Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ashes and Beauty

Who knew fire could renew, not just destroy?
It’s been exactly one year since my last blog post. I figured this would be a fitting time to try and re-enter my blog; introduce myself to it again, see if I can attempt to make room for it in my life once more.
My fingertips have missed the feeling of the keys beneath them. My heart has missed the honesty it is allowed to show here. It’s like my life inside out—this blog bearing witness to my guts and innards. Ewww. I know. I get it. No one likes to look at guts and innards. Let’s just look at the pretty stuff please.
So, where did I go after my last post in 2012? What has happened to keep me so far away from this hobby I had come to love? Well…
My grandma died on this day last year. That much you know. Two weeks later (to the day) my other grandma (Grandma McCauley) died as well. And in between those two weeks, two of my chickens were eaten by hawks. I thought about writing a blog post titled, “How to lose two grandmas and two chickens in two weeks,” but that really is such a niche market I didn’t think anyone would be able to relate. And not that losing chickens is even comparable to losing two grandmothers you dearly loved, but when things start dropping dead in such a small amount of time, everything feels equally important.
I think the coffee maker shit the bed that week too. And the iron.
I had already planned a trip to Arizona later that month (originally to see my grandmothers one last time and show them my recently published book project) but instead I ended up attending both of their funerals. I guess if there has to be a benefit of dying within two weeks of each other, it was that I could go to both services in the same vacation. My Grandma McCauley would have appreciated the cost savings in that.
One evening in May, I found out that a neighbor who had lived one house away from us (their family had only just moved the previous summer) died in her sleep. She was only a couple years older than me. She just died. Went to sleep after her night shift at the hospital (she was a nurse) and didn’t wake up. Her daughter and son (good friends of my children) found her when they got home from school. Yes, she had a heart condition, yes they knew about it, but nobody knew that morning would be her last. Her daughter called my daughter that night on the phone. I listened in. “Did you hear about my mom?” she asked my daughter. “She died today and I found her.” That’s pretty rough shit for an 11-year-old to hear. And literally hours after it had happened.
On June 21st, my Aunt Debi died. She was just 10 years older than me.  I was very close to her—her amazing photographs fill my walls with close up shots of my children as babies. Our family. Their smiles. Her passing less than one year from her being diagnosed with aggressive brain tumors. The good news is that while I was in Arizona for the Grandma funerals, we spent time together: had breakfast out, did a little shopping, got pedicures. Vented. Chatted. Ran errands. We managed to squeeze in quality time before her headaches and fatigue kicked back in and I returned her home to sleep. I wasn’t able to attend her service though, which I deeply regret.
In June I also found out that I didn’t get a job that I was really, really hoping to get. I came in second to a guy with more advertising experience. Which of course is nothing really, after losing your Aunt. It’s not a brain tumor after all. It’s just a job. But I still wanted it.
At the end of August, my marriage ended. He moved out in September. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m the one that filed. I’m sure he’d want me to publicly own that, which I have no problem with.
I also lost two more chickens to hungry hawks. Fucking hawks. Not that losing chickens is the same as losing a husband you still loved, but again…things start to feel equally important when they happen so close together.
2012 was a year of losses. Of grandmothers and chickens, friends and aunts and husbands, jobs and dreams, and illusions. Depressing, I know. Who wants to read about all this shitty shit? How could I possibly blog about what was going on in my head, or my heart, or my life? Where’s the funny in the kind of year I had?
Well, I haven’t gotten to the good part yet. Hang in there. I haven’t told you about the miracle yet.
Because after a person has that kind of year, especially culminating in the loss of 13 years of marriage, you reach a point where there are two options: despair or prayer.
I tried despair and couldn’t do it. Too dark. Plus it reminded me too much of my morose teenage years except without the cool 80’s clothing.
I brought everything that’s happened in the past year; all the ache and pain and loss and yuck and questioning and worries and obsessions and dead people and marriage issues and I laid them all at the foot of the cross.
Yes, that cross.
I know. I’ve never really blogged about my faith or my religion and maybe that part of me is new to you. You weren’t ready for this turn all religious-y. That’s okay. That’s where you’re at. But if you quit reading now you’re going to miss the miracle part.
And after I laid all this stuff before the cross (quite literally, on my hands and knees in front of the blessed sacrament during adoration one day) I let it go. All of it. I gave it all back to God to take care of. I couldn't do it anymore. The weight of all those things was just too much. 
And I found something. Well, a lot of somethings.
I found myself.
The me that I buried under roles and expectations and life and worries and regrets and fear. I got her back.
I also found peace. And joy. And serenity. And Truth. And happiness. And contentment. All those things I’ve been fighting to find for so long, came to me once I let go.
2012 was quite possibly the worst year of my life to date.
2012 was also quite possibly the best year of my life to date. How is that—that such a beautiful, wondrous existence is possible even amidst the flames that have turned so much to ash?
That, my friends, is the miracle.
“Now I can trade these ashes in for beauty
and wear forgiveness like a crown
coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
at the foot of the cross.”
(lyrics from At The Foot of the Cross, by Kathryn Scott)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Letter To You

Dear Grandma Stone,
Last night I stepped out of the shower and grabbed a clean towel from the closet, started to dry my face, and stopped. I took a long, sweet, inhale of that towel which smelled exactly like the ones I’d pull from beneath your bathroom sink as a child. That wood-soaked, fresh-laundry smell, hinting slightly of shelf liner and extra bars of soap, transported me back into your house, into the hall bathroom, and I was 5, 7, 13 again, stepping out of your shower and onto the yellow carpet. There were the Picasso-esque New Orleans jazz players on the wall at my right, the brass floor rack that held extra towels by the double sink, the soap dish that cradled mysteriously shaped soaps I was always too scared to use. I didn’t want to mar them. I used the pump dispenser.
And when I went to bed last night I couldn’t get you or your house out of my mind. Was it because it was your birthday and I hadn’t called? Was my obsession motivated by guilt? I laid in bed for over an hour and walked through your home in my memory. Like a 360-degree video clip I scanned each room; the walls, the contents of the cupboards, the index card labels on each box and carton written in black sharpie. Walking into your home always filled me with such a sense of peace; the smells, the quiet jazz station playing from the radio on the counter, the cleanly order of each room, dusted and sparkling perfection. Your home was one of the few places I felt I could truly escape, even amidst the turmoil of life and work and motherhood, and no matter my age, where I could stretch out my arm for the soft caress of your fingers. I imagined all this and for a brief, fleeting moment, felt like things were still as they were. And you still lived there on Manhatton Drive and I could still go to you for respite. In your presence I could always breathe deeply, unencumbered by life.
Dad had taken me through your home when it was empty and cleaned, the walls sterilized with fresh white paint, the new windows draft and rattle free. Walking in sucked the breath from my body as if every beautiful thing and all the magic and all our history in those rooms had been wiped clean, existing only in particles of eraser dust on the crisp, virgin carpet. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to that house then. I’m not really ready to say goodbye to you now.
Is that why I imagined your home so vividly last night? Did you know about today somehow, and send me those beautiful memories to help make today easier for me? It did a little. I think.
You’d be glad to know I’m surrounded by you in my home. I go to bed and wake up every morning seeing your painting; the nude you painted in art class hangs in gold frame on my ice blue bedroom walls. It’s the most perfect place for that piece, the room bringing out the best in the aquamarines and browns. I stare at that painting and try to imagine what you were like at that age, try to imagine you painting it, what you might have been wearing, the strokes of your hands as you laid the oils on canvas. Your other painting hangs in my living room, your dishes are in my kitchen cupboards, I pour tea from the crystal pitcher you gave me, your beautiful crèche adorned my holiday mantel. You are everywhere here. And yet, you live most vibrantly in my memories of plywood play sets and green felt advent trees, red suitcases filled with special toys, and dolls from faraway lands. Wicker ducks and chickens that laid candy once a day, and a closet full of strange and exciting toys I’d never seen and didn’t have at home. The smell of your lipstick and Bill Blass perfume. Your closet that housed a menagerie of necklaces and jewelry. The way you set a beautiful table. Your gift for gracious hostessing. Your bible verses and quotes on the side of your refrigerator. Your never ending lists of things to do, to make, to order, to cook, to prepare for.
I was coming to visit, in three short weeks (now three long weeks), to hold your hand and sit by your bed and keep you company. I would have brought you chocolate covered ginger even if you could have only smelled it. I wanted to show you the book I just published, even if I only read you a few pages. In my heart, did I suspect this might happen? Perhaps. But even when we know what the future holds, it’s still difficult isn’t it Grandma? And although I know there was rejoicing in heaven today when you got up there and that this day was the best of your life, right at this very moment it doesn’t console me much.
I could wax poetic forever about the childhood memories you gave me and the endless ways you made me feel special. But the value of those recollections matter to no one but my own heart. And now, in heaven you know them all. There is nothing left to say except I’m sorry I didn’t call you yesterday. 
I love you.
I'll miss you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's a....BOOK!

Rachel Vidoni and her new baby, Little Changes

 I just wanted to let you all know, officially here on my blog, that I had my baby. Well, it was a joint labor really, but the book that Kristi Marsh and I have been working on for the last year and a half arrived in the mail two days ago, in actual pages. With a binding. And amazing illustrations. It was certainly the longest labor of my life; 13,148.7 hours. Not that I was counting. And while I didn’t need an epidural, there were quite a few hours in there that required numerous glasses of wine and a lot of sustained breathing exercises.

When I first signed the contract (over margaritas and Mexican food) to ghostwrite/edit this book, I had little idea of what it would entail, but was excited for an opportunity to actually be part of a book-writing process. Kristi didn’t really know me. I didn’t really know her. I didn’t know much about the book she wanted to write and I had absolutely no clue how to work on a project of this nature (which I’ve kept a secret until now). Honestly, I didn’t know if I was even capable of such a feat, but the book proposition presented itself, so I pretended I was an expert writer who could transform anything she handed me into spun gold. 

Which of course, I did.

Not very humble sounding, is it? That’s terrible, I know. I’m not a big one to toot my own horn, but after a labor and delivery like this one, I’m pretty proud of the book we created and I want to show it off to the world—just like a first-time mom holding up her newborn baby. “Isn’t she beautiful?” I know. How much more narcissistic can I get?

Well, a little more is always possible apparently. 

Little Changes; Tales of a Reluctant Home Eco-Momics  Pioneer

 That’s my name right there. The little blue one under the big pink one. My name is in print on the cover

The honest truth is that it’s a fabulous story. It’s easy to make a delectable, mouthwatering burger when you are working with 100% grass-fed, free-range, happy meat.  Little Changes has an amazing and important message. Somewhere around the middle of the project Kristi asked me, “Why are you doing this? Why are you working so hard for this book and for me?”

I honestly didn’t have a very scientific reason for her. The contract I signed notwithstanding, I worked on this book because I believe in its message. And more than that, as the project continued, I had this gut-feeling that this book was going to be big.

As in, BIG.

And just so you know, I’m going to be blogging about this book A LOT. Mostly because our marketing budget is, well, smaller than we had hoped. Which is why I’m relying on my family, friends, and the three other people that read this blog to help me spread the word. And if you are a blogger/writer and would like a copy to read and review on your blog, PLEASE leave a comment or send me a message. I’ll make sure you get a copy pronto.

As things have progressed and the book is in our hands and so many AMAZING opportunities are coming her/our way, all I can say is;


It’s not too late! You can do it HERE

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Test

The forgotten trumpet. 

It’s January 3rd, and I was already given an opportunity to put my only New Year’s Resolution into effect. As is typical, this morning my son was late getting out the door, with my husband waiting for him in the driveway, car running. My son always announces that he’s “ready” for school, even though he’s sitting at the table, barefoot, sporting bed head, with cereal milk dripping from his mouth as he says it. The time between the words, “I’m ready,” to his butt actually hitting the passenger seat is about 10 minutes. At least. Such is the life of pre-teens.

About 20 minutes after he left, the phone rang. I was elbow deep in my daughter's french braid so I let the machine get it. I heard:

“Mom. It’s me. Can you bring my trumpet to school? I need it. Thanks.” Click.

I finished my daughter’s hair and assessed the situation. I was dressed and ready, but my four year old was on the couch in her pj’s, and another daughter who needed to get to the bus stop in 15 minutes, and it was colder than a witch’s….well, it was just really, really, cold outside. We’ll leave it at that.

I flew through the house, grabbing his trumpet from his room, his music folder strewn about his floor, trying to unhook my parka from the closet, mentally checked the fact that I had 15 minutes to get there, drop it off, and return home or either my middle daughter was going to miss the bus, or my four year old would be home alone, and it was getting hard to breathe, and I realized…

Hey. I have choices here. Am I making this decision On Purpose?

No. I wasn’t. I was trying to be a good mom. You know, that good mom who brings the trumpet to school when her pre-teen son should have been getting his things together but was instead watching cartoons on TV at 6:30 a.m. I was doing what I’ve been trained and conditioned to do, which is rescue people/children from situations they get themselves into, and while certain circumstances do call for a mom to bring things to school (medication or a project that won’t fit into a bus seat) this was not one of those times. So I shelved the instinct to be good, and settled for what I do best, and that is mediocre. I was selfish and chose sanity over saving my son's arse. Sealing my decision with a grain of reality, I also rationalized that band was only the first period of the day. Chances were good that even if I got the damned trumpet to school, the class would soon be ending and he wouldn’t be able to play it anyway.

So I made a different decision. I hung my coat back inside the closet, grabbed a new cup of coffee, and had a very pleasant, non-stressful morning. Making that decision On Purpose was so liberating! I made another decision On Purpose and moved my son’s trumpet and music folder to the front door where he would see it when he left for school the next day. You’re welcome son.

The best part about my decision? When my son came home he asked me, “So, did you get my message this morning?”

“Yep,” I replied.

“You just didn’t feel like bringing it?” he asked.

“Nope. I didn’t have time. Did you get in trouble?” I asked, silently hoping for some logical consequences here.

“No. I just changed the subject and my teacher didn’t say anything else about it.”

Well, no consequences, but overall the experience was win-win. My son didn’t get into trouble (this time) and I had a fabulous, productive, stress-free morning.

On Purpose. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Only New Year's Resolution

This year I’m only making one New Year’s Resolution. Broad enough that many things could count toward its progress, yet vague enough that if I miss the mark in some areas, I won’t feel like I’ve failed. My goal for 2012 is simple really;

Live Life On Purpose.

What kind of ridiculous resolution is that? you may be asking. How the heck else do people live life? On accident?  

Yes. Exactly my point. For a long time I’ve been living my life on accident. But no longer.

I’m no philosopher—heck, I’m mediocre across the board—but it occurs to me that many people want results in their lives but don’t actually want to change anything. We make resolutions to lose weight and then refuse to seriously cut out the calories or forgo the pasta and refined sugar. We vow to work out and exercise more, and then show up at the gym twice a week and only when it doesn’t interfere with our other commitments. We want the payoff without the pay; the prize without the contest rules.

Albert Einstein said it best when he said that, Insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

2011 showed me I’ve been insane for a long, long time.

But no longer! It’s a new year and I’m a new person and I’ve been given another chance to get it right. The good news is that everyday I wake up I get this chance again. It really doesn’t just happen on January 1st. That’s purely American Marketing talking.

I HATE exercising in the cold, but I know that I feel better when I go for my walks which clear my mind and help me put things into perspective. I’m going to go walking as much as possible, even when it’s snowing and freezing and I’m swearing under my breath about how damned cold it is. Normally I would stay in bed and relish my warm covers. But now I’m going to pull my sorry ass up, blindly yank on four layers of clothing, and go walking. On Purpose.

I LOVE posting my writing here on this blog, but tend to shelve this desire when life gets busy or stressful. But writing actually frees me, see, and even if I’m tired or stressed, maybe by writing and actually posting, I’ll get rid of some of the weight on my shoulders and feel better. Normally I would choose to sleep, but I’m going to resist that urge and make a decision to write. On Purpose.

2011 also made me realize that for far too long I’ve given the reigns of my life to the wrong people. There I’d sit in the passenger seat of my life and order the drivers around, telling them which way to go, yelling when they’d go too fast or when they’d fly by the patch of flowers I wanted to stop and admire. I’m not sure why I gave up those reigns or what I hoped to gain, but I’m in charge of driving my own buggy and taking care of my own horses and oiling my own leather saddle. It’s taken me a long time to find that joyous part of me again. I’m going to live each day with the joy and excitement I’ve shuttered for years because other people wouldn’t be joyful and excited with me. Or out of fear that they’d think I was crazy. Stupid. So what? So what if I’m the only person dancing in my living room to Lady Gaga while wearing my fuzzy, drawstring pants and sporting morning bed head? So what if no one laughs at my jokes, or acts silly or goofy with me? This year I am resurrecting my authentic self, dusting her off, and letting her shine once more. On Purpose.

My resolutions don’t involve doing anything more, or anything less. I’m not counting calories. I’m not striving to be more patient. When faced with a decision I’m simply going to ask myself, “What have I done in the past? Did I get the result that I wanted? Did my old actions/behaviors bring me joy? Is that what the REAL me would have done?” And based on those answers, I may make a different decision.

A decision made On Purpose. Not because I've always done it that way. Not because it's acceptable. Not because that's what other people want me to do. 

The only thing I’m giving up this year, is insanity.

Who's in YOUR driver's seat? How are YOU going to live differently in 2012?

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire in 2011

I figured it would be well worth my time to take one last stab at posting in 2011. Being December 30, I’m pretty happy that I didn’t wait until tomorrow to try and write this. While stress and procrastination do tend to help my creativity, it doesn’t exactly make me the nicest mother ever. Feeding my darling children takes a backseat when mom has a deadline and I end up declaring cereal the main course.

2011 hasn’t been a great year. You can tell from how often I’ve posted on my blog…when silence hits here on my page of musings, you can be sure of one thing: I’m busy. Or stressed. It’s not that I’ve run out of ideas, mind you, or that I’ve stopped coming up with clever things to say or that nothing important is happening in my life. On the contrary, silence is the biggest indicator of my dysfunction; of life handing me so many things to deal with, think through, and process that I simply cannot fathom sitting still for two hours to write them down. Or that sharing the goings-on would be a breech of the marital confidentiality agreement, which I don’t remember signing, but operate within nonetheless. Very often the cacophonous noise in my head and in my life leaves me silent. Speechless. Any spare moments I have I use to sleep. Avoidance is my salve.

2011 started in tears. Quite literally, honestly, in tears and questions and deafening silences. The rug of reality I firmly stood on was ripped from beneath my feet and I fell, hard, onto a cold cement floor and struggled to get up for months. At the height of this struggle I found myself sitting on my couch, in the silence of midnight hours, in such a state of shock that I quite literally felt something inside myself break. It was a tangible pop or rip or shatter—a noise I can’t define—but I remember that moment as being so void of answers and so black and so painful I did the only thing that came to my mind, the absolutely only thing I knew to do. I opened my bible and started reading.

Whatever broke inside me, started a migraine headache that didn’t go away for six weeks. Dr.’s looked, MRI’s were ordered, the audiologist suggested, the neurologist assessed, and after all the tests were analyzed and the dots connected; the answer was crystal clear.
Nothing was wrong with me. Healthy as could be.
Must be stress.
They eventually went away, those headaches, but for two months my operational level was barely functional. Ibuprofen became my new best friend.

Those months of learning to stand again were like that scene in The Truman Show, where Jim Carrey’s character rows the boat in the ocean, trying to prove to himself that the life he’s living is real and not a construct of another's creating, only to hit the backdrop where the sky meets the ocean’s horizon. And he knows. Nothing was what he thought.

That’s pretty much how my 2011 has been.

And yet, this year has been wonderful. I’ve written more and worked harder than ever before. I finally finished a book project I started on with Kristi Marsh, and now have a tangible product containing a funny, poignant, and inspiring story. I’ve fulfilled my life’s dream of publishing a book, even amidst the broken glass surrounding me. Accomplishing a life dream is monumental in the best of circumstances, but the fact that I have been able to complete this during one of the most difficult years of my life leaves me feeling empowered and strong.

This year I also found something I had lost for a long time—misplaced really. Myself. And I’ve given up something I held onto dearly, for fear that being without it would leave me vulnerable. Control. And in that moment on the couch when I broke—when that tiny plastic piece snapped inside me—and the only thought in my head was read the bible, that moment set me on the path that has saved me. That has led me to find the beginnings of peace. That all is well. Even when things are terrible—all is well. I don’t have any more answers than I did before, but I do have the peace to exist without them.

2011 burned through my life like a forest fire, getting rid of dead wood and allowing the conifers to release seeds into my charred earth, ready to start new life growing. With a little time and rain and sunshine and patience, a new forest will take its place. It’s not a wishful hope but a certainty. Instead of grieving for the devastation, I search through the blackened remains for tiny, green sprouts. They are already there, those sprouts. Miniscule trees and bushes waiting to rocket forth in 2012, changing my landscape in ways I can only imagine. For my last post of this year, I wish everyone joy and peace in 2012.

Would you share with me? What is your biggest triumph and trial of this year?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eggs, Cocks, and Peckers

The first little brown egg of many. Compliments of Julia.

Well hello. I didn’t use an exclamation point there because that would imply energy, or excitement even, and since I am just coming out of my blogging coma, energy is not what I have.

Yes. Three months is a long time to not post. Summer hit and the kids were home all the time. I feel like I tripped over a sand bucket somewhere around mid June and by the time I stood up, the kids were back in school and September was half over. Or maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. I am getting old. Next month I’ll be almost 40.

And since I left off in June with chickens, and since so much has happened in three months, I figure chickens is just as good a topic to start with as any. Because something really exciting happened a few weeks ago:

A few of my girls started laying.

No, not my daughters. They are only four and ten. My other girls; the feathered, beaked, worm-eating kind.

My husband came into the bedroom one evening and said to me, “Get your shoes on and go check out the coop.”

“Did you find an EGG?” I asked, with childhood excitement.

“Go see for yourself.”

Well, even though I had already showered and my hair was still wet, I threw on my mucking boots and ran across the lawn to the coop. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that this is significant for a couple reasons; I do not go anywhere after I shower where I might encounter chicken poop, and my hair was wet. I do not go outside at night when my hair is wet for fear that bugs might fly into my hair and get stuck there. Yes. I understand that I am a tad off. Nonetheless, out in pajamas, wet hair, and mucking boots went I, to see what my husband was talking about. There, in the nesting box by the window (those chickens are a little like me and no doubt appreciate the peacefulness of a cool breeze) was a little brown chicken egg.

And when I say little, I mean little. Like it might take three of these suckers to equal one Grade A Large egg. Size notwithstanding, my excitement was something I haven’t experienced in a long time. I wasn’t simply excited for the fact that we would now always have some type of food source (breakfast for dinner when groceries run low!), but this egg was a symbol. A sign. Proof that I hadn’t (in some way) screwed up when raising my chicks, that I had in fact done something right, that clearly all the yogurt, bananas, fruit peels, and pasta I had given my chickens wasn’t in vain and had actually provided them the nutrients they needed to lay eggs. There is a section in my brain that understands that chickens the world over lay plenty of eggs without these things and that my role in this process wasn’t needed in any form, (a lot like a birthing coach, who while he/she feels pretty important in the birth of said baby, is really just a prop in the room because the baby is coming whether he/she is there or not) but what the hell. I’ll take any type of credit I can to prove I don’t suck. And now I know I do not suck when it comes to raising hens. (The jury is currently out on my role as human mother.)

So now we have eggs. On a normal day we get about three because my Auricanas aren’t laying yet, and of course, they lay the blue-green eggs. Everyday my youngest yells, “What color are the eggs today mom?” When I tell her they are all brown, she smiles and yells, “I’m SO excited for the blue ones!”

And while she is excited to gather eggs, freshly laid and still warm, she is a tad reticent about being around the chickens in flip-flops.

Because chickens are chickens and when the hens see little tiny toes with bright pink toe nails I’m sure they look quite like worms with pink hats on. And being good hunter-scratchers that they are, they want to make sure they aren’t missing a tasty morsel so they go after tiny pink toes with their beaks. You can imagine how well this goes over with a four-year-old. 

In fact, back at the end of June, we discovered one morning that one of our hens was in fact, a rooster. “May” was her his name (short for Maynard now) and May liked to go after little toes, but also after little girls (both the feathered and the human kind). Because we didn’t bargain for a rooster, and the last thing I needed was more chicks running around, we found May a nice farm out in Middleboro. Really. (Not the proverbial “farm” in the sky, but an actually farm with real people farmers. Promise.)

A few weeks ago, while watching the hens eat bugs and scratch around in the mulch, my youngest said to me, “Mom, you know how we got rid’a May?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well, can we get rid’a Blackie and Julia too?” she asked.

“Why would you want to get rid of Blackie and Julia?” I questioned.

“Because they are peckers,” she said. “And I hate peckers.”

Ahhhh, yes. It’s a pretty good attitude to have all in all—hating peckers, I mean. Unless they lay eggs. In which case I’m happy to overlook their peckerness. I’ll get rid of the cocks, but the peckers I’m keeping. Because I frequently run low on groceries and need to serve breakfast for dinner.