This has been an interesting spring to say the least. In my neck of the woods, we have had temperatures in the thirties and then down to four degrees, Celsius. I can’t remember ever having to light a fire in our wood stove in June before. We have lived here twenty years and this is the first time that I have felt the damp, cold weather in such a drastic change. I was fooled by the early warm weather, for a couple of weeks. Some of you may remember from an earlier post, that I was starting some plants in the green house earlier than usual, this year. I did however transplant a few of my starter plants outside because they were getting root bound. It did shock them some but are starting to come along better now. I have had to cover them at night when the risk of frost is high. I still have my tomato plants that need to be transplanted very soon and moved outdoors but I am holding off until we get through this cold snap. Planting and keeping most of what I am growing in the green house this year, is proving to be the right choice. Considering how everything is growing so far, I believe my yields will exceed my expectations. I have already picked some lettuce for salads. We have also had a little bit of baby spinach and baby swiss chard.
The pots I planted wild flower seed in are coming along nicely. Hopefully the flowers will bloom before too much longer. I am so looking forward to the warm weather that brings with it the beautiful colors of fresh blossoms here in our little piece of heaven. This time of year I always take note of how vibrant the new shades of green are with the new growth. To me, it is a sign of restoration and renewal. The green that is showing now is the brightest it will be all season. This reminds me that all living things have a beginning and an end. All of life has a cycle.
I am sprucing up the yard by restoring some ornaments in the form of my painted rocks. I have had great joy over the years painting many rocks to brighten the yard. Until flowers come into bloom they add beautiful color. If the rocks have been in the sun they will fade over time.
This is one of the first rocks I painted over seven years ago. It lasted well but like most non living objects, it needed some restoration.
We as humans sometimes get so busy that we forget that life is a journey that needs to be savored. Sometimes even living beings need some restoration. Every step of our existence should be experienced, noted and appreciated for what it is. At times, we all need to restore ourselves in the way of adapting to new ways and or belief systems. I used to resist change and unpleasant experiences. The unpleasant parts of life happen and by accepting them rather than resisting them, I have found it easier to the lesson in them. Find the teaching moment as it were. I used to try to push through those unpleasant moments with great force and speed. Now, after all of my experiences in life, I have come to a place where I take the time to feel what is really happening and do my best to live it fully for that very reason. If I continued to file these experiences away and not feel the full effect, it comes back to haunt me. Then the teaching moment could be lost forever.
Speaking of unpleasant experiences, my little Tiny, one of our laying hens suddenly passed last Sunday. I found Tiny laying lifelessly on the ground, with Waffles nudging her, trying with all her might to lend the strength that she thought Tiny needed in order to be revived. Waffles was making distressing noises and it broke my heart to see them both in such a state.
I had felt a very unpleasant chill just moments before I found Tiny. I guess it must had been her heart giving out. She was old for a commercial laying hen and there were no signs of any other types of stress. Tiny just laid down and passed peacefully.
The commercial breed of laying hen we have are genetically designed to live producing an egg almost daily and because of this there life span tends to be shorter. I did not realize that there life span was going to be so short. I may have thought twice before getting them. Alternatively, I may have chose to get a heritage breed instead, although I have no regrets at all now. Tiny was only three years old.
As I rushed down to the barn, Waffles seemed to be in great distress watching her best friend pass. The noises she was making stopped as soon as I picked Tiny up. I could see in Waffles eyes she so hoped that there was something I could do for her friend. I was too late, she was gone and there was nothing I could do. I felt useless and extremely sad.
As I prepared Tiny’s body for burial, Waffles watched quietly. In her own way I believe she was saying good bye to her companion.
I have been told that laying hens have a brain the size of a raisin. Some would say that, it was just a laying hen, with no real empathy for the life that was lost. I, being the empath that I am, know that even though they have small brains they have individual personalities. They show affection and they also have enough intelligence to understand what has taken place. I have had enough hens to know that they recognize there favorite humans and hens alike. They feel a lot of the same emotions that humans do, in my opinion. Their long term memory may not be as long as a humans. Or is it? Regardless, it seems to me that there are some humans who can choose to forget some events, why can’t a hen do the same.
Waffles is by herself now and she seemed depressed. I could feel her sadness. She seemed lonely so I have been spending more time with her. She is enjoying the extra attention I have been giving her but I am not about to roost on the pole with her at night. With my balance, I would not be up there very long. Lol. I have taken an old stuffed animal down to the barn. Hens are weary of anything new.
One of Waffles favorite treats are a small portion of my homemade crumbled biscuit. I put a little on the floor beside the stuffed animal and she analyzed the situation for a few moments observing that the stuffed animal wasn’t motioning toward the delightful tidbits. Inch by inch, she moved closer, as her stomach was telling her, if you snooze you may loose. It wasn’t long before she was standing beside the stuffed animal and the treat was gone. Throughout the day I would periodically check on Waffles and her new buddy, most often Waffles would be standing beside this new odd little creature pruning herself and acting content.
As nightfall came, I tied the stuffed animal on the roosting poll close to Waffles’ regular spot is and sure enough when I went to close the barn up for the night, the two were side by side cuddled up nice and close keeping each other warm.
You are probably wondering why I don’t just go and get another hen. They are flock animals and need companionship, which I am fully aware of. I have decided that I will not have any more laying hens. Waffles is three years old now and it is hard to say how much longer she will be with us. She has stopped laying and it is for this reason I believe that her days may also be numbered, much like my own. To introduce another hen at this point would be too stressful for her and myself included.
Some would suggest to place her in another flock but I believe at her age she would get picked on and this is the only home she has ever known. I have always said that once an animal has a home here, to live with me, they will stay for the rest of their natural days.
I have loved having the hens more than I can express. I started out with twelve three years ago. They were excellent companions and good therapy for me. I named everyone and treated them with great care. As they passed I would bury them in our own pet cemetery on the property with a hand painted stone to mark there resting place. They were all my friends and family I choose for myself. As I get older, and after all I have been through, I take loosing a friend or a family member harder and harder each time. A piece of me dies every time I loose another one.
I have no way of knowing how long I will be on this spinning ball and I really do want to make the most of it. That being said having animal friends that require the kind of care that the hens do coupled with what I believe they should have puts me at a disadvantage for being able to partake in some adventures that are still on my list to do. I want to have the freedom to be able to experience all that life has to offer and seize all opportunities, here and now, in my last chapter.
Waffles is adapting and not totally alone because she also has Missy, our cat friend that decided to make this her home, who she visits frequently. The stuffed animal seems to be helping her night time blues. So I will do all I can to keep Waffles healthy and happy for the rest of her days.
To me, restoration and adaptation are all part of the cycle of life. Looking forward and not backwards is what both Waffles and I are trying to do. We will remember Tiny and celebrate her happy life as it was. We said our good byes to our friend and now it is time to make the most of the time we have left. As I watch the living world restore and grow, I try to restore and grow spiritually with every passing day. Making way for the new!
Love Tanya Jean