I don’t remember a season when I have been as busy and stretched thin as I have since early December. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize COVID knocked more out of me than I was willing to admit. Whether I paid attention or not, whether I slowed down or not, after COVID, it took so much more energy to do whatever was in front of me. I have hardly written. There are people I love I’ve lost touch with. These days and months haven’t been bad but they have been really hard with more deaths and funerals than I want to remember. There have been more times than I care to count, when I took care of everything directly in front of me and then sat by the fireplace and stared into space, too tired to do anything else.
With Holy Week and the Sunday of the Resurrection now behind me, I am slowly finding my way back into a life that feels more familiar and at least a little more settled. I return with some new insights. Along with finishing raising the chickens we were entrusted with in October, I have also raised Bean and Berry, a pair of African Geese who came to live with us when they were 3 days old and are learning to guard the hen yard from air predators. In case you didn’t know it, geese poop. A LOT! Whilst adding them to the menagerie meant more work, tending to the farm animals who share our life has been the most grounding, joyful daily responsibility I have accepted in a long time.
I’ve been wondering why that was so. The best I can understand why it has been so good is because this is all so incarnational. I must ensure there’s good air circulation in the coop to prevent ammonia vapors from building up and affecting the health of the chicken ladies. I’m using the deep litter method to help with this which means weekly, I pick up a shovel and turn all the pine shavings over and add some more. Then, I scatter something called diatomaceous clay on the litter, as well as herbs and a dry flower mix that helps keep mites and lice at bay. There is utter satisfaction when I finish that work each Saturday and stand in the coop that is so sweet smelling, so fragrant. Daily feeding, daily starting a new batch of feed that needs to ferment for three days, and now, daily picking 5 or 6 extraordinarily beautiful eggs. The list goes on. And it is heaven!
Reinita, Duchess, La Pecas, and Canelita
Perlita, our escape artist par excellence and our endless explorer
Abundance–I feel like I need to thank my girls every time I gather their eggs
The geese have required some different chores. O.M.G., the nasty messes I have cleaned up. We take daily walks in the clover patch out in one of our fields so they can eat to their hearts’ content. One is grown up enough to honk and both follow me around like puppies when they are out of the hen yard. Because I spend a fair amount of time out in the field, Sunny and Gilbert, our cats, also come out and now have occasional standoffs with Bean and Berry. I still work out on the elliptical from heck, but the physical labor that comes with tending to farm animals is different, especially because I experience the immediate satisfaction that comes when I think, “everyone’s fed. Everyone’s safely put up for the night. The coop is hospitable and healthy for another week.” Without this part of my life, I might have buckled under the weight of these past months.
Bean and Berry Who Still Think I Am Mother Goose
The new program we are preparing to launch at my church, the “Many Colors Arts Collective” is close to beginning to come to fruition. We will pilot the model of arts-based day programming for people who are cognitive or neuro-sensory divergent this summer and then plan to formally launch in September. That fragile and remarkably resilient and strong parish I get to serve is also on the move.
After a couple of serious health scares, Sherod is doing as well as he ever does. I don’t take a single day with him for granted. I have a night meeting tonight so I will go into work a little later today. A while ago, we took our dogs and our coffee to hang with the geese and watch our chicken girls do their morning thing. Standing next to him, feeling his warmth and sharing amusement at all the antics around us, I was very aware that my deep fear of the inevitability of loss was not nearly as strong as the sense of pure contentment.
I’m hoping I’ll get to come back to more regular writing but I am also more accepting of the fact that my life ebbs and flows in very unexpected ways now. Here are some pictures of that life until I am back here again.
Sunny and the Goose
Our Beloved Mo and Tux
As Night Falls On Our Finquita