About a week ago I walked through a new door to a new chapter in my life – raising chickens. So far five days in all seems to be doing well. I had four Rhode Island Red pullets which are 18 weeks old. I am told they could be laying eggs sometime in the next couple of weeks.
The first few days in their new hen house, they have spent getting to know the place. The weather has been cold for May as we have had snow and two freeze warnings in the last week and it’s been windy, blowing the dogs off the chain for days making the temperatures feel like it was mid-February. Every morning around 5am I head out to the hen house to check on the ladies and open their door to the outside run which is enclosed with chicken wire and hardware cloth.
On Tuesday, I was sitting on the blue painter’s bucket I had flipped over to use as my perch so that I could spend some time getting to know my chickens. I sat in the corner watching and photographing them as they pecked around at the food and jumped on the roost. Then there was a moment when they were all down by the food near the door to their run when two of them poked their heads out and walked down the plank to the grass. The third one quickly followed suit and then the fourth. The fourth one who is the only one to have a nickname so far of Khaleesi/White Pants. She gained the nickname Khaleesi after having been pushed on the swing and held on for dear life as my friend’s seven year old rocked the swing wildly back and forth. They had been the ones to get the pullets and were dropping off the four we wanted and they were keeping another 8.
I’ve never been around chickens but I figure like any animal they need some time to acclimate to their new environment. On the other side of the door to the hen house are our dogs. They stare through the glass door to the hen house which depending on the time of day and lighting, reflects back their own images. They can smell them though and unbelievably one curious girl came out to check the dogs out.
The morning that they all four walked out the door of the hen house and into their backyard enclosed run, I was so happy. New doors were opening up for all of us and we just have to trust our instincts about when it is the right time for to walk through those doors.
I’ve been part of team in many different capacities. Whether it was as a member of a sports team or as a member of a team working on a group project in school or work, I learned some of the most valuable life lessons working as a team.
In sports, I was on a team as a player and as a coach, each very different experiences which I learned valuable lessons. The most incredible part for me was watching young athletes learn and develop their skills and watch the confidence build inside them. I coached girls’ lacrosse for six years when my daughter was in elementary school and they were some of the most rewarding days of my life. I loved working with those kids and watching them grow not only in the sport but as individuals too. I think that exposing children to being on some sort of team is important. It teaches them how to work together which is a valuable life lesson. It doesn’t have to be a sports team either since there are many opportunities in school where you have to work on a group project for academic classes.
Being on a team teaches people crucial skills about cooperating, communicating, and connecting with other people. It doesn’t matter whether its a two-person team or a team with 22 people or more, members of the team have to be able to listen to one another, be willing to be open to new ideas or ways to accomplish the team’s common goal. There’s a beauty in watching people work together, whether it’s on the athletic fields or the workplace.
This stands in stark contrast to the teams of politicians which is our government. That’s not pretty to watch at all. Our government should be run more like a team, all working towards one common goal. Instead they act more like they are on opposite teams rather than on the same team, failing to listen to each other, or the American people. Perhaps if they were able to cooperate better with one another, communicate better with each other and check their egos at the door (a good place to start would be to stop calling themselves leaders when they are actually our representatives); they’d be able to connect better with each other and get things done.
Currently, sports teams across the world on every level are on the sidelines quietly waiting as the world’s attention is turned towards the teams of medical professionals fighting the virus which has paralyzed our world. These are the teams that on a daily basis work together to save lives. They did before the outbreak and they will continue to afterwards.
It’s too bad it took a pandemic for the world to pay attention to these all too important teams. These are the teams that are performing acts of heroism every single day to no particular fanfare other than from those families they may have touched individually. If I was still living in New York City or Boston, I would be one the people who every night at 7pm – raise up their windows and applaud and cheer for the heroic teams of today, the teams of medical professionals who are the front lines of this battle. These are the teams that I admire the most in today’s world. These are the teams that we should all be so thankful for their tenacity in working towards accomplishing their one common goal – to save lives. To save our lives and the ones we love.
We sat 12 feet apart having our coffee together this morning in the workshop where he’s in quarantine. I looked out the window as he fetched his phone from the music studio where I dragged a bed into last week. He wants to tell me about an article he had read earlier. Usually these conversations would be had next to each other in bed with my head on his chest and our legs entwined. We were unavoidably separated last week – he was home now – thank God.
The grass looked frosty, I thought as I brought the mug up for another sip. I was already on my second cup of the day and it was only 6:45am. The driveway would be slick when he and Marley head down to open the gate later. Icicles had formed overnight on the bird feeders. I thought the rain sounded more solid than liquid last night as I fell asleep listening to the tink, tink, tink on the window.
Today you stepped up to the plate when you had to and overcame a fear. You learned a new skill that will serve you well in the future. Proving to yourself that you can keep on learning new things no matter your age – you just have to want to learn. You knew if was a possibility, even before Mark left. You finally got behind the wheel of the truck and learned to plow. You had to, no one else was going to do it and deliveries were on the way. And if you are going to live up here on this mountain for a good long time, you can’t depend on someone else to always be there to do certain things, like plow.
These days have been so difficult and trying on everyone. Just processing the pandemic and what these means for our world, our country, our family, the kids, Mark and I. Everything will change. You know that — just like you did the morning of September 11th. You watched the people come off the train, covered in ash, looking like zombies. Shock. We were all in shock. Your birth home – the place where you were born and raised – attacked. Life would never be the same. Just like now.
Looking back – hindsight 20-20 – you see the evolution of how how your journey to New Hampshire evolved. Two pivotal moments that lead you to your change in life and career and eventual move to new Hampshire: 9/11 and Shannon’s death. You are forever changed when you watch a young, smart, beautiful 21 year old girl die before your eyes. The memory branded into your memory, your heart and soul forever. Rocking you off your axis.
Your days as a research analyst, all those years ago when you covered food, agribusiness and water sectors taught you so much. It made you think twice about what was actually important. Lately you been having flashbacks to the days of SARS when you kept tallies on the victims and the survivors. You put Clorox into the portfolio then and kept it there – knowing that there would be another virus that would possibly occur and go global. Bleach is good – everyone uses bleach during a pandemic outbreak. You always loved their commercials too with that comedian lady that you never remember her name – so funny.
But those days back in the office – oh so long ago, was not your dream but someone else’s. Thank you Dennis Hopper. Thank you for helping me reach that epiphany. Check out my past blog post Dennis Hopper Kick off My Mid-Life Crisis – part 1 which explains this more in detail.
You started growing your own food. You started your business with Homegrown Harvest because of what you learned all those years reading about Monsanto and syngenta and others and decided to help other people learn to grow their own food. Learned how we destroyed our farmlands and use water so inefficiently. You know how important it is to have food security especially in this ever evolving world where food contamination has become a regular occurrence. Romaine and spinach pulled from grocery store shelves.
Right now it’s another one of those watershed moments in history. You know it’s time to readjust – adapt to the new reality, the new normal whatever that may be. You know you need to be flexible and bob and weave hen you need to. You will get through this. We will get through this. The greens are growing in the Tower Gardens and their are crops growing under the cold frames. Now if the snow would melt and the sun warm the earth we can continue to start growing more. For now, we will just work with the Tower Gardens.
Enjoy your day. Relax now and sit back and look at the pretty snow. Winter’s last hurrah. Your back hurts a little, probably from the bumpy road and your nerves. But your did it! So you can relax – or what passes for relaxing during a pandemic. Put some CBD on your back.
We’ve started our self quarantine. Yesterday the last day going to the post office or grocery store. no need to go out any more. You have what you need for more than a month if you had to. Benefits of being on the mountain, you’ve been in training for this for four years now. Thank god you got the side of beef in the freezer back in January. Now all you have to do is manage the multiple personalities in the house. Can’t I go back and just do the driveway?
We haven’t all lived together under the same roof in 8 years. And never in this house. This wasn’t set up for that sort of close living – weekends sure, holidays – ok. Pandemics. Umm, not so much. Especially when everyone is used to having their own space. It’s not easy listening to two grown adult children snipe at one another like when they were teenagers. Funny how families fall back into old roles despite years of personal growth on their own. But they are working on bettering their communication, trying to use the period of quarantine to better themselves. Break old habits and form new ones.
Pour yourself a tall one, you deserve it, now go rest. There will be more to deal with – like everyday life which keeps moving on.
There is something in all of us which drives us. Driving us forward each day of our lives.
We aren’t always happy, nor are we sad. We just keep going forward. Something drives us forward. Some may be able to pinpoint that little something and be able to put it in to words. Others just feel it.
Curiosity drives us forward, propels us up and down paths we never knew existed. Scientists are driven forward to find the answers. They are curious beings constantly driven to discover and understand more. Thank God for the scientists. I am not a scientist.
Engineers work towards building the instruments and tools needed to further the science. They got us to the moon and back and beyond now. They’ve done what we never thought possible – yet. Something inside someone drove their curiosity forward. Thank God for the engineers. I am not an engineer.
There was a little something inside Jonas Salk which propelled him forward with his research to find a cure for polio. Thank God for people like Jonas Salk. I am not Jonas Salk.
There is a little something inside the people of Italy – besides the horrid coronavirus. A little something which will propel them forward, over the bell curve. A little something which can be seen in snippets on the internet of a country. People standing on balconies and hanging out windows singing, playing music, coming together despite having to be all be in isolation. Resilience.
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
There is little something inside all of us and hopefully that little something will help us all get through these wild, weird and difficult times. Whether dealing with a daily family crisis, global pandemic or both, there is a little something inside each of us, we just have to dig deep. Perhaps, some may have to dig a little deeper than others to find that little something, but it’s there. If we just keep digging, we’ll find it.