Tag Archives: chickens

The Rest of Yesterday’s Story

Yesterday I had a bit of a rant. I wasn’t sure whether or not to post it. It had the potential to come across as full-on ungratefulness for all I have, and I am astoundingly blessed. It hasn’t been that long since I felt astoundingly NOT blessed (to the point where Steve and I actually had the conversation, “Do you think we might be cursed? Because in the Bible, lives like ours mean you’re cursed…”)  and so I don’t take what I have now lightly.

But here’s the thing: every answered prayer brings with it parts that drive you bananas. And every “here’s a look at my life” blog (or book) brings the temptation to only show the parts where you’re crushing it – not the parts where it’s crushing you.

I don’t want to do that. As disappointing as it is to watch someone who has something you’d give ANYTHING to have complain about it, it’s even worse to witness their seemingly perfect life and wonder why you’re not as constantly chipper and celebratory and just as thrilled to be alive as they are.

I’ve had those thoughts.

Why aren’t I capturing our lives in heirloom-quality candid photographs? Why don’t I have a capsule wardrobe? Or a in-home craft corner? Or a partnership with artisans in emerging nations whose wares I feature on my blog? Why don’t we do game nights? What does it mean that Steve wants to give up on the 1000 piece puzzle we attempted during vacation but I want to leave it out because it means we can just eat dinner in the kitchen? WOULD WE BE HAPPIER IF WE HAD CHICKENS??? 

I’m not even kidding. I’ve actually wondered if our lives might be more peaceful & happy (and heirloom-quality photo worthy) if we installed a coop of pecking, pooping BIRDS in our backyard. Because nothing says SERENITY NOW! and HONEY, TAKE A PICTURE! like your dog’s mouth filled with the feathers of Clyde the Clucker. Thankfully, my sister reminded me of the time THAT NIECE came home from a farm visit covered in bird lice. That cured my chicken fantasy once and for all.

But why did I have it in the first place?

I share about the things I struggle with in an attempt to make my online life look a little bit like my actual life. Yes, I untag myself from unflattering Facebook pictures. But then I circle back and tell you that the tummy rolls are so out of hand, they require professional intervention. 

The other day, someone asked me, “Who reads your blog?” I thought for a moment and realized that in my imagination, you guys are curious about adoption, wondering about what faith looks like in the midst of real life, and/or just interested in an entertaining story.

All of these things have ups and downs, and none of them are true or encouraging or memorable if they skip the hard parts. But to be really good, they also need a satisfying ending that leaves the main character in a place the reader feels good about. So let me do that for you:

My day yesterday was not all bad. Yes, the morning was rainy and rocky and emotionally perhaps not my best (given that whole hiding out on the third floor thing.) But then it was REDEEMED. The sun came out. I had lunch with a friend. I’ll call her JESUS POWER GIRL because she is so openheartedly encouraging everywhere she goes. She was full-on hands in the air praising God for something right there at our lunch table in the middle of Cambridge yesterday (not a common sight, to put it mildly) and the people around us were all smiling and nodding because the happiness is so contagious when she’s around. Then she told me about when she had three teen boys living with her, and how she was grossed out for years by the household aftermath of those sweet, smelly young men. But now they’re successful, launched actual men, and it’s worth it.

And with that, I got my eye back on the ball.

Thanks for hanging with me when there are dips in the ride. I know they’re not as fun as the slow climb to new heights. But if someone told me about a roller coaster and didn’t mention that I’d be terrified and furious for significant parts of the experience, I’d find it hard to trust them.

I’d rather have you trust me than think I’m perfect.

Big Chicken News

I hadn’t planned to blog again today. Then this big chicken story broke.

Behold, Big Boss:

As a writer for CNN observed, “It’s like the prologue to a poultry-themed apocalypse novel.”

It demands a response.

First, let me establish my chicken credentials, so Big Boss knows who he is dealing with.

I have a rooster-themed spoon holder.

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And a Chickens Of the World dish towel.

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I welcome chickens from other countries.

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And celebrate differently-abled chickens.

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But Big Boss should notice some commonalities among my favorite chickens. A certain…fixedness. He should know that I am not a fan of chickens in motion.

Now the truth is, if Big Boss is breeding an army, it’s likely that he sees us as a viable target and might be plotting a takeover.

We need a plan, people.  Because even though my local supermarket can rotisserie this guy’s little cousins like nobody’s business…

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They either saved it for me or named it after me. Not sure which.

…and I’ve rumbled with a chicken or two myself

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R.I.P. Wonderful Gift Rooster. 

This may call for something bigger.

But never fear, friends.

We have Beyonce.

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On Truthful Blogging…and Chickens

I recently learned that there is a woman in my home state of Maine who earns a quarter of a million dollars a year blogging about chickens.

[Go ahead. Read that again. I had to see it a couple of times myself before it sank in.]

chickenHer name is Lisa Steele, and she runs “the largest natural chicken keeping resource on the internet.” I’ve been smiling about this for days, because I just think it’s so incredible. I mean, $250,000 a year to blog about chickens! Who ever said American wasn’t great???

(And no, that’s not a political comment, but rather an expression of awe and wonder that we live in a place where such WEIRD things can happen. I think that’s cool.)

Of course I went immediately to her website, Fresh Eggs Daily. It’s pretty spectacular, even for an avowed chicken-phobe like myself.

Discoveries like this pull me into exploration mode, and soon I was immersed in the online world of farming & homesteading.  This was a bit of a shock. Apparently, chickens are a thing. There are even jokes about how baby chicks are the gateway drug that quickly leads to piglets and milk cows! I kept blinking at my laptop, trying to imagine.

(By way of reference, I just threw away our latest failed attempt to grow chives. Who can’t grow a CHIVE?) The idea that people go out into the lonely countryside – on purpose – to spend their days raising creatures they eventually have to kill? I can’t even fathom. But I am intrigued!

Here’s what I noticed: the sites are pretty. They depict the slow-paced, bucolic rural life one might dream of on a morning commute on a Red Line train that’s stuck, mid-tunnel, deep in the bowels of Cambridge. Because when you’re packed in tight with that much sweaty, stressed humanity, and there’s that smell that tells you at least one rat has been fried on the third rail, a life of farm, flowers & feathers seems like the perfect antidote to all that is wrong with your world.

Lisa’s site even has a picture showing that her bird enclosure has a SWING (scroll down about halfway).  Do chickens swing??? (I guess I mean that in all sorts of ways…it just raises so many questions!)  So yes, there was a brief moment where I wondered what it would be like to have swinging birds in my own backyard???

Awful. That’s what it would be.

We have HAWKS in our neighborhood, along with at least two outdoor cats who make the local bunnies scream with terror late at night. The circle of life is not always bucolic or serene. It’s not even consistently better than life on the Red Line. I’m sure there are moments of peace, joy & miracles, of course. And for anyone who loves chickens the way Lisa seems to, that’s living the dream. I think that’s what makes her site so great – it seems real, even when she’s doing a product placement for giant bags of bird feed. But this life we live is complicated, no matter where you live it. So the secret is to figure out what battles YOU’RE equipped to fight (and win) and find your place in the world, rather than envying and trying to copy someone else’s…particularly if your only window into that world is through your computer screen.

(Lisa mentions in that chicken swing post her sadness over losing a favorite duck. I for one am glad she didn’t post pictures of what that particular loss entailed.)

So, no chickens for me.

Why am I writing all this instead of answering your questions about adoption?

Because I’m wrestling with this dilemma:

I know that if I tell you about the incredible moments we have as a new family – like the snowball fight we had in the backyard one night last week after we shoveled out the driveway – you are likely to wonder, at least for a nanosecond,  if adopting a child from foster care might be right for you.  Maybe there’s something you’re missing out on that you can’t get any other way?

You should, and you are, and I hope you will.

But if I just give you the sweet parts, you’ll get hammered when a hawk swoops down and eats your chickens, so to speak. Adoption (along with parenthood and, well…life) isn’t all bucolic and serene.

I want to be honest here on the blog, and give you the whole picture. That way, when YOU adopt awesome kids from foster care, you’ll know that hawks happen…but they don’t define the endeavor, and there are ways to keep them away.

I’ll be back with an actual answer to one of your questions soon. Until then…check out all the CHICKENS!

 

For the Love of Kale

UnknownYesterday on Facebook I learned that many (many!) of my friends have strong positive feelings about kale. I mentioned kale in a post on trends I don’t understand (the others were skinny jeans on men and owning your own live chickens).  The kale lovers came out in droves to defend their beloved leafy greens, posting recipes and favorite restaurant menu items. It was more enthusiasm than I’ve seen for pretty much anything online, with kale support somehow exceeding support for puppies, discount designer handbags, and the royal baby.

Something has gone wrong in the universe.

I’m not against kale, necessarily. I just don’t get the trend.  It’s stiff spinach with a better PR campaign. I once watched a man pull it from the decorative edges of the salad bar at Applebee’s, then happily crunch away. I guess he was an early adopter. (He also believed that spinning 23 times in each direction before bed helped “reconcile” his liver & kidneys, so there’s that…)

imagesI’m more encouraged by the lack of support for men in skinny jeans, although I have several male FB friends whom I’m pretty sure wear skinny jeans and they declined to comment. I’m concluding (read: hoping)  that perhaps they aren’t as passionate about their fashion choices as the kale lobby is about their vegetable, and are just going with the flow until different options are available in stores. Which gives me tremendous encouragement! Hopefully we’ll all be back in straight legs in a couple of years :)

images-1The chicken owners (including my sister-in-law, who takes such awesome care of her poultry pets that my father says on the off chance that reincarnation is real, he wants to come back as one of her chickens) didn’t chime in. I wish they had. Because I wasn’t suggesting that owning chickens is absurd (I was suggesting exactly that with the whole men/skinny jeans thing, and a little bit with the kale…) I honestly don’t understand why you’d buy live chickens and have them live in your yard. I’m not a bird person. They freak me out a bit, what with all the feathers and clucking and sharp pointy parts. And I don’t know how to BE around a chicken: Are they emotional? Do they have felt needs? Or do they run more on instinct, going through life thinking “eat the worm!” and “Oh crap – fox!” and not much else?

The best part of this exchange for me has been the reminder that we are ALL VERY DIFFERENT. There are so many attempts to lump us together into groups, to categorize us and make humanity more manageable.  I love order more than your average bear, but even I concede: we’re unmanageable, and delightfully resistant to generalizations if one is willing to look closely.

I’m grateful for this. I want to look closely enough at life that even if I see SEVEN guys wearing skinny jeans & holding live chickens while they pull the kale from the edges of the salad bar at Applebee’s, I’ll remember that each of them has a different reason for how and why. Because that, my friends, is the stuff memorable conversations are made of.

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