Oct 14, 2008

A lousy farmer, that is

In the farm paradise piece below, I started to write about the thrill of harvesting our first 3 eggs from the 6 new chickens we bought yesterday, when I realized I'd forgotten to get them safely locked into the chicken coop for the night. After 1 hour with a flashlight scouring our land (and cursing how big 5 acres really is), I managed to find and carry 3 of the 6 back to their new home. When Sarah gets back from yoga we'll go look again, but I deeply fear I've made easy prey for the raccoons, ravens and minks tonight.

Not that I love chickens in any deep way - picking them up still scares me, to be honest - but I'm feeling more than just a loss of eggs and investment ($10 each). We're slowly embracing the real responsibility we've taken on to steward this land - growing food sustainably, managing the forested area, protecting the creek - and even more so to steward the animals. In my first night as a chicken farmer, I've failed to protect half of my flock. And the 3 I did find did nothing to assuage my guilty conscience - these same birds who feistily pecked then ran away as we tried to put them in transport cages yesterday were scared little baby birds tonight, sitting docile and relieved to have Papa Ricky carry them to safety, giving me that same "all the other mommies were here on time" look our kids give us when we're late at school pick-up.

Some couples get a puppy to see if they could handle a baby. Good thing they don't start with chickens, or we'd have a serious population decrease to deal with.

PS - an hour later now, Sarah and I did find one of the missing 3, but not before the raccoons had found her. We just hope the other 2 found better hiding spots, and that they forgive me more easily than i'll forgive myself.

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