I make the less-than-quarter-mile walk to the chicken pen, trying to use all of my senses between here and there, take it all in, imprint it on my skin, looking for what I can notice this morning. The air is slightly cool and slightly damp. I breathe it in, smell it, relish the feel of it. The cattails are prominent now in the ditches. They remind me of my grandparents for some reason. I think maybe they had dried cattails as something decorative in their farmhouse. That house is gone now, a new one built in its place by the new owners. I wish grandma & grandpa had been able to stay on the farm longer, long enough for me to grow up and buy it from them.
I reach the chicken pen, survey for any suprises this morning. No dead chickens, no lame chickens, no dumpy looking chickens. All is well. Sometimes Ike is asleep in the shed, a chicken or three perched on top of him. Today he’s awake, calmly surveying his territory, a benevolent king and his defenseless flock.
The chickens come to the feeders as I fill and set them out. They aren’t rushing the feeders, which tells me we’re giving them the right amount of feed. Don’t want to under or overfeed them. Some continue to rest on the east side of the shed, soaking in the morning sun. Others explore the grass, pecking for bugs and weed seeds as chickens should do. A few are still inside the shed, until Ike gets frisky and chases them out. I smile. That’s good for them, get them moving. I wonder if Ike’s presence makes for healthier chickens. I like to think it does, that they feel protected and calm and that this helps keep them well.
A chicken helping Ike out with his grooming
On the walk home I notice horse prints. Probably the neighbor out for a ride. Sounds like fun. (I find further evidence when I get home – a pile of road apples in the yard – but find out later it wasn’t the neighbor but some lost horses visiting us in the night.)
I’m trying to be more observant, trying to tell the everyday stories. Being observant leads to gratitude. Being observant keeps me living in the moment more. And the storytelling somehow feels like connection.
1 year ago: