Empty nest


Chickens are good pets, but after a certain point, they cease to be good roommates. The Bond Chicks reached that point about a month ago, so I was pretty happy today when Ron put the chicken tractor in the garden and asked me to help him transfer the girls to their new digs.


They had a bit of an adventure when Ron made the mistake of grabbing their old cage by the bars — instead of supporting the bottom — and the whole thing gave way, dumping chickens, shavings, and feeder out into the yard. Ron, having grown up on a farm, hollered, “Grab ’em before they figure out what happened!” — so I grabbed two chickens, he grabbed four, and we took off running across the yard to put them in the tractor before they had a chance to figure out what was going on and take off. Wish we’d had video of that, because it was hilarious. Those poor birds looked so bewildered….

(DISCLAIMER: No chickens were harmed in the making of this anecdote. Confused, but not harmed.)

The girls haven’t yet figured out that it’s warmer inside the enclosed part of the tractor, so they’re all huddled up together next to the feeder. Truth be told, I think they’re afraid of the dark. They used to peep and cry and carry on something fierce when I shut the light off in my office. I felt sorry for them, so I came inside and got about a gallon of pine shavings and dumped them out there in the corner where they were huddled. I figured it would help keep them warm and make their new house smell more like home.

I think they’ll get used to it. They seemed to be having a good time scratching around and eating grass and playing in the dirt today.


Here’s Ms. Pushy Galore, trying to figure out what I’m doing. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but she has beautiful gray-green eyes. All the other chickens have dark brown eyes. I didn’t plan to have a favorite, but Pushy has so much personality, she’s really more like a funny little dog than a chicken.


The two chickens in the foreground above are Solitaire (left) and Elektra. Solitaire is supposed to be an Araucana, although she bears absolutely no resemblance to the breed standard. Elektra is supposedly a Barred Rock — although, again, she bears absolutely no resemblance to the breed. Solitaire actually looks more like a Barred Rock, with her pretty black and white feathers, and Elektra looks like she could have some Ameraucana in her. I think maybe they got the cages labeled wrong at the feed store. It’s not unusual to find Ameraucanas being sold as Araucanas, so it makes sense to think somebody just slipped up when they were labeling the cages.

Whatever they are, they’re awfully cute. I don’t much care what breed they are. I didn’t buy them for show. I bought them to work in my garden and entertain me … and I must say, they’re doing a fine job of both.

Hope your day was a Rare Entertainment. (Bonus points if you can identify the source of that phrase … and no fair Googling it to get the answer!)


Divine energy

Mary Baker Eddy has a line in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures about how Christian Science “illustrates the unlabored motion of the divine energy.”

I’ve always kind of liked that line, but I don’t think I’ve ever demonstrated it more clearly than I have in the past few days.

I stayed up late Thursday night, working on the Oklahoma Route 66 Association Trip Guide. By “late,” I mean, “slept for three hours and then got up and went to work Friday.”

I got a lot done, but I still had a lot left to do. I went to bed early Friday night (like 5:30 p.m.) and slept in until 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening trying to finish up the Trip Guide. I ran into two unexpected glitches along the way, both of which cost me a good deal of time and stress. The first was a problem with an ad that refused to print. The second was a much bigger, scarier concern: When I burned a copy of the file containing the entire project to CD, it seemed to copy just fine, but when I attempted to open the file from the CD, I got an error message.

I thought maybe the file had corrupted, so I burned my backup copy to a new CD.

No dice. Same problem. I tried burning yet another copy to yet another CD, this time setting it for the slowest — and supposedly most reliable — burn speed rather than the fastest speed.

It still didn’t work. I tried looking in the inDesign help file, but I came up empty.

I was starting to panic. By this point, it was 5 o’clock in the morning, and I desperately wanted to make a usable CD so I could have my work backed up off-site, just in case something happened to my computer. I was running out of ideas … and I was getting scared. If I couldn’t make a usable CD, how would I get this enormous file to the publisher later in the week? If the publisher couldn’t open the file, he couldn’t print the Trip Guide. It was really starting to look as if I’d just put in all those hours upon hours of work for nothing.

Another hour dragged by. I was getting more frustrated (and scared!) by the second, and I finally decided to cut my losses and try to rest for a little while so I wouldn’t fall asleep during church. Maybe I would think of something brilliant in the morning.

I went to bed, but my thoughts were racing, and I couldn’t seem to shut them off. What if I couldn’t make a readable CD? What was wrong with the file? What if I busted the whole thing apart and burned one page at a time to separate CDs to try to isolate the problem? What if … ?

Ten minutes went by, and I realized I was going to be lucky to get three hours’ sleep at the rate I was going. I was really tired, but I was having a hard time quieting my thoughts so I could rest.

It finally occurred to me that I could pray about this.

At first, my prayers were something along the lines of, “My energy doesn’t depend on how many hours I sleep. If I have three hours to rest, it’s because I only need three hours. ‘Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,’ and what I need right now is rest.”

Then it came to me that while I might not know how to fix whatever was wrong with those CDs, divine Mind did know, and since this was right action — it was volunteer work, after all, and the purpose of the project was to help people — I could trust that I would also know all that I needed to know to keep this work from being impeded by some last-minute technical glitch. Mind would show me the answer. I just had to pay attention.

With that idea firmly in thought, I drifted off to sleep.

I woke up three hours later feeling surprisingly fresh and rested. It occurred to me, as I was getting out of bed, that CDs contain read-only files, and maybe when I tried to open the file, the computer thought I was trying to modify it. The error message (now, there’s a metaphysically loaded phrase!) had said something about my not having permission to open the file. I walked into my office, dragged the file from the CD to my desktop, and watched in utter delight as it opened without a hitch.

Better still, despite my lack of sleep, I had a good, productive day. The bathroom sink drain stopped working just as I was about to leave for church. Ron was still asleep when I got home, so I took the drain and stopper assembly apart, found the blockage, and removed it. Then, after lunch, I found I had the energy to clean the bathroom; do five loads of laundry; build a fire; clean the kitchen; feed and water the chickens; buy groceries; and cook and pack our lunches for tomorrow.

Unlabored motion, indeed. It’s 30 minutes past bedtime, and I’m still awake enough to blog. Not bad. 🙂

Hope your weekend was full of “unlabored motion” and “divine energy,” too.