Linda Durham at her Santa Fe home with her beloved chickens Agnes, Clare, Teresa, Brigit and Lucy. Courtesy photo
These five chickens are lifting spirits during the isolation from the pandemic. Courtesy photo
By LINDA DURHAM
Five chickens have lifted my spirits during this pandemic and transported my travel-denied self to a simple world I never realized I craved.
In March, my partner and I acquired a small, architecturally appealing chicken house and five 2-day-old chicks. The poultry expert at the feed store gave us a few basic instructions for the care and feeding of these fragile little creatures.
Day by quarantined day, we adjusted the special heat lamp, filled their water dispenser, and watched them grow.
When the days were almost as long as days get in this part of the world and when the chickens had acquired all their feathers, we moved them from the big crate in our house to the secure barnwood residence with the corrugated metal roof. In quick time, our five “saintly” chickens – Agnes, Clare, Teresa, Brigit and Lucy – turned into fully grown, active and captivating pets … sources of wonder for both of us.
Last week, we set up a small garden table and chairs under the trees near the chicken house. In the morning, we drink our coffee there, read the morning papers, and watch the antics of these curious hens. Our gentle black lab is fascinated by them. She has become their canine guardian and companion.
On many afternoons, when I am tired of household chores or the work at my desk, and when I feel sad and unsettled by the problems of the world, I wander outside and find the chickens pecking around the bird feeders or resting in the shade. When they see me, they perk up and hurry toward me. I give them small pieces of strawberries or muffins.
They gather around me as I talk or sing to them. Or recite a poem: “Little Orphan Annie’s come to our house to stay, An’ wash the cups and saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away, An’, shoo the chickens off the porch an’ dust the hearth an’ sweep…”
It’s soothing to be near these sweet young chickens. I tell them my concerns about the Corona virus. I voice a few ideas for my next book. They cock their heads and listen—approvingly, or so it seems.
Yesterday, I entertained them with an animated speech in which I offered possible solutions to some of the problems that plague our world. They observed my expressive gestures and seemed to nod in tacit agreement.
Quarantine is easier with a few chickens.
Meet Agnes, Clare, Teresa, Brigit and Lucy – lifting spirits during the pandemic. Courtesy photo