Monday, December 27, 2010


Christmas Eve morning broke with the fields covered in sparkling frost. The four new chicks I bought myself for the holiday were merrily chirping away in the master bathroom. I filled their bowls and talked to them so they'd know my voice and set out for the outside chores. The air bit into my jersey knit jacket. This girl isn't used to tromping more than a few steps to tend the animals. The chickens in the barn strutted into the yard without a mind to the temperature. They wanted their breakfast, the icy bits were just frosting. I needed to get a move on and the wind helped me get my chores done that much faster. It was the day before Christmas, my mom was on her way and I desperately needed Benedryl and butter.

Alex -my oldest- and I set out on the twenty minute drive into town for our essentials. Everything took longer because everyone else was hunting down those frantic last minute things, too. We took our time and my mom beat us home. When I came inside the house was in an uproar, there was a present in the house I needed to see.

Ten more chickens greeted me with tiny chirps in the doorway. The five Americaunas and five Red Broilers were added to the box with my two Barred Rocks and two Rhode Island Reds. I'm not sure which was better, the chicks or the acceptatance and encouragement of my dream from my mom.

We ate, presents were shared and before I knew it they were headed back out. We're a good three hours from where we lived before when we were only three houses away from each other. The rest of the afternoon was spent tending animals and building an off-ground structure to place the rabbit cages. I mucked out the old horse droppings from the stall and made a small compost pile for the garden. The entire time our four birds were clucking and chittering about what we were doing, walking under feet and being shoo'd out of work areas. It wasn't the hinderance you'd imagine. The personality and curiosity make for comical watchings.

When darkness fell Leeloo was anxious and thrumming to run. This land is a veritble smorgasboard of scents for her to trail and track through the grasses. We have to keep her on a leash or run else she'll be in the woods and lost on a scent before she even realized it. I took my coat and grabbed her leash and let her pull me around at a breakneck run. It was exhiliarating and made me realize how out of shape I truly am.

She caught the smell of something that had her darting full-speed for the forest. The single outside light casts an illuminated circle that just bites the edge of the barn. We were headed past that into the inky black that coats the trees and land like a sheet. I didn't know what scent she caught and coyotes are notorious in these woods. My heart beat faster with something more than just excitement. Perhaps ancient self-preservation reared up in me but whatever it was had me throwing my entire body weight againt the desires of my fifty plus pound dog. We veered back into the safety of sight without much fuss and slowed our gait till we were still as could be with both our chests heaving in the bitter air. My heartbeat pounded in my ears as I rubbed her down.

It was a good day, so far different from what I'm used. But good in a way I hadn't really had before.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you enjoy your chickens. My dad gave us to roosters for Christmas to add to the chicken house.Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family. Many blessings to you ~Cary Ann