I have decided to take it personally. Wouldn’t you? I very specifically said PULLETS ONLY. FEMALES. Right? AUTO SEXED FEMALES. Not a complicated request. To the question, what if not enough AUTO SEXED FEMALES are hatched? I said, I would take SEX-LINKED FEMALES.
The chicks arrived. I opened the box, and gently removed them into the temporary brooder. I noted to Carl that three of the chicks looked alike, and one not. In fact, that one looked remarkably like Cordelia did two years ago when s/he hatched, whom later we dubbed Cornelius. . ..
I called the nameless hatchery where I will NEVER (heard that before?) order from again. I sent a photo. Apparently, there is a question about one of the trio of chicks. One might be a boy. But the lighter colored one? “Without a doubt, that’s a cockerel”.
Let’s take a deep breath. OM. Possibly two boys when there should have been no question of four girls. According to the nameless hatchery, I need not worry. Cream legbar chickens are in demand. Rare. When they are six weeks old, I can put them on Craig’s list. It’s practically guaranteed someone will buy them.
No. If by now no one else understands, I do. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Once those chicks hatched, even before they were put in the box and sent here via USPS, they became my responsibility. Sell them? Do you not remember my angst two posts ago about ordering them in the first place? Do you really thing I’d sell my responsibility to any one? Strangers. Leaving the tyke to who knows what possible fate?
That evening, after dusk, I opened the nesting box where Panda sat, still determined and dreamy-eyed. I shoved the chicks under her, removed the wooden eggs and shut the door. Fate would have its way.
The next morning, Panda was in Mother Hen modus operandi. The days passed in happy oblivion. One afternoon, CooLots waddled by me. I could no longer ignore it. She had a golf ball sized, hard as rock sh** clinging to her rear. To heck with happy eggs! This is why I got chickens: for the stress of adoption and the pleasure of compost tea hens.
CooLots and I took care of her sanitary situation. Once I caught her—no easy task, given Big Red’s skill at playing the part of defense. But once in my arms, CooLots semi-settled down, perhaps remembering that she had survived our, um, tete-a-tete of two summers ago.
I lowered the hen into a bucket of warm water, soothing her with my dulcet tones of reassurance even as I pulled and tugged at the age-old crap that would not release its grip of her downy feathers.
And two showers but the memory lingers and frankly I’ve had it with chickens as I am sure everyone and anyone here at this blog has, and whatever happened to the Stone Age Redux Blog? Like a chicken chasing a bug, I daftly go about writing this blog without an outline or direction. That was what the Stone Age Redux Blog title was supposed to do. Make the blog serious. Purposeful. Activist like.
All lost in the hurly burly of life. And writer’s block. And chickens.
Thus, I have decided that I am not a writer. Nor an activist. I am starting from scratch. I am going to change, morph into a self-accepting, nonjudgmental, non-chicken dominated person who writes and plays the flute and is calm. In short, a new person. I’m very excited about this transformation to a new spirituality that I’ve been thinking about lately. Along with the laws of thermodynamics. And book burning.
I almost had back at the book. Then the thought came to me, how hard it’s going to be to entirely rework it, and I stopped. Actually, I paused. I reminded myself of the Anne Lamont mantra “bird by bird”. But that got me thinking about you know what.
And so, to get the creative juices flowing, I decided to post something on my blog and here I am. C’est moi. As yet the same but ever with the hope of becoming better.
Which, we all do. Every day. If we make the effort. We get better and better every day. Like a fine wine. Like the mantra above my desk says.
But until I figure myself out, and where I stand on the issue I hold most dear—the survival of the world if (almost certainly) not our species—I need to be quite firm in my own self and where I am in the world. Specifically Darwin’s View. I need to know what I’m willing to give up, sacrifice. Too many people are made to make that decision without the comfort of time and thought. That’s part of my privilege. But I’m taking an awfully long time. This change has been going on for five years. I’m closer. I’m clearer. To the realities of life and death. Of our world and the dying species and our own obtuseness and blindness to the simple answers of compassion and voluntary sacrifice that existed during World War II. And after the Hurricane of 1938. People gave of themselves.
I haven’t been. I mean, I do but not in a big way. It’s hard to give of oneself in a big way when fighting chaos. The inner chaos. The outer. Thus, Carl and I consulted a Feng Shui expert a couple of days ago. After looking at the photos of Darwin’s View, she suggested we might be feeling overwhelmed and unbalanced.
Results: I put up curtains in my office and faced the computer to the wall. The difference is immense. I’m no longer stunned every few moments when I look out at the view. A quiet blank wall is a reprieve.
With such success behind me, I’m going to work on decluttering the house. I note: Carl is remarkably like Big Red in his protectiveness of where I set my sites: his basement. And so I will go to the “attic”.
Freud would have a fine time with that, wouldn’t he?
And now to conclude where I began: with the chicks. Two afternoons ago, I noted that Big Boy, like his aunt, CooLots, had pasty butt. And Panda was shoving him toward me, as if to say take a bath, young man.
Unlike his aunt and his sisters, he was without protest when I picked him up. He didn’t try to run away. He peeped and attempted to hide in my hair. I held him carefully, bringing him into the house for a warm bathing of his rear. All tidied up, I returned him to his mother who bustled about, directing him under her to bask in her warmth and his cleanliness.
He died. Yes. He was dead next to the nesting box the next morning. I don’t think he caught cold from his bath. Thinking back, I believe something was wrong with him. Panda wasn’t encouraging him to clean up. She was, in fact, pushing him out of the nest. His acceptance in being picked up was more a resignation. And, studying his corpse, I saw some unformed skin, a gash in his chest.
Too, the rain will aide in decomposition and rebirth. It will sustain all the leaf and root and fruits that we have planted in the last weeks. And Carl’s orchard trees and pines.
Though it is highly doubtful the dried out and as yet unplanted asparagus will rebound. Once again, we have managed to kill the plants bought with high hopes.
But as we like to say around here, “Hope never dies.”
“No, Tory,” Carl corrects me. “Hope springs eternal.”