Saturday, March 22, 2003

The Beginning :: Chicas

Here is our Rosie, curious as ever. We ate our sandwich dinner outside last night, and all the chicas circled our feet demanding corn chips. These girls are indulged! Suddenly I recalled that we must be close to their coming home anniversary. I was right, yesterday marked one full year since the day I came home with four bitty chicks in a brown lunch sack. For 4 or 6 years I had been infatuated with the idea of having chickens. I wanted to hear their murmuring, rummaging, scratching, cluck-clucks. I wanted to see their feather fluff and head bobbing scurry in the garden, on a fence rail, under shrubs and in the sand. Alas, I had not the courage, and was very much discouraged; friends and family gave me a litany of rationales for not keeping chickens.

Even when we came here, to El Rancho, to our mighty-mini farm, Geoff cautioned me with practical evidence: 'we have no coop, we have no clue, where, how?' and he added hopefully, 'wait.' I was vaguely discontented looking across our dry and bare acres. What kind of ranchers were we, with only two cats and one goldfish?

It was when I had two hours to myself (too rare) that my inner voice rose up and was heard. Janice, what a friend, came to relieve me from my domestic duties, "Get out of here," she said. "Go do something nice for yourself. The boys and I are going to bake cookies and we don't want to see you here 'til 1o'clock." And she sent me out in to the world with my inner voice. And my inner voice said: "Go to the feed store!"

There are several feed stores within range of our home and I know them all. I love the sacks of sweet, dusty grain, the rows of bottles, dishes, trays, and bowls. The bulletin boards with found dog notices, horses for sale, goat to a good home. The store cats, plump and contented, obliging you with a rub on your pant leg. Mice, so small and sleek, moving like scattered marbles, running everywhere in their terrarium world. And on this warm Spring day, in the back of the store, by the wide open double doors, are the heated and stacked incubators alive and chirping with dozens and dozens of chicks. Delight. Delight. Delight. And my inner voice asks, "What could be wrong with something that makes you so happy?"

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