I now have a new appreciation for the wonderful humble chicken. I have never been a meat eater and my experience of eggs have always been that of neat 12 packs on a supermarket shelf. I must admit I have never given it alot of thought. Growing up and living in a city all my life , one never contemplates the idea of keeping chickens. Still I have always loved the idea. I use to indulge my fantasies by buying books on country living, keeping chickens and other such wonderful heart warming ideals. I do know that for some women - this would be a nightmare. Cleaning out chicken coops, dealing with chicken poop etc. But I have come to understand that I have been wired differently - some genetic throwback to another time that survived the upbringing in a fast paced city.I have always wanted to live a life that was simple , close to the earth and grounded. One does tend to give up the dream - on days trapped behind a computer looking out at a world of tall buildings, traffic jams and skyscrapers. I never openly shared this dream for to do so - would invite ridicule. It was incomprehensible to the world I had come from - the people I worked with - how anyone would want a life that was "pushed back into the dark ages ". The very notion that I wanted to grow my own food ,make my own soap, keep chickens, spin and weave my own wool or bake homemade bread was ridiculous. It was considered a sheer waste of time. In contrast- trolling the newspapers for real estate investments or checking the stock market or making numerous circuits around the local mall was not. Yes - I was wired differently.
It was wonderful to find a soul mate who not only shared my dreams but relished in them too. We work side by side as we plant a vegetable garden and plan a life that is off the beaten track but true to ourselves. Our little collection of 5 hens and 1 rooster bless us daily with fresh eggs. Little brown ones - warm from a bed of hay and a little blue one from Chookie . Chookie has always been a little bit of a rebel- scooting out of the hen house at top speed and refusing to go back in. They share our world here...wandering about the farm. talking to us, making uncoordinated sprints across the field when they think its dinner time. It is hard to take life seriously with chickens about- it just cant be done. In many ways its cheap therapy.
I now feel for thousands of chickens trapped in cages and forced to lay eggs for supermarket shelves. I see more than ever the need to try to buy free range eggs. For chickens are not just egg producers- they are very much individuals with a personality and life force within them. Their size and humility does not take anything from what wonderful little additions they are to our lives.
Sitting on our front porch watching our chickens talk to each us and to each other, hurry about their way with a funny sense of urgency,or just "be". ASlice of heaven.
The world can keep its malls. I have time to waste.