the afternoon chicken yard break

 December 30. The living skin of the planet in our little bioregion is happy today as the rains return. We’re at half the usual, which makes people and frogs nervous. The frogs have been all but silent, and just this morning as the mist turned to soft rain a few more spoke up hopefully. The cloud cover is just like my down quilt, holding in our warmth so nights are suddenly 40 degrees instead of 20. So much easier to stay warm.

I pass through the chicken yard a zillion times a day, as it lies between my house and most of the gardens. By their eager attention to my passage the hens remind me to bring along my kitchen scraps going one direction and vegetable treats from the hoophouses when I come back the other way. Often in the late afternoon I pause for a chicken yard break. It’s the most peaceful time there – hens have finished laying for the day with all its accompanying drama (“You’re on MY laying spot!” “No that’s mine!” “OMG I just laid a big one”). Lots of gentle contented talk, feather preening, digging here and there for a last snack before bed. And hey the camera was in my pocket when I sat down in one chair and put the bunch of carrots I’d just pulled in the other.
When I divided the harvest with the chooks, they were sure they’d gotten the best part of the deal with the carrot greens.