Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Retroflective: If You Don't Have Chickens in Your Living Room, You're Doing it Wrong

Thoughts and Images

My house smells like chickens.

It is not a good smell: one part vinegar, one part spoiled milk, one part pine shavings. I have three chicks in my living room like parakeets in a cage, nestled in an uncarpeted area right in front of my TV. They scatter pine shavings everywhere and chirp pleasantly. If I let them out onto spread out towels, they commence dive bombing one another in their contest for dominance. They are, incidentally, very hard to photograph for the novice. I can't tell where to point the camera and keep capturing empty space with a tail feather in it. There is one beautiful light brahma named Sasquatch. She belongs to my son Rowan and looks like a tiny, ridiculous eagle with lavishly feathered feet. Devin's is a demure, somewhat pitiful black australorp chick named Ninja, who is most un-Ninja-like. More of a librarian as a personality. And, finally, the photo bomber in every group shot: a chicken with no feathers on her neck, belonging to my littlest, Mikalh.

"What's wrong with that chicken?" people ask politely.

"So she will always look that way?"

The chicken is a naked neck, or turken breed. Her name is Ostrich. She likes cameras.

It is possible that I am insane. However, if you tell me that, I will become angry and huff at you about sustainability and the ability to produce our own food. Everyone, actually, should have chickens in their living room. It is you who are not doing it right. This is perfectly normal. Just ask Joel Salatin.

The truth is that all my life it has been inevitable that I would end up with chickens in my living room. It is a function of maturity. Last time, I had ducklings in the kitchen. (Don't recommend.)  At twenty, I had a rabbit that free-ranged in my house and died of eating candles and, prior, as a teenager, I had a rat palace installed in my parents' kitchen. The rats served no useful function and I tended to forget to clean their cage. These chickens are a dramatic improvement. I do learn. See?

(I promise to not post about chickens for my next three Friday Retroflectives. Sorry. Try to stop being so intolerant.)


Damn! I wrote a story about a chicken earlier this week. It was fiction, though, so it doesn't count. To make up for doing that, I wrote a ridiculously long history of my son's diagnosis with Auditory Processing Disorder and all my thoughts about that, so that later he can take it to therapy and have a really clear case for why it's damaging to have a mother who's a blogger (although my story about Rowan's ADHD is one of his favorite posts so maybe my kids like this kind of thing). After I'd done that, I attempted to write a review of The Gaean Enchantment. All in all, a full week. I have to say, though, that my favorite thing of all was the discussion in comments on my post from last week about religion. That conversation represented everything I hoped for when I began writing Team Ambiguity posts–that I could throw some thoughts out there and ask you to discuss them with me, that we could come from a myriad of perspectives but converse with respect and an interest in one another's view point. I have learned so much from the experience of that conversation that what I learned is probably a post in and of itself. What I learned first and foremost is that I absolutely love you guys.


Here are some of the nuggets of platinum I found while toodling around the interwebs this week, avoiding weeding my garden and dusting my house:

The pondering of one white mother on her racial identity after having a black child: Have I Become a Whiteist? by Martha Wood of MomSoap

A concrete cake made of love lost: MacArthur Park by Julie of Feeding the Cat

On letting your kids go: Spread Your Wings by Jewels of Frazzled and Frumpy

Authoritative advice on How to tell if you are a troll by the Bloggess

A how-to on raising worms to feed your chickens. Sorry! That just slipped out.

My daddy's going to be visiting this next week so I don't know how much I'll get to post. Or how many weird typos may appear in posts I have desperately thrown up before everyone wants to go do something. Please excuse.


  1. I love that naked necked chicken so much. You are fortunate I don't live closer or I would chicken-nap her. I will trade you my life sized ceramic chicken for her.

    1. That's tempting. I am dying for a life-sized ceramic chicken. No joke. Someday, you'll have to visit me. You can bring the kids. Tell your husband you are taking a long drive to a petting zoo. Then I will just have to check your luggage carefully to make sure Ostrich is not in there before you all leave.

  2. My daughter wants chickens. Or goats. Or a cat. I told her she has the wrong mom for that kind of a farm. Also the wrong neighborhood. She'd have done better if she'd lived my life, where I actually lived on a dairy and got up one morning to find a calf in the kitchen, laying in front of an open oven.

    Now, I'm wondering if there will be thousands of young adults in therapy in a decade being diagnosed with BloggerMom Syndrome. My kids are headed for that, for sure.

    Thanks for linking to my post. You're so sweet, you make me get all misty.

    1. Yesterday, I brought my hen into the house and tried to convince my husband that we should order her diapers just to wear on special occasions, so she could have Christmas with us, etc. I would not find it unpleasant to have a calf lying in my kitchen...well, unless it wouldn't get up to let me cook.

      Maybe we should try to organize some sort of a group therapy offering for our kids now. We could totally live Tweet that.

      I loved your post. :)

  3. I always wanted to own a penguin and/or a lion. I am not sure how they would get along, or if it's legal. Everyone tells me I am crazy, and if I am, I don't have a problem with it at all.

    1. Based on my experience, the penguin might attack the lion. But I don't think you are crazy. Just get some kind of special license or say they are therapy animals, which you need to manage your fibromyalgia.


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