Last week we had so many beautiful days in the Berkshires. One day I decided to take my sandwich out and have lunch with the Ladies. The sun had not quite hit the run yet so I was looking forward to watching the chicken sunbathing start. In the meantime, I brought them a few chunks of apples. This was new to them so I was treated to a lengthy discussion about what these could possibly be. Bella and JiJi - always the more cautious about new things were clucking in mild alarm. Luna was peeping with interest - head cocked to get the best view of this new thing. And Ebony was right there, ready to check everything out and let the others know. She's always been the first to try new things. Always alert but brave. So Ebony tried the apple. The others, then being convinced it was not a strange red monster, tucked right in and had some too. Shortly after, the first rays hit the run and Ebony immediately collapsed into her sunbathing posture. And I just sat quietly, simply watching.
Jiji, Ebony, and Luna looking for new foods
There is something simple yet profound and satisfying about doing a good job and getting (relatively) immediate results. Making good choices about what to feed the chicks and figuring out how to keep them warm and clean resulted in seeing them grow. And fast! With our new Lady - Lacy - it was easy to see that our efforts to make sure she was comfortable and happy (even though in quarantine) resulted in eggs. So many things in our lives these days don't show us results so quickly. It makes everything seem complicated but some of the best things are simple. It's a nice thing to see results.
Lacy's first egg for us
And there is joy in the little chores. As anyone knows me can tell you, I am not a morning person. Or at least I wasn't until we got the Ladies. When they first arrived, I would get up early to make sure they had survived the night. Then when that worry subsided, I found I was still getting up early. Mind you I still need my coffee. But then I'm throwing on some jeans and a sweatshirt to go get the Ladies started on their day. No one could have convinced me how pleasant it is to stand there in the yard in the quiet of the morning. See the moon still high in the brightening sky, watching the sun light up the morning clouds and hearing the Ladies scratching around. The simplicity of the beginning of a new day. It happens seven times a week, and until we had the Ladies - I had missed it. Or at least hadn't slowed down enough to enjoy it.
Ok, so maybe cleaning out the coop isn't the most glamorous job, but I do love that as I take care of my "chambermaid" duties, Luna comes to greet me and to inspect my work. It is a little harder to clean a coop with a beak in your face. But simple and sweet all the same.
Good Morning Luna!
Last weekend I was feeling guilty about Lacy being stuck in quarantine in the garage during such beautiful fall weather. We decided it would be safe for the rest of the flock if we took her out to the other side of the yard for some fresh air. Again - I found joy in this simple thing. Lacy was over the moon, scratching around in the garden and taking a dust bath. Once I realized she was happy dust bathing and I didn't have to shepherd, I lay down on my stomach in the grass, soaking in the sun. I can't remember when I last did that. Boy did it feel good. Such a simple thing. Now we do it when ever we have time and it's nice enough.
Lacy supremely content in the garden
I think the thing that gives me the most joy is just watching the Ladies doing what Chickens just naturally do. It seems closer to nature. We have a dog and a cat, but they are much more domesticated and usually do what we have trained them to do. Don't get me wrong, I know chickens are domesticated and not wild animals. But the Ladies just do their chicken things. Sure they come running if they think I have a treat but the rest is just instinct for them. Whether it be scratching in the dirt and leaves, running for cover at a new sound, taking a dust bath, collapsing into a funny sunbathing heap as soon as the warm rays of the sun hit them, or working out their hierarchy with a few pecks and posturing - that's their thing. I have nothing to do with it. I didn't have to teach them this. It's simple. They've known how to do it since they were a few days old. There's something very cool about that.
Chicks gotta sunbathe!