create a piece that is meaningful, well thought-out, executed, and edited. i have been ruminating on just such a "piece" for a whole month (about Burning Man, of course).
Meanwhile my life keeps happening and the little blurbs that i usually manage on here these days don't happen because i have this *piece*. well, this blog gets the stale crusts of my life time. when writing time happens ~ naptimes when i feel the spirit moving ~ i have this other blog that takes precedent: the Anjali blog that the grandparents read and which chronicles her life. and i feel like that's "productive" time, whereas writing on moment-by-moment when . . [she stood without holding onto anything for the first time (for example)] seems like poorly used time. and if [that chore] didn't get done because i was blogging on the baby blog it's one thing, but if i'm "futzing" around on here ~ well, that's another. which is not really the case. i believe that creative self-expression should be a priority in everyone's life (i really do.), but i think i don't *feel* that way when i apply it to myself. (and my food blog ~ it's downright moldy at this point!!)
i think i also have this *way* that i want this blog to be that perhaps i just don't have the time, energy, or true interest in executing (or at least right now). and tending towards perfectionism, i would rather not do something at all than do it not to my highest expectation (an attitude i don't recommend at all, either).
SO a month has gone by and here i am.

We have chickens!!!
This is something we have dreamed/schemed about for a while. At least a year or so. One of Sealion's coworkers bought a batch of them ~ 20 or so ~ when they were very tiny (mail-ordered. that's the way most chickens are bought ~ fascinating, eh?!), and as they grew, Katherine realized she had a few too many for her coop. So we said we'd take a few.
This summer Sealion created a beautiful hen house ~ which i call a mansion because it is so palatial and finely detailed. He worked on it at least a little bit every day for a long time (he loves having projects= an understatement), and kept coming up with more ways to make it great.
A couple weeks ago we went to Katherine's house in Vallejo and had a lovely homemade potluck dinner with her and her daughter home from college. Toured her magnificent backyard and picked up three hens! Put one in a cat carrier and the others in a cardboard box. Let them get to know their new palace while Sealion built a gated fence around the compost pile for their yard.

Delightful! They are unusual; not the standard hen that might come to mind when you imagine "barnyard chicken." They are petite ("banties") and sleek, and have silky shiny feathers ~ two with rusty brown and black, and the other with shades of cream. And their most distinguishing feature is the mop of feathers they have on their heads which hides their eyes from view. As they have gotten settled in, one of Sealion's other coworkers offered to bring us a couple of his hens, too! They are more of the "standard" hen in size and shape ~ bigger than the other three, with little red mask-hats. One's feathers are black and white checkerboard and the other white/creamy.
Chickens are as hard to capture without flash as babies.
We have never been around chickens (though I did live on a farm for a few years in high school), so having them in our backyard is a cause for bringing out the campchairs and a cooler of drinks because we want to watch them for hours at a time. Anjali cries every time we come back inside from viewing them.
The first hen emerges from the house.
The banties are still adolescents, so they have yet to lay eggs. But the others have already produced three in the few days they have been here. Forget about Easter egg hunts ~ how about when they're real eggs! Even though I knew that that's what happens with hens (they, um, lay eggs), when I discovered the first one, my jaw dropped in amazement!
Can you hear the dramatic choral "AAAAHHHH!" as I spotted it for the first time?
Each of us finds an excuse to go in the backyard several times a day just so we can investigate whether there's another egg laid.
I like to research, and in preparation for the hens I have come upon books and websites of some real hen nerds. I thought to myself, "well, we might keep hens, but we won't be like *these* people!" wink wink! But I could see how a person might be inspired to dedicate a whole blog to their chickens. They are fascinating and entertaining to watch. And the fact that they lay eggs! That could make you into a devotee pretty fast, I suspect.

The first egg, poised on its bed of dirt, redwood straw, and shredded paper.


Hannah said...

WOW! So what do you feed them? Compost?

Hannah said...

One of my most vivid childhood memories was when our very mean and incorrigible rooster pecked my toe when I was about three. Blood was spurting out and I was screaming. My dad had had enough of this animal, since it was not the bird's first misbehavior, so he went to the farmhouse, brought out a rifle, and shot it. I have never seen my dad hold a weapon since (he refuses to hunt), but pecking my toe was apparently a crime too heinous to be survived!