Saturday, June 12, 2010
Finding Balance in the Oddest Places
When the call came from the local post office that we had received a peeping package, we rushed to pick up our tiny box of 26 one day old chicks. We felt quite smart for a short while until we realized weeks later that chicks can be purchased individually from Agway this time of year. Nevertheless, we were now the proud owners of a fairly large flock of birds. They have provided us with eggs dependably ever since and thanks to Dexter neither I nor my neighbors have ever woken up late or slept in!
This was the first coop cleaning of the spring and the task at hand glamorously involved chiseling away at months of chicken waste. The process is time consuming, back breaking, and bicep building. Aside from the overpowering odor which seems to draw oxygen from the lungs, the process is admittedly gratifying. With the neck of my t-shirt pulled up over my mouth and nose to protect what waning lung capacity I had left, my mind wandered onto all the folks soaking up the sun on shorelines around the country on this reverent holiday. I thought of my friends and family who were likely on the Cape showering sand off their sun kissed babies and getting dressed for seafood dinners. I wondered for a moment why I chose this lifestyle over one that more easily accommodates impromptu vacations and relaxation over three day weekends. Then I remembered one of my favorite quotes from a commentary by Andy Rooney. He said “Eating is good, sleeping is good and playing is good but work is best”.
Our faithful flock of healthy, free range hens dots our landscape and adds a balanced layer of activity and tranquility to our farm. Dexter has grown into a perfect gentleman -proudly policing the yard and continuing to prove the naysayers wrong who assured us of his inevitable hostility toward humans. Their ceremony of going home to roost as the sun sets is often the only predictable outcome I can count on in a day.
As I finished the coop, I stood back to inspect my work - dirty, sweaty and tired but proud. I would have enjoyed some time on the beach that weekend, but that time comes too, and on this day I was glad for the undertaking and the resulting sense of accomplishment.