Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Meet our Chickens
We picked out two, a black one and a brown one, an Ostralorp and an Americauna respectively, and set them up in a big cardboard box in our garage with a heatlamp (repurposed from my photo lighting equipment, actually), a feeder, and water dish. We named the black one Lily and the brown Violet. They were just little peepers when we brought them home, small enough for both to make the move from the feed store in the sort of brown paper bag you send your kids' lunch in, and not yet heavy enough to even crinkle the bag's bottom.
The soft fuzz they were covered in their first week has slowly given way to glossy feathers, leaving only their heads patchy and balding where the fuzz has ebbed. Then last night, when I went to check on them, Violet's head had suddenly bloomed with a strong coat of ginger feathers, seemingly from nowhere. It's just so startling to see something grow before your eyes. I feel like I'm caught in a time lapse video somehow, the world spinning like a child's globe, flowers blooming from seed.
Since they'll have far outgrown their box by the end of this week, we've been working on setting up a coop for them to transfer to. It's down to only finishing touches at this point: the wire is on and stretched taut, but the door is still missing, they've got a box to roost in but no roosts.
This is to say that while I haven't been writing about food on the blog--a whole month has slipped away, somehow--we've still been busily approaching this idea of homestead which brought us out here in the first place. I feel with our transition into gardening and raising our own birds this year--expect egg recipes galore when the girls start laying around September--we've crossed some line in food that I hadn't really conceptualized. We're going from consumers, perpetual supermarket shoppers, and amateur gourmets (props) to cultivators of earth.
Along one the side of the house, tulips are dancing a slow masquerade, and the waxen leaves of strawberry plants shelter small red fruits as vibrant as songs, on the other side grape vines bolstered by the suddenly torrential spring rains wind like a breeze through the slats of a fence. Nearby our little lemon sapling pushes up, up toward the sunlight pushing back.
It is April here, and the air is hot or cold day to day with little pattern. We let the chickens perch on our fingers while we lay in the grass, we sow wildflower seeds in the good earth, the sky builds--fraying white along the edges--toward the inexorable heat of the summer to come.