Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chicken Love and Costume Dramas

I was watching an old copy of a BBC costume drama. I watch them in the cold winter. They make me dream of being somewhere other than the arctic tundra. Maybe I am just an old sap. That or I miss my youth and the ability I had to just go when and where I want. Cannot just go to Paris on a whim for the weekend with a farm, child or husband to find sitters for. I don't like soaps or romance novels but some Bronte or Austen and I am there through two or three VHS tapes even with poor sound quality and my reels needing cleaning! My peace at horrid hours of the evening for a dairy farmer!

On the couch as I am getting up I find one of Claire's new Poultry mags. The british small holder one with the children in it. She loves that one. I like chickens. They have this peaceful thing about them like sheep do. A kind of equilibrium with the world.

When I was little, our neighbors had this farm. We lived in this cul de sac on the edge of their farm. The farm was eventually an island with developments surrounding it with possible roads ending on the edges of their fields. The place had tobacco sheds, a tidy New England barn with halls and rooms they said their father and uncle hid things during the rations in the war. In the cellar they had this chicken area. Not so much a room if I remember. Nests were wooden with tobacco leaves in them to keep the bugs out. Like everything else on the farm, tidy...

It was their place. The pride they took in it that got me into this "farm thing". We could set the clocks to Stanley mowing his lawn. My mother liked to watch them bring the milk cows (a guernsey and a jersey if my memory is correct) up the lane. They had this horse Chubby. A cross of Belgian and something. Maybe 15hh. I'm thinking Suffolk, but who knows anymore. They used him to cultivate tobacco. I use to love to watch Adolph cultivate tobacco. When the horse was tired, he'd step on a few plants.

Back to the chickens (I'll tell you about Katey, the jump roap and the heifer later). Britt and I were exporing as was our job at the time. It usually meant going to the farm to see if we could beg a tour of the grey barn. We saw this hen. She was limping or something. Just not right. We figured that to be nice, we'd catch the hen and show Stanley or Adolph so they could fix her. To make a long story short, we were caught "chasing chickens" and sent home. I was horrified. I was in love with everything about that place and it stuck that I was thought as mean enough to do that to them.

If I had Claire with me then... things would have been different. She doesn't have this fear of failure and she has this uncanny ability to walk up to any chicken and pick it up. She has even trained one of her birds (Salea) to swing on a swing with little protest. Chicken chores generally mean she hasn't collected eggs yet, or fed or watered them. She is basically on the floor of the chicken coop talking to and holding one of her birds... Mean old mum then has to open the window and ask if chores are done yet! She loves those birds.

No comments: