Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The beauty of it all

To call today a snow day may be a bit of a stretch. It is certainly a snowy day but with temperatures hovering at, and just above, the freezing mark there is more snow in the air than on the ground. The twins have gone for a visit to my in-laws' leaving Henry and me with some very rare one on one time. As he nears fifteen months it is clear that he is either oblivious of the two years that separate him from his older brothers or is at least in denial about them. He is relentlessly active and delightfully entertaining. This morning I attempted to focus his energy by making a scrap snack for the chickens. He helped to crumble the stale whole wheat biscuits while I grated the remnants of a block of cheddar that had the unmistakable aroma of refrigerator. On a cold day like today the carbohydrates and fats in the biscuits will give the birds the energy they need to stay warm and the protein and calcium in the cheese are always a hit with our chicken ladies, who are egg laying machines.

After our concoction was complete Henry took the bowl with complete determination and I braced with complete apprehension for what seemed to be an inevitable spill, and we set out. Before long Henry became more interested in the small patches of snow that were accumulating in the grass, thus making our trip to the barn a long one. At last we arrived and were greeted by the most precocious of the hens. On an ordinary day they would have met us half way but with the wind and snow they were in no hurry to leave the protection of their rickety old barn. Henry regained interest and reclaimed the bowl of scraps and began distributing large fistfuls to the clamoring group of birds. They were thrilled and so was he, and truthfully so was I. One of the many joys of raising chickens and children is the constant reminder that it just doesn't take much to be happy. A few leftovers that would have otherwise gone in the trash were easily transformed into a pick me up for the chickens, a big boy job for my little guy, a cleaner refrigerator for me and by this evening, a dozen eggs for the whole family.

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