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Hey chickadee, love the way you peck at my toes.

April 1, 2010

I can remember, way back when I was a little kidlet, going to my grandparents farm in Coushatta, Louisana. My grampa would get up every day at 5am to go tend the land and the animals. I ponder briefly the concept of starting my day at 5am and wonder what I’ve gotten myself into, and why.

I think of their life together. He chased my gramma around the house, face slathered in shaving cream, every morning after his chores, trying to kiss her. They’d slowed down a lot by the time I was old enough to commit these days to memory, so “chasing” really meant waddling or shuffling gingerly ’round the living room, getting a squooshy shaving cream smooch and then having a little rest on the recliner after such vigorous activities. They totally basked in their happiness and love for each other. Every day. From 5am until 8pm – when the day was winding down and they sat in their recliners with Buddy their dog, and gramma did her cross-stitch and grampa fell in and out of sleep while watching re-runs on TV and they had their ritual glass of buttermilk and saltines. Only the saltines were crumbled up and mixed into the buttermilk so it was extra chunky.

Now that’s country. I’m not sure I can hang with the buttermilk tincture. But the love and the basking and the shaving cream, sure.

One of my first visits out, my grampa hatched a little batch of chicken eggs for me, and I had baby chickies to look after while I was there. And every day we’d get up at 5am and tend the babies, then head out to the chicken coop to feed the hens and pick up their eggs. The first time I can remember going to the coop, I was about 4, I had sandals on and the hens were just ravenous after my teeny toes. Naturally, I was petrified – but looking back it must have been quite the kodak moment. Me, four, high stepping and hopping around shrieking.

It’s now one of my fondest memories and what I think about when J and I talk about having chickens on the ranch.

We’re starting to get serious about building a coop. We’re scoping out the space, deciding where it will go, how we want to construct it, how big it will be, etc. We’re thinking maybe 15 birds, and don’t have a particular breed in mind. We got approved by a couple of farm animal sanctuaries to adopt chickens… and my dreamboat of a dream bird: turkeys. So now we wait for some needy birds. Then comes the shaving cream and the shuffling and the soggy kisses the 50 years of wedded bliss from 5am until death do us part.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 9:10 pm

    Aww! What a sweet picture you’ve just drawn us, D! 🙂
    It sent me back to my great aunt and uncle’s farm in N. California, in the redwoods. We visited them there from earliest memory, and things like collecting eggs (warm, stuck with poop, feathers and straw), watching the pigeon flock circle once let out of their coop, milking the (were they really giant?) cows balanced on the tiny stool (head pressing into the warm, resilient and gurgling side, reaching for the stubborn teats, the missed shots, the patient snuffling and munching going on at one end, and the sudden showers of liquid manure from the other, the inevitable filthy cloven hoof landing right in the bucket …), climbing on the stored hay in the big barn …. Ah! Thanks for that! 🙂

  2. Momma permalink
    April 3, 2010 10:42 pm

    wow. misty eyes here in so-cal. Grandma and Grandpa would be delighted to see themselves through your eyes. Forever love – yes. Forever blissful – I’m afraid not. But that’s why we need and love love – it’s the glue that connects one gooey shaving cream kiss to the next, with nothing but bliss in the seams.

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