Saturday, March 26, 2011
CHICKEN-SITTING PAR EXCELLENCE!
Chickens! Oh, how I love Chickens! Not that I've ever had any, except for a tiny little yellow chickie that came in an Easter basket when I was about 8 years old and that lived long enough for my mother to trade him (or her) to the local butcher for a good piece of beef -- at least I think that is what eventually happened to "Peeper."
So it was natural that my eye would be caught by a column called "Innovations" in the LA Times this morning that told about a new chicken-sitting service available to urban LA farmers. It's called Easy Acres Chicken Sitting and has a website by that name. The service "provides peace of mind to the owners of said chickens while on holiday, business or adventure."
The lady who provides the service is a hen owner, a Master Gardener, and has a small gardening business in Los Angeles as well. Sounds to me like she's pinpointed a need and been smart enough to fill it herself! The article notes that her services include "Feeding, watering, coop cleaning and egg collection." If chickens are "range free" she'll let them out in the morning and collect them back in the coop in the evening. (Makes me wonder if hawks watch for range-free chickens? I'll bet the Cooper's Hawk that harasses my little house finches and sparrows would.)
I wanted a hen in the worst way when we owned our home in Orange. I had what I thought was the ideal place for a hen coop. I promised Jerry I would learn how to recycle the waste and use it for fertilizer. I'd keep him in scrambled eggs every time she laid one... but all that was to no avail. He thought one dog, three cats, one bird, two teenagers and a wife was plenty. NO HENS! he said. Not even banties.
I have a friend who all her life had pet chickens and I always envied her. She's retired now in Sedona, and she and her husband have foregone chickens for Javalinas. But I always remember how cute her chickens were.
In thinking about chickens for this blog, I found a nice website called HENDERSON'S CHICKEN BREED CHART, and this fellow shows all manners of breeds and very interesting information about them. He also is honest about his feelings toward certain breeds, noting about one, "Our Birds, received as adults, never fit in well with the rest of the flock & were nervous all the time. Our one cock crowed louder than any other we've ever had. We've been hesitant to try them again, but we might, since they are such beautiful birds." If I were lucky enough to get a chicken now in my twilight years, I would certainly ask this honest man about my choice of breed. His chart makes for very interesting reading. He even tells about a hen that laid 364 eggs in one year's time. (I think I know how that hen felt, as I had 4 children in the space of 4-1/2 years.)
Sadly, I figure that a chicken is not in my future, except as it fits in a frying pan. I have to content myself with doing them in counted cross stitch.
Several years ago I decided to find the perfect hen to do in cross-stitch. You'd think that would have been an easy job, but I bought about four patterns before I just found the right one. And that is my own hen at the top of this blog. My oldest daughter watched her come into being and put her dibs on it before it was ever half-done.
I know that's the closest I'll ever come to having my own chicken. And if the urge ever hits again, I've still got those other chicken patterns in the chest of drawers where my "to do" and "unfinished projects" reside, waiting for me.