Monday, July 21, 2008

It's Not All About Chickens

Real quick, before I figure out where to send the children to school, before I pay bills, before I make breakfast or floss, or clear the clogged bathroom drain, I wanted to share some pictures. If you think that my chickens are just an excuse to avoid tough jobs and responsibilities, if you think I am looking for excuses and diversions, well you are totally wrong! I would never shirk duties, delay, tarry, procrastinate, or run screaming from domestic delights. After I edit chicken pictures, and write poems in their honor, I am going straight to the kitchen to whip-up a healthy, balanced breakfast, and then I am going to find my tools and attack that drain. I may even clean the trunk of the Odyssey, where a gallon of milk was left hidden beneath the stroller, forgotten for 3 or 4 days. (Everyone: Stand back! Anne, I think we made cheese!)

You don't have to say it. I will say it for you: Those are some freaky-feathered fowl! Buttercup and Fantam the Bantam are 2 of the most funky, awkward, goofy looking adolescent birds ever. They crack me up, with their feather spurts and silly gaits. They are a pair, happiest when they are side by side. The boys chose well when they named the Bantam "Fantam, the Dark Bantam." She has remained true to her name. She is a dark and comic character, a whimsical Fantam. The Golden Wyandotte, that I named Buttercup, is getting darker by the day and we have added Peanut to the Buttercup, which suits her better. Peanutbuttercup is as comical as her sister, though a slightly better flyer.

There was a brief time when we were concerned that Maria would remain fearful of the outdoors, dirt and nature. She has overcome all reluctance to be one with nature, to walk barefooted across leaves and sand and weeds. She catches chicks and hens and puts them in their place. She plucks tomatoes from the barrel garden and eats them hot from the vine. She deadheads marigolds, gathers weeds for Joe and she welcomes chicks to perch, wherever they may, because she is a farm girl, cowgirl, a chickengirl, through and through.

Amelia and Betty are doing fine. Maria holds Betty and says, "I just love you Betty," and she tells us, "Betty's my best friend." Like the 2 chicks, Betty and Amelia are happiest when they are together. If you can catch one it's as good as getting both. Amelia will come along sooner or later if you are holding Betty in the swing.

Our summer has quieted down a bit. We are enjoying our evenings, and appreciating the pleasure of our time together.

("Quited down?" I'm not sure what I meant by that. The summer has not been noisy. Maybe it was the worry and rush of unexpected news, travel, the daily anxiety of not knowing where we are going to move. Thinking out loud: I am glad to recognize those moments when it feels as though things have quieted down, so I think I will stop trying to overanalyze this now.)

This may be censored, so look now. I cannot help but snicker at her (Me, not the hen) and think: She's one of those crazy ladies that starts to look like her pets. Snort. To be kind, I will add: Why not? It's a pretty good looking hen.

Sitting atop our picnic table-turned chicken coop, Maria subdues her hen and tells me how it's done. "Be careful, like this," she instructs, and she gently strokes Amelia's pretty feathers.

Maria likes Lady Betty Orpington best, and it makes me glad that Betty is so sweet and docile.

Maria, looking every bit the farm girl in her beautiful apron from Kim. Can you see where Kim added the image of Pip, Lola and Betty, among the daisies? Maria loves daisies and the chicks. She remembers Pip and Lola and reverently tells anyone their stories. Pip is a rooster and went to live with other roosters, and Lola is part of the flowers, in her own little garden. I guess there are many lessons to learn when you are going to be a farm girl. Maria is taking it all in stride.

Mr. Potato Head, a family staple since 2001. We've gotten more mileage out of this toy than I ever expected a family could get mileage from a plastic potato and assorted parts. I threw this one in, because 1. Alex is handsome and sweet and good. 2. Maria adores Alex and Mr. Potato Head. 3. I wanted to prove that I can think of something other than chickens.

The End


Mama Spark said...

These pictures are great. I feel like I know those chickens too. Maria looks so cute in her apron. Even more like a farm girl with her chickens!!

d.a. said...

The cuteness! Oh!

*keels over from cuteness overwhelm*

[-love- those photos!]

Jennifer said...

I cannot begin to express the great pleasure it gives me to know that I am not the only one who forgot milk in the car until it was too. late. I mean, it's a shame, and all, wasting good and expensive things like milk, but I take great comfort (really, that's the right word) knowing that it just happens. Loving the chickens, the children, the reports of summer (or, as they say around here, "summah").


Tracy said...

Hi, Natalie! So good to catch up with you here...I've been online a little less thesedays...But such fun to see all this kids & chicken goodness today! That bird on your shoulder has be laughing my socks off! The kids have the summer happy look...and Maria is an angel in her pretty apron...Happy Summer Days to you all ((HUGS))

Sam I Am said...

HI Natalie!!!
Thank you SO much for your posts on my blog :)
I LOVEEEEE Chickens!!! We had them when we lived in NY!! My mother decided to get our kids CHICKS for easter!!
We ended up with 4 hens and 2 big white roosters..and i sooooo loved watching them roam around our yard..pecking and 'talking' to each other :)
I soooo miss those days :(
HOw long have you had yours??
Their eggs were the freshest we've ever had.. i HATE now having to PURCHASE eggs from the store! It makes me sick! lol

Again..thanks for dropping by.. so nice to 'meet' you too :)

calamitykim said...

dang! now that is CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love her sweet smiling face!
I am so happy to see her loving the apron! I am glad it fits! The pattern has different sizes so I can make her new sizes as she gets taller! You are like my sister- do you know that? we look a like too!- except you are younger and thinner! I wish you would write a book about your life- just change the names and tell the story. You are like the only person I know who can use moribund in a sentence!
I love you.