GAYS MILLS - We are getting more and more settled into our new home and find ourselves diving head first into all sorts of things.
Just this morning, I paid a little socially distant visit to pick up some baby chicks from a friend.
Thatcher has turned into quite the chicken man. After the sellers left their eight laying hens, Thatcher immediately regained his interest in the feathered friends.
He has long since been a chicken lover. The first two words he strung together being ‘buck buck,’ the sound the chicken makes. Something about the excited peeping of the little birds really got him going today.
Luckily for us, the chickens that the sellers left all seem to be fairly well behaved. They don’t poop on the patio or pergola and they adhere to the hours of their automatic door opener. And, perhaps the biggest bonus, they are all gentle hens.
However, Thatcher, the child with the world’s largest imagination, seems to have decided that one of the birds is not to be trusted.
“You see that chicken over there mama?” He asked me one morning with the kind of suspicion reserved for a wild west sheriff watching a potential lowdown-no-good-so-and-so riding into his town.
“That chicken over there is the Mean Eyed Chicken,” Thatcher informed me. “It’s got short fat chubby little legs and a MEAN EYE!” He squealed and waved his arms for emphasis.
“Did it do something to you? Did it chase you away from the coop?” I questioned.
“No, it just looked at me with its mean eye and its short chubby little legs. I didn’t like that,” the boy explained. “I suggest it looks at somebody else with that mean eye.”
Despite his beef with the Mean Eyed Chicken, he still is rather attached to his flock. For instance, when I suggested giving old Mean Eye to his Aunt Rita, he instantly burst into tears over the prospect.
The job of collecting the eggs from our brood has become his and it is one he seems to rather enjoy.
Today, Thatcher heard one of the hens clucking up a storm because our puppy Queenie was in the coop, while she was trying to lay. He quickly ran in there to remove the dog. It didn’t help much because he stood there, patiently waiting for the hen to remove herself from the laying box–so he could harvest the still warm egg from where she made her deposit.
All of the issues going on in the world of large scale livestock production seems to only reassure me of my choice to have a little farmstead of my own.
I am beginning to be under the impression that everyone else has taken to the dream of farming at this moment too. Within the last week, due to incredible demands, I’ve made an order for a second round of meat chickens before my first have even hatched. I also got on the schedule to have three hogs butchered in January 2021, even though their hooves have not touched my pasture yet. Both people I spoke to on the phone sounded busy and a little stressed, but were Midwest Polite nonetheless.
As things surge at the moment, it certainly may be a bit stressful. Yet, off in the distance somewhere, we can all look at a whole new dynamic of our life–especially right here where we live.
We are surrounded by so many farmers who are working to stay small, treat their animals and slice of earth well and feed the rest of us. It seems chaotic now, but I am hopeful it can be a blessing in disguise. It can inspire us to think more about the food we eat, where it comes from and who is raising it. Realize that when we spend a few bucks more on locally produced products, we are putting money into the pockets of our friend and in turn, getting a far superior product.Connecting with your neighborhood farmer has never been easier than it is right now as well. Hop on Facebook, call your local locker, or probably even read about in this very paper. Reach out, connect, and support each other and protect the future of our community.