From a bird’s eye view

It felt a bit like our recent trick-or-treat night, knocking within the circle of light at the door of Eliot Coleman’s home.  This time the treat would be to fill our car with chickens.

He led us by the skeletal frames of chicken shelters that were being dismantled for the season, to be reconfigured next year.  Up to the barn where he shared his latest (8th?) version of a root cellar, a crypt-like building tucked into the hillside, filled with mounds of kohlrabi, beets, and more.  We passed the large greenhouse set on wheels, seeing green growing goodness by the lights of our flashlights, ready to feed laying hens through the winter.  Then we were at a chicken tractor, set up in a field that would be potatoes next year.  Eliot commented that he already has a better design for the next chicken structure.  He plucked eight hens from their sleepy perch and into our re-purposed dog crate, then we slid it into the back of our car.

2015_Nov01 001

Surprisingly, the hens settled right down, some even getting pats by riders seated next to them on the way home.  We brought the crate to the new coop, Josh put them one by one on their roosts, and there they sleepily stayed.

There was something about this experience that had me laying awake that night, wondering.  I finally realized that in the dark of Four Season Farm with Eliot, there’d been something that echoed loudly of Dickinsons Reach with Bill Copethwaite.  It was odd because these two men were so very different, despite their link of Helen and Scott Nearing.  But for the first time their commonality was quite clear as I again had the feeling of walking inside of someone’s manifested vision.  I’d met one in his eighties, one in his seventies, both emanating such strong sparks of curiosity and continued exploration of their different paths.  It was a timely reminder for me that these many aspirations of ours have space to be figured out, to unfold, to evolve.  Phew… 🙂

But what HAS been partly figured out are some windows.

It’s a tricky process, these windows that must be put in from the outside because the tapered walls make the outer sill wider than the inner.  Josh spent a good deal of mental figuring on the compound angles involved in the framing.  It requires two people for the actual installation, for checking window positioning from the inside while it is held from the outside, and for holding the window from the outside while the outer sill is put in place.  There were shims.  Many, many shims…

2015_Nov01 030

2015_Oct05 040

2015_Oct05 041

2015_Oct05 039

2015_Oct05 043

2015_Oct05 035

For now we’re skipping the windows that will need to open, because that is just not quite figured out.  There are enough in on that top circle to finally start to see beyond the wrapping.

2015_Nov01 037

How exciting it is to look out those windows, finally.  To see the bird’s eye view of what is here, what’s yet to come.

2015_Nov01 032

Including seeing those birds out there.  Although really, most of the time we’re up much closer.

  2015_Nov01 003

2015_Nov01 006

2015_Nov01 008

2015_Nov01 026

2015_Nov01 010

2015_Nov01 013

2015_Nov01 015

2015_Nov01 017

2015_Nov01 022

2015_Nov01 040

Who knew how much we’d like taking in these funny little creatures?  Their sounds, their rhythms, their surprises (catching and eating a mouse?!), the ongoing hunt for the 6-7 eggs each day.  The children sacrificed their carved jack-o-lanterns that are now pecked at, filled with carrot peels, lunch scraps, pear cores…  They run to say goodbye before school and jump from the car to run to them again after school.  One child repeatedly taking a token with her TO school…

2015_Nov02 002

Funny to think it was more than 7 years ago that we first started wanting chickens and could not because of neighborhood covenant rules.  But we’re there.  It’s been all of 4 days now, and already seems strange to think of when their funny little noises were not there, when they were not scampering on the other side of the garden fence while I finish putting the beds to rest.

Because the last of the planting for the year has been done… garlic…

  2015_Oct05 006

2015_Oct05 007

2015_Oct05 012

2015_Oct05 016

2015_Oct05 022

220 cloves this year, with hopes for 220 heads next year.  By far, the most we’ve ever planted of this favorite.  It’s a lot, but not when considering dreams of growing food for more than ourselves, not for market, but for community.  We still tinker with the ideas of what the finished wooden yurt can be, what possibilities that space can hold for us, for others.  And likely, hopefully, we too will be tinkering with new ideas around it for decades to come after.

6 thoughts on “From a bird’s eye view

  1. So lovely to read. I love chickens, and eggs, too. And the windows look beautiful. Yes, I am reminded so often of Bill but so many touches of life.

    In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. Mother Teresa

  2. I cannot wait to see them! I understand they are named and really producing! I recently read about Eliot’s trip to Washington and the recognition he received. I wonder what his take on this would be?
    Windows look wonderful. Josh looks soooooo happy looking through one.

  3. The windows are looking great! Love the chickens and that coop too…We look forward so much to reading your blog – can’t wait to see how things continue to grow and change…xoxoox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s