This was a "normal" Sunday for us. I love to watch the Sunday morning show on CBS. It runs until 9:30, so I'm very late getting outside. Not that I'm ever early, and the animals have adjusted to the schedule. It is a lovely fall day. Sun is out, in the 30's yet, little wind. Very clean, very clear, very leafless around us. You can finally see through the trees below and into the Crawfish River Valley. Last night's farmer's fire in the field is still smoking. Most of the fields are brown now from plowing, some are still yellow with uncut corn, and the Audubon prairie is awash in shades of moving brown and gold. There are rectangles of green, the winter wheat having the perfect fall to germinate.
The geese and turkeys have heard the garage door going up, so they know I'm on my way to let them out of their nighttime dog kennel keep 'em safe enclosure. I've been amazed at how well they have done basically out in the weather. While for the most part the chickens have been either in the barn at night, or in a domed portable coop/chicken tractor, the turkeys and geese have been outside in this double large kennel attached to our tractor shed. When I go out in the morning, they are let out, hooting and squawking, gobbling and chirping, often time wings spread open, the lighter turkeys flying up and over and circling back to the group. The geese spread their wings and run/fly with their feet maybe 6 inches off the ground, honking excitedly as they go. Wheeee they seem to be saying. We're freeeeee
It is always a joyous thing to behold. Yet, I may not always be joyous, because sometimes I have other things to get to, and don't want to take the time to let them wander around and get into everybody's business. This morning, however, I just wasn't in a hurry, and wanted to let them have the time to walk around and talk to everyone they think needs talking to. There's another reason, too. In about a week, these big birds with their big personalities will be taking a one way trip.
When we got them as little (they were little once?) poults and goslings, the intent was always for them to one day feed us. I have never tried to make them my friends, although I was tempted a couple of times, when one of the geese sat on my lap. They have never been given names, and indeed, lately, with the geese learning to hiss, and the toms starting to fight, the idea of taking a permanent break from babysitting seems fitting. We have over the summer, found a symbiosis of sorts. They have lived under the fruit trees, rotating from one area to another, feeding on the insects and dropping fruit, scratching the soil, and adding their fertilizer. The kiddie pools for the geese get emptied 2 or 3 times a week, adding fertlized water. They have enriched the environment they lived in, enriched our lives with their comical antics, and we in turn have provided them with safety and entertainment, good food, and water to swim in. They've had land to roam, chickens and cats to boss around, roofs to fly to, sun to sleep in, and shade when it was hot.
And so, this Sunday morning, I don't hurry. I let out the big and little flocks of chickens, watch them merge and then go their separate ways. Each rooster has his own little harem of followers, Captain Minorca, with his Chantecler hens and Little Peep, Ocho and Rufus with their Penedesencas. Wacko Boy flys in with the young Chanteclers, Phineas is in his mansion of a chicken tractor with his girls, and Big Guy, the lone Chantecler Rooster, sits on the periphery with Rufus, his friend and protector. I have yet to hear him crow. He is an oddity. A friendly Partridge Chantecler rooster, all feathers so it seems, making him seem very large. He has been molting, and his hackle feathers are finally coming in. It is all so just very interesting.
I feed the horses their morning hay, and the chickens wander around under their feet, everyone at peace with each other. The geese and turkeys have been out behind the barn, flying up on the Chantecler mansion, and generally letting the everyone know that they are the RULERS OF THE WORLD!!
I start the herding process, and they parade through the chickens, parting them as they pass kind of like the parting of the Red Sea by Moses. By now, they have toured enough, and are content to settle under the fruit trees in the sun. I close up the fence, and thank them for being good today.
When I get back into the house, I realize an hour has passed. Think of how much "stuff" I could have gotten done instead of watching poultry and waxing poetic about it. I'm so Glad...
that I am able to waste this kind of time. So glad, and so lucky to be able to raise our own wholesome food for ourselves and a few others, to be able to provide a good life for the animals that we will eventually consume, and to be able to write about it.
|One week to go|