Tag / pet therapy

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Soul Food

The eyes are the window to the soul.
~traditional Proverb
Today, I stole a quiet moment.  It had been long overdue.  The kids were playing so nicely and quietly together that I took time to sneak off into the gardens and brilliant sunshine where I have been working all week long.  I found a place in the grass and sat.  From my vantage point I could see the chickens, the garden and the new beehives. As hard as it was, I refrained from calling out to the flock.
Tilly and Oyster Cracker were wing to wing just sitting in a huge dusty crater they had made; a perfect bath for two.  I felt like a spy.  There I was like a fly on the wall, peeping into their moment together.  What were they doing in there?
There they sat.  I could hear them talking a low sort of muttering under their breath.  Then one would see something on the other’s back and they would gently remove it with their beak.  It would be quiet and then their conversation would resume.  There were no awkward moments of silence.  There was no rush to jump up and grab treats from me.  Their guards were down.  They too were just chilling out relaxing.  This was their stolen moment.
Moments like today are so few and far between for so many of us.  It was strange, this realization that the chickens needed time for themselves too.  They needed quality time for themselves, without the pecking order in the way, other family members showing up trying to squeeze their way into the dust bath or any unplanned visitors to interrupt their day.
Sometimes by doing nothing at all, we accomplish what we truly need.  Hearts are filled.  A sense of peace is restored and we are enveloped in the warmth of the sun’s arms.  Our souls come alive.  If I pay close enough attention, I swear sometimes I can feel it dancing in my heart.

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.  ~Oscar Wilde

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Thursdays with Tilly

Keeping chickens is like therapy for the soul.  Somehow, these feathered little ones seem to melt away things that seem to matter so much to people in the human world but aren’t really important at all.  Everyone has these sort of days.  Ones that start out with oversleeping.  Ones filled with sadness.  Ones that deliver bad news and ones that somehow never end soon enough.  It is not easy living in this world that we humans have created to “make life easier”.  Many days, I think that technology and inventions have done just the opposite.  Today was a day when I just felt down.  I’m not entirely sure why, and I never did put my finger on it, but I was reminded a few things from the chickens  They reminded me that sometimes the important things in life, things that matter, can be easily overlooked in our complicated world.  The girls remind me of lessons learned early in my medical career.

The cold blew in last night.  Today I was a little hesitant to spend a longer amount of time outside with the flock. Yet, I put on my heavy down winter coat, gloves and a hat and went to sit and just watch the chickens.  I needed to unplug.  As I arrived, I delivered treats for the girls consisting today of strawberry tops, apple cores, lettuce, tomatoes and a few grapes.  They could not contain their excitement.  Immediately, they reminded me to be thankful for the “little things” in life.  What was our trash, was their treasure.  This made their day.  Sweet little things like this happen daily.  Strangers smiling back at a smile.  People holding doors open.  People saying “God bless you” when you sneeze.  Strangers stopping to help a car accident.  People helping to pay for groceries of a family in need.

Things like the pip hole on the shell of an egg.

The chickens went about scratching in the dirt and sharing found treats with one another.  I watched and could not help thinking that each of us has something to share with someone.  We all need companionship as much as we need to be companions.  Some people with brave faces carry heavy hearts.

Things like dust bathing companions

Finally after filling their crops with goodies, the girls decided to take dust baths.  Quietly I watched them.  Oyster Cracker made a large hole. Soon enough, it was filled with three Silkies and Oyster Cracker.  None of them seemed to care that the other was sharing in the experience.  Piled on top of each other, they pecked things out of one another’s feathers and the surrounding dirt.  It was so relaxing to observe them.  Finally, I could feel my day begin to melt.  I began to think of getting things organized and clean, for a fresh start.  Organizing, cleaning and changing your environment can make a big difference. I came in from visiting the chickens.  As I warmed up,  I asked the kids to pick up the toys they were not playing with.  I went through two days of mail sitting on the kitchen island. I finished our Christmas card list and I figured out what I was making for dinner.  Suddenly, a memory from almost 20 years ago floated into my mind.

Human contact.  A voice. A whisper.  Holding hands quietly.  Feeling a warm body next to yours.  These are what make life special.  At the end, they are all that matter.  When I worked in a nursing home after hours sometimes I would go and just sit with my patients quietly in their rooms.  They had no families.   I was young, unmarried and without a family of my own nearby.  We would just hold hands.  Knowing one another was there, we would say nothing.  Their minds did not function like mine or yours, but every once in a while, I would feel them squeeze me back.  Life should be simple.  Today, the chickens reminded me.  Happiness and love are abundant this season, yet sharing something you can give for free is sometimes the most difficult but the best gift we can give and share with one another.  Thank you Tilly and the girls, for helping me to remember.

Things like the magic of an ordinary beach stone to a 4 year old.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Doing Nothing

Approaching my lap

The week has been incredibly busy.  So busy that it just seemed to whiz by and when I tried to recall what I had done, it was just a big blur.  Unfortunately this weekend is also jam packed with to do lists, sporting events and errands that remained from the week.

I knew that I had to clean out the coop.  In my mad rush, I accomplished this very quickly yet I could not help but notice that the chickens were needing some attention.  They missed me this past week.  In typical fashion, Oyster Cracker came over.  As I sat on the stoop of the run door, she nestled and tucked her head in between my knees.  I scooped her up.  She immediately sat there in my lap and snuggled.  She shook her head and tried to bury it into my elbow, arm pit and underneath my neck;  she could not get close enough.  There we sat together for a few moments and then I lifted her up and placed her on the floor of the run.  No sooner, she returned and asked to be held again.  So it went, six more times!  Finally, I gave in and just decided to hold her.  She needed me and I think I needed what was about to happen next.

I took some deep breaths and could suddenly smell the fire from a wood burning stove in the cool crisp air.  I could feel it filling my lungs and could feel myself exhaling the week’s demands.  I held her feathers and admired them, all unique yet forming the most delicate blanket of downy softness, her heart beating rapidly and her breast bone tucked in the palm of my hand.  I listened and could hear the leaves rustling in the trees and some crows yelling in the distance.  We sat there for about 20 minutes together, just content to be with each other.  I think she might have even taken a nap.  This was the longest time that we spent together.  Oyster Cracker had reminded me about taking a minute to breathe, to clear my mind and to allow myself stolen moments like this to just do nothing.  Doing nothing turned out to be just what I needed.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest