Sunday, June 24, 2012

Zen and the Mood Altering Chickens

Since day one with my little peeps (now three months old) I have touted their Zen nature and their ability to work like tiny, fluffy Xanax on my occassionally stressed out soul.  All it takes after a difficult or long, tiring day is to sit in the yard and watch my ladies free range.  They peck and scratch and find little bugs and bits of flower to eat.  They fly through the air with awkward, adorable delight. They coo and peep and most recently decided to cluck. And, after enough free range time, they occasionally come sit on my lap.  

It is well know that I have zero patience to just sit.
With my ladies around me it is easy to just sit and RELAX.

My inner circle is well aware of my Zen Chicken Philosophy.  They hear it on a regular basis.  I can't help but mention my awe at the calming affects my chickens have on my psyche. My husband hears on an almost daily basis my love for my chickens and the happiness they bring.

Until this last week my "Zen Chicken Philosophy research" had revolved only around minor stresses of everyday life and the chickens came through every time.  Until this last week my chickens "job" of keeping me stress free had been a piece of cake.  A job they could do in their sleep, and a job they sometimes did in their sleep.  (Yes, I have watched my chickens sleep and darn it, they are cute)

This last week was a bad week.  BAD.  

In the course of three days:
  • I helplessly watched a tiny kitten be mauled by a vicious dog.  My efforts to save the kitten were unsuccessful and she died in my arms.  
  • A dear friend died unexpectedly.  
  • And my precious 16yr old Border Collie succumb to heart failure.  
It was a bad week.

Finally, the end of the week arrived and my dear, sweet husband picked me up from work and took me out for drinks to a favorite spot.  We stayed for one and headed home.  As much as I wanted to be, I was not in the mood to be "out on the town".

We arrived home.  I jumped into a pair of shorts and headed out to the ladies.  As I opened the door to their run and set them free to range I made comment to the fact the ladies had their work cut out for them.  I wasn't sure even my Zen chickens could puncture the dark cloud of sadness.  I needed a double dose of "Chicken Xanax".

My ladies did not fail me.  Their flapping, clucking, scratching and general silliness warmed my heart. I don't believe for a second they fixed the problems of the week but they did make my heart lighter and happier.  They let me remember that its not all bad and you still have to smile.

They ARE Zen.  
They ARE mood altering chickens.  
Each and every one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Key West Coop DeVille, a true LABOR of love

Bringing baby chicks into our home and building them their own place has been a labor of love.  Did I mention LABOR of love.  Lots and lots of labor and they better love it!

Somewhere a long the way I convinced my adoring husband that we needed chickens.  We needed little baby chickens that we could nurture and love and watch grow into stunning hens who would, without question and lovingly, provide us with breakfast (eggs).

Now, if you are going to have chickens you are going to have to have a coop.  Sounds easy enough.  If I want something unusual or out of the ordinary I do the expected.  I GOOGLE it.  And I did.  I GOOGLED coop after coop after coop.  Coops on wheels, ready made coops, easy to assemble coops, large coops, small coops, plastic coops, nuclear Holocaust-Safe coops.  I saw it all.

Somewhere a long the way my adoring husband convinced me that we needed to build our own coop.  We could build it cheaper and bigger and exactly the way we want it, he said.

Our efforts have created Key West Coop DeVille.  Watch as it all comes together.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My babies are growing up

My babies are growing up.  As of June 1, my baby Buff Orpingtons are eight weeks old.

Every day.  Every single day my ladies have changed and have grown.  In the blink of an eye a growth spurt could be missed.

In the first weeks of life it was all adorable fluff and silly, quiet peeps.  Zen-like sounds that soothed.  As they matured, they were still adorable and their peeps still charming and zen-like.  Even through their dinosaur/ugly duckling phase they managed to calm and stay sweet.  I have been afraid of losing that sound.  That calm.

Yesterday I arrive home from the office and quickly change into my "free-range" attire. The ladies hear my voice, snap to attention and are ready to range.  Then I hear it.  I hear an unfamiliar voice.  My dear, sweet buff, Felicia has replaced her tiny peep with a newer cluck-ish sound.  What surprises me more than the change in her voice is the lack of change in its zen-like sweetness.  My ladies voices are changing, growing and I am still in love.
Baby Felicia
Felicia at 8 weeks