1. FRESH AIR
Every morning, Isabella and I slip on our rubber boots and winter coats. Then we trod out to the chicken coop, a.k.a. the Chicken Chalet, and see if the girls have laid any eggs. That crisp morning air tastes so good and the pine bedding and alfalfa in the coop smells great. There’s a certain sweetness to the smell of alfalfa straw. When I go to Tractor Supply, I like to sniff all the bales of hay and straw. It’s delightful…and maybe a little weird.
By afternoon, I’m missing my girls’ sweet feathery faces, so Bella and I boot-up and head out to the coop. We pet Tiffany and Lily, check their water supply, and feed levels. In the evening when the girls are settling down on their perch, I open the back door to say goodnight. I stroke the feathers around their necks and they coo a soft “bawk, bawk, bawk.” To which I’ve translated, “Goodnight Mommy.”
We haven’t staked the chickens’ fencing around the coop yet, so naturally I feel bad for them. What chicken wants to be stuck in their coop all day? So while my mother was over, we let the girls roam our un-fenced backyard. It went well. We kept them corralled on my property and were able to put them back into the Chalet without a hitch. So when Jonathan came home from work I thought, Let’s do it again! So we opened the door and the girls hopped out. It was going fine, until Isabella grabbed a stick and began to chase the birds. I’m yelling, “Stop Bella!” But now she’s laughing and having a blast at seeing those chickens flap and run. I suppose to a two-year-old, chasing chickens is a real adventure. However, Isabella was spooking them the wrong way. I tried to jump in front of the girls, but those wily hens sidestepped me and proceeded to scamper up the lawn of my neighbor behind us. They were really booking it and my heart was pumping. I thought, Please don’t let my neighbor look out his window and see me chasing my chickens through his yard! While Jonathan apprehended Bella and her stick, I managed to herd the girls against my neighbor’s fence and shoo them in the opposite direction. Flapping and bawking, they made their way back onto our yard. Lord have mercy! What a workout. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.
The next day, the chickens played in my garage.
3. NUTURING OUTLET
In December, Jonathan and I suffered a very sad tragedy. I was two and half months pregnant, when we learned that our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. It has been devastating for us. Grieving the loss of a child is the deepest pain I’ve ever experienced. Our baby was expected to be born on July 9th and now I’m restricted from getting pregnant until possibly July due to the medical issues that were connected with my molar miscarriage. My sorrow and longing for a baby has been indeed great. But oddly enough, adopting these two chickens has been like balm to my broken heart. Nurturing and caring for them has been a new and unexpected way of coping with my grief. When I hold my chickens, lovingly stroke their feathers, see their eyes close, and feel a soft purr in their chest, I feel happy.
At first, I was overwhelmed that if we wanted the two hens, we had to pick them up within a week. But my spontaneous-no-worries husband was confident that we could pull it off. I’m glad I trusted his judgment.
Tiffany and Lily needed a home, but the truth is…I needed them too.