Lest you think I have a chicken foot fetish, I thought I'd share another view of chickens I enjoy.
I like chicken butts and I cannot lie. They're just so fluffy and out there.
You know what else I like?
Catching bugs in the act of making new bugs. Bring it on, ladybugs, though I know one of you isn't really a lady at all. Did you know ladybugs are toxic to some animals? Yes, indeed. My neighbors informed me of this fact last year after a field trip to our local eco-center, and this year we've confirmed it through observation. The chickens give the ladybugs a wide berth. The current ladybug population in our backyard is a very good sign - I expect we'll be swarming with them in a few months. Aphids, beware.
As I was planting peas this morning, using seeds I saved from my garden last year, Aidan asked me, "Mom, are we farmers?"
I'd hardly write it down as my occupation on our tax return, but I'd certainly count it as a hobby. We get to play farm, on a very small scale, for fun. If our seeds don't grow, we won't go hungry. If our chickens don't lay, we won't go belly up. Whether we fail or succeed, we enjoy ourselves, and boy, oh boy do we learn. Our garden is our classroom as well as our sanctuary. We derive immense joy from watching our chickens scratch. We hip-hip-hooray when our perennials come back, when our trees bud and blossom, and when our eight chickens give us eight eggs in one day. Nothing tastes quite so delicious as a snack from the garden. Yesterday I made egg salad with chimichurri sauce, using freshly picked cilantro, thyme and oregano from my front yard. Today I will harvest a handful of snow peas from a volunteer plant to snack on. Tomorrow I will plant a few hundred seeds that arrived in the mail today, including marshmallow, black cumin, bread seed poppy, caraway, dill, licorice, fennel and even henna. I lie awake at night planning where I'll plant what, excited to get up in the morning, take my coffee outside and get my hands dirty. It's just about the best life I could imagine for myself and my family.