Here at the Abbey it is really bloody cold today, with the wind chill making things a distinctly uncozy 13 degrees. For the ladies, spending the day in the chicken tractor was definitely out, even with it buttoned down in wind protection mode; once the wind is hitting over 20 mph there’s no point, since the tarp tends to take on a life of its own and threatens to sail the whole thing off to Oz. So they have the run of the barn, which isn’t the most fascinating way to spend the day but it’s better than being cooped up. There are different options for perching — the rafters and the table saw are favorite spots — and spots for dust baths. And, of course, fresh snacks and water are provided every few hours by the helpful human staff.
Said staff was invited to relax for a while with them after making the early afternoon snack delivery. Between the weather, illness, and schedules, there haven’t been many chances to just be with them while not doing chores, and I’ve really missed it. After bundling up, and bundling up, and bundling up some more, I parked myself on the tractor seat to enjoy listening to their Zen-inducing chicken sounds: scratching in the shavings, the occasional soft cluck, stretching and flapping wings, feet perching on roosts. It was incredibly peaceful. Chicken Zen is different from cat Zen, although each is soul-centering. Cat Zen is the Zen of being poled up the Nile on the pharaoh’s barge in the late-afternoon sunlight while lounging on a velvet cushion. Chicken Zen is the Zen of quietly but steadily getting things done around the house, with pauses to sit on the porch and drink lemonade. It’s a treat to be able to move between these states in the course of a day.
And speaking of coziness, cats, and chickens, the Coop Mistress’s latest knitting project was inspired by the Abbey crew: a pet scarf! I found variegated yarns to approximate the chicken’s feathers, plus black for the cats and deep red to give it a little color. So far it depicts the Faverolles, the Barred Rocks, and the cats. If this weather keeps up I have a feeling there will be requests for scarves coming in from the barn . . .