Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day
The lack of love in hens creates some odd behaviors. In flocks without
a rooster, hens sometimes climb on top of each other as a way to express
domination. When a human enters the yard, some hens will squat down
in front of their person as if to offer submission. I usually pick the
hen up and pet her gently on the back telling her she's a good girl
then set her down. Invariably she will shake herself as if she'd been
serviced by a rooster, then go on about her business of scratching out
In humans that lack of love comes out in odd ways. We're at the end
of our show's production cycle and one of the women I work with didn't
get a valentine from the man she's been 'dating.' She was in a foul
mood all day, striking out verbally at anyone who got too near.
It's not like she plans to have a family with this guy but that desire
for companionship both physical and emotional is strong. We are a funny
bunch of apes, seeking out others to form family bonds even when reproduction
may not be the goal. Whether marriage or just cohabitation, it seems
to me the calmest state is a family group living together sharing the
work and rewards of life.
Having a flock of a few hens is a big part of the calm center of my
life. There's something about caring for a few animals, a small garden
and some trees that provides a sense of purpose and place in the universe
that a more urban existence doesn't. Planting fruit trees, sprouting
seedling tomatoes in the bay window in my kitchen and growing what food
I can to eat gives me a direct connection to the passage of time and
seasons in life.
If everyone raised at least some of their own food, our worldwide dependence
on petroleum products might decrease. And besides, it tastes so much
better when you grow it yourself.
This year's tomatoes started from seed in my kitchen
window. Is 48 plants too many? I think not!