lessons learned: country girls and laying hens

This morning, I trudged out in the dark to the chicken coop. I was up earlier than usual so I could get my daughter to school, and I was not yet coherent.  (Believe me, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t lift up thanks for her having a car and a driver’s license.)

I did remember, however, that we’d had such a busy evening last night that I had forgotten to check the egg drawer.  After feeding the girls, I turned the corner and pulled open the drawer to find 2 eggs!

eggsExcitedly, I ran up the driveway, into the house, and over to my daughter’s room.  “We have green eggs!  Daisy is laying green eggs!”  With a half-smile dripping with sarcasm, my aspiring urbanite halfheartedly said, “Yay.” No matter, I embraced my little gift with tenderness and ran upstairs to text Brie.

Brie is the younger sister of my daughter’s boyfriend.  Unlike her brother and my daughter, Brie is all things country–cowboy boots, horses, and nature.  So last winter when she asked if I’d teacher her to raise chicks, I gave it some intentional thought and prayer.

You see, the first round of chickens we had a few years ago were very dear to me.  In many ways they symbolized a noteworthy transition in my life, not only from “gardens” to “farm” but also from dream to reality.  I loved those three girls dearly.

Then the October of their first year with us, I came home to find a raccoon scurrying up the drive.  Needless to say, they had not met a peaceful ending, and I mourned that loss for quite some time.  While the coop sat in our side yard inviting me to consider others for its home, I couldn’t bear the thought of going through that experience again.

Then Brie came along.  A young girl teetering on the edge of tweendom, and she wanted to raise chicks.  The minute she planted the seed, many excuses filled my head and heart. Did I have time?  Did I want another responsibility?  How could we do it this time with dogs in our home?

In the end though, I realized that all the reasons I gave myself were just means of protecting myself from the possibility of sadness and loss again. What I came to appreciate in this self-reflection was that I had grown in my awareness of the circle of life and of myself.

And so, by April 3, we had baby chicks.

The last several months have been delightful as I’ve observed not only Brie, but also my daughter and her boyfriend take ownership of these new feathered friends.  In turn, the hens have come to trust us, in spite of two yapping dogs, and they will follow us around the yard or allow strangers to feed them close at hand.

But there is something about the first egg from Scout and the first egg from Daisy that have stopped me in my tracks to lift up a bit of thanksgiving–not only for being a part of this little bit of creation but also for a tween “country girl” who dared to dream.

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