A time to remember and to try again…

For some time, Stu and I have been talking about how we can expand our simple and sustainable lifestyle…

I’m talking chickens and bees.

He doesn’t like flapping, pecking things and I don’t like buzzing, stinging things.

So the chooks are mine and the bees are his and we’ve been reading up about both for a while.

This week, I launched the chicken effort with the purchase of a coop, a feeder and a waterer.

Of course, this involved a whole new vocabulary.  I’ve leaned that a coop is a ‘pollaio’, a feeder is a ‘mangiatoia’ and a waterer a ‘beveratoia’!  I’ve also engaged in an online discussion in Italian about pests and products to ensure the health of my chooks.

I am very excited but also very nervous.

I was about 12 years old when I last had anything to do with chooks and then under the expert guidance of my parents.  They taught me useful things like how to shoo them away from the back door and how to hypnotise them!

However, there were also days full of wonder and joy.  Our chooks used to follow us around the backyard and sit on our laps and we used to spend hours watching our mother hen look after her chickens.

My sisters and I will never forget the time that Dad decided to hatch some fertilised eggs in a frypan in the kitchen.  He filled the frypan with sand, laid 5 or 6 fertilised eggs gently on the sand and told us each to choose an egg.  That egg was to become our own personal chicken.

I didn’t know it then but now I realize that this would be the single most enlightening lesson on the wonder of life that I would ever experience.

We watched our eggs carefully for weeks and all went well until a babysitter turned the temperature up and almost cooked them.  There were tears of tragedy until Dad declared that no damage had been done.

When the time neared for them to hatch, we would bound home from school to peek into the frypan eager to welcome our babies.

One evening, my chosen egg released a beautiful brown bantam that flopped around and gazed up at me with such luminous eyes that I immediately called her “Brighty” and me “Mother”.

If I can have anywhere near the joy of my childhood with my new little collection of flapping, pecking things I’ll be happy…

(Photo: http://www.ilverdemondo.it/it/prod/pollai-in-legno-amrock-46/pollaio-anti-predatori-amrock-369)


6 responses to “A time to remember and to try again…”

  1. mardeekaus says :

    Oh Cath, I’m so glad you had a good experience with your chicken. I did not. When I was about 7 or 8 my dad bought me a baby chick, colored baby blue, for Easter. (I understand this was barbaric, and it is no longer legal to color chicks, but this was the ’50s.) Anyhow, I loved that chick and watched it excitedly strut around our garden as it grew real feathers. Then it got too big and had to go live with the million rabbits, owned by my older twin brothers, in their hutch. One day my dad, a good ol’ boy straight off the farm, got disgusted with the neglect by my brothers of the (by now ) zillions of rabbits. One afternoon I wandered out to the garden to see what Daddy was doing and I got there just as he was holding up the last rabbit by its ears. Then he slit it’s throat. Before I could faint, he picked up my chicken and chopped it’s head off right in front of me. He threw the head up into some bushes and the chicken fell off the stump and danced around before it fell down. He thought nothing of this since he killed chicken on the farm for his mother. The final horror was that we were served fried chicken for dinner that night – that I did not eat.

    So if you wonder why I am like I am, this is the reason! Viva i polli!

    Enjoy your brood, you’ll have fun. What will you name them?

    Sent from my iPad



    • Catherine says :

      Hi Mardee! What a story! Our bantams were definitely much loved pets. However I must admit I don’t know what happened to them in the long term…perhaps I was ignorant of something sinister going on!?


    • Catherine says :

      Mardee, is this the comment that I never replied to? I’m sorry. I guess it was such a ‘nice’ long story that I wanted to give my reply justice…then promptly forgot about it with my sister’s visit and frypan traumas!


  2. dellcourt says :

    As someone who as a child bred bantams have never heard of the DOYLE method.

    Mike C.



  3. tommyjoe14 says :

    Ah, country living. When I was you we would visit family that owned a farm in Michigan. I loved throwing corn cobs to the pigs and running around the yard with the chickens— until dinner time. “Uncle Leo” would ask us which chickens we wanted for dinner and then…
    The bees are somewhat new to us out here. We have found the lavender draws them from Spring til now and we are never bothered. It is fun to watch them swarm and return again and again.


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