Sunday, April 29, 2012
I never knew much at all about native plants and plant communities when I met Laura, but it did not take long for her to expand my knowledge and create a solid appreciation for our natural resources and a desire to live more lightly on the land. Conscientious to a tee, animals under her care are always treated with respect and dignity.
When I think back I ask myself, “Which came first? The chicken or the coffee?” I was completely unfamiliar with either when I met Laura, and she unashamedly got me hooked on both! I knew I wanted chickens, and she said “You should, you will love them.” I had no idea I really WOULD love them and become enamored with their silly ways, their beautiful feather patterns and the precious warm gifts they would leave for us each morning. Six hens quickly turned to a dozen, then twenty. I had a go-around with meat birds, too, and while that didn’t turn out to be my thing it is not off the table yet for our new place. Likewise, the first time she encouraged me to try a Starbucks chilled Frappuchino with chocolate milk I was SOLD! That led to mochas at the local indy bookstore to brewing my own at home. *gasp!* Now I am adept at brewing a cup or two in my French press and making my own mochas at home with ground chocolate and coconut milk creamer.
Eager to return the enablement favor, I introduced Laura to my own horses. She had ridden and loved horses all her life, but loved being in contact with the Pegasus horses and taking opportunities to ride with me. When the time came for us to find a new home for one of ours she took the plunge and bought him! He was a great companion for her for a few years until life got too busy for her to spend enough quality time with him and he went on to a new home.
Laura and I had many great times together. When our kids were younger we would head to the local bookstore, drink coffee and chatter with the store-owner. We would read the organic gardening magazines together and talk about our fantasies of having our own, self-sufficient gardens and animals. She introduced me more fully to the world of art, and helped me fall in love with an artist or two. Many beautiful prints hang in my home now because of Laura’s influence.
Laura was a faithful friend. She still is. She never judged me, at least not to my face! She was always patient and kind and helped me reach my own conclusions on weighty matters. When I struggled she stood by and held me up. When rejoiced she sang with me. When I cried she cried.
Things are a little different now. We don’t talk as often, seldom, in fact. She is working full-time now, as am I. The farm here keeps me as busy as my professional work does, and spending time any friends is difficult, let alone the ones who also work much. The other night we had a lovely conversation on the phone, and I was reminded again how much I care about and miss her, and what a precious gift she has been in my life. I can honestly say, without exaggeration, that there are several big aspects of my life now that would not be there except by her influence- my school and work careers being among them. It is probably safe to say that she helped me grow as a person more than any other person in my life.
The only picture I have of her and me together; a terrible one of me but one I cherish nonetheless; a morning we spent canoeing on the Rock River:
I hope I never take her for granted, and that she knows how important she is to me.
I think I’ll tell her.
Friday, April 20, 2012
It is quiet on my work front today, has been for a couple weeks now. A minor back injury has sidelined me and left me chomping at the bit to get going again. I have already learned that to rush it will only be worse. I have still been able to meet with clients and do some drawing and planning, but maintenance has been out of the question, and that includes my gardens here at home. My landscaping (for what its worth) and vegetable -garden-to-come are in shambles. I am about ready to recruit me some boys to get all this back in order and ready to roll for the season!
The good news is that I have managed, with Steve’s much-appreciated help, to get the chicks out to the barn and into their stall-turned-coop. They are now four weeks old, and nearly completely feathered out. They officially look like miniature chickens and not like infants! They sound like infants still, and that is strange.
Back when I had full back function I built the coop door to hold two catch latches and eye-screws to which I can clip a bolt latch. The combination of these will render the coop impenetrable to raccoons…at least by this avenue! They have been known to rip through chicken wire, but that is a gamble I have chosen to take, seeing as how the cost of using the alternative, hardware cloth, is very expensive.
So, the other day I was visiting said chicks in their new home; for some reason they are much bolder and easier to catch out there, so I was catching and cuddling a few. I saw the cat coming to check out the happenings, so I pulled the door tighter to make sure she could not squeeze through. Unfortunately for me, that top latch performed exactly as intended and latched me in. Oooh…did someone (besides me?) manage to get a latch string installed yet? One that would allow someone to unlatch themselves from the coop from the inside? Nope. Dangit. No one was answering phones at the house. The only alternative left me was to unwind pieces of chicken wire where it was exposed on the edges and form a strong enough hook to reach through the wire, snag the tiny hole on the arm of the latch and let myself out. Second attempt was the one that gained me my freedom, whew! Fortunately it was not cold, and Steve was expected home any minute. I was glad, however, not to have to yell for him to let me out. We still got a good laugh at it.