Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Hens Huncker Down

We gave the chickens a special treat this weekend, letting them run in wild place that our garden has become.

They have picked their chicken run clean, requiring Joe to haul in 7 tons of gravel to prevent it from becoming a mud pit. They have spent a couple of months in a barren run, staring at the lovely bounty of our garden, so it seems only fair that they get a bit of free range access now that the growing season is over.

They provided several solid hours of family entertainment, foraging comically among the tilting pole bean tepees and overgrown cabbage patch. Maya rummaged around the garden with them, presenting them with tomatoes or carrots or beans that we missed on the last harvest. Elliot stalked the perimeter of the garden fence, looking for a way to join the messy crew. Poor kid, mom just doesn't think a 1 year old can be trusted around livestock....

Suddenly it was time for Maya's Spirit Play class (more on that another day), and we all headed quickly inside to clean up and dash out.

We didn't think of the chickens again until the girls were bathed and in bed... long past sunset. You chicken lovers know that at sunset, the ladies can't help but seek out a place to roost.

I would have predicted a noisy panic from our little flock when they realized they were cut off from their coop.

Not so.

Joe found three chickens roosting together on a portion of fence sheltered by bowed sunflower stalks. Two more chickens, the more creative pair, were perched together high atop the pole bean teepees.

After tucking them all safely into their coop, Joe reported the best discovery from this little chicken adventure: the racial segregation of our flock has ended.

In the beginning, the two white rocks always roosted together, the two Rhode Island Reds were inseparable, and our poor Black Sexlink was always alone.

But now, Ina (red) and Clementine (black) are happy to cozy up together. They have made friends. They have overcome the old "birds of a feather" social interaction rule...

And they give us hope that in spite of the riotous, clannish tone the McCain rallies have adopted, the majority of us can move past the old prejudices and hunker down together with a new President with the skills, the plan, and the judgment to lead us out of this economic darkness.

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