Around here, we have a saying when things are not going right. ”It’s the recession” is our response to the hens not laying, the car breaking, the fence needing mending, the dog’s limping, the carrots burning, the puzzle piece missing. We have a good time with it because it almost always provides the comic relief that helps during stressful situations while one regains perspective. I’m happy that we use it in jest, because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the recession in how it has and will play out in our days. It helps me to contrast how society views its importance and what I’ve learned from my farm animals about quality of life.
For example, Pony Jac, our nickname for Nite Nite, cares not one iota about the strength of the dollar. She will continue to look for greener grass everyday of the year whether there is a sufficient amount of grazing in her pasture or not. It is her way to look for daily challenges. I had to chase her out of the chicken grain bin this morning for the second time this week and pop her into the safehold of the roundpen to keep her from looking for new ways to colic. She’s not nearly starving and has the most “winter weight” of our entire herd. She is a junk-food-junkie and doesn’t care about playing it safe. But mainly it is just her nature to investigate new adventures and find herself in situations that she deems profitable.
The hens and roosters are having to stay confined these days because of a few reasons. Their outlook, though, teaches very strong lessons about finding the good in any situation. I’m so terribly sorry for their winter accommodations and do my best to improve their conditions by bringing them hay for bedding and their confined yard, making sure their hopper is always full of the tasty grain they love, and daily providing them with buckets full of delicious house scraps. By the way, chickens will eat anything! They are carb-pigs and love leftover holiday cookies. I also padded their nesting boxes with leftover belly wool from last September’s shearing. At any rate, they teach me that they will not stop producing in this world because they are not in their beloved woods and fields, scratching and roaming free. They’ll deliver their daily eggs, restructure their free time and make the best of the confinement. I guess they complain somewhat, but they’ve got my ear and my love and I have to hope that is the best we all can do, in their interest, to help them through the colder, sparser days of January.
And the lessons continue….if it’s not one flock, it’s another herd that shows me how the important things in life are not things and if we practice going beyond that, economic conditions, boon or bust, will not rule our days. Make do with what you have, adjust as quickly as you can, believe that what matters is not attached to material goods. Adopt the mentality that if life hands you lemons, make lemonade. How sad it would be to look back at one’s life and see that you’d defined it incorrectly the whole time and didn’t properly savor the millions of daily blessings. I’m really not part of any “Occupy” camp, one way or another, but I do say “there’s no crying over second homes!”
So this year, if the recession has you down, try not to let it steal too much of your life away before you shake it off, realign your plumage, and resume your strut.
- Keeping chickens: housing (stoneheadcroft.com)