It’s been a while since I’ve been here – both figuratively and literally. This year has been a bit of a slog... nothing catastrophic but a feeling of teetering on the edge of catastrophe a few too many times.
I’ve learnt a little more about myself throughout these months. For one, the joy of gardening and watching plants grow and thrive. Something I never thought I would find relaxing or restorative. Watering the garden, tending to the plants started to feel almost meditative – a mental break and a moment to be fully present.
It was during one such morning I heard them. Quietly at first, so quiet I wasn’t sure if I’d heard anything at all. But there it was again. An unmistakeable ‘cluck cluck’ followed by a cooing sound. Chickens! There were chickens over the fence.
It wasn’t long before the whole family was asking for our own chickens. In theory I loved the idea – that irresistible cluck, the fresh eggs, a pet that wouldn’t need walking – but in reality I fought against it. Our postage stamp garden was too small. I didn’t want the roses dug up or the grass seed just sprouting to be uprooted. I didn’t want an ugly chicken wire fence making our small outdoor space even smaller.
‘We will have chooks one day,’ I kept saying, ‘when we have a bigger house and garden.’
And then the children’s birthdays all came, one month after another. And with it the realisation that they are growing up. Lily just turned nine and as Stuart so helpfully reminded me, in another nine years she will be 18. Hang on, where did the first nine years go? When did our third baby, the one who still felt a bit of a novelty, turn four? This year I have spent time visiting friends with three kids under five and found myself realising how long ago those days felt for me. In fact I can hardly remember the house full of toddlers and tantrums. Life has moved on and I haven’t noticed.
So, on the two mornings a week all the children were out of the house I found myself looking forward to my cup of tea on the deck listening to the clucks from behind the fence. Maybe we could fit chooks here, I started thinking. After all, this garden would have had a cow in it 130 years ago.
How long would it be before the kids weren’t interested in pets, chickens, home, us anyway? We can’t keep waiting for ‘one day’. Time doesn’t allow it – it’s already here. And now so are our three girls: Chippy, Clucky and Diggy. One red, one brown with white spots and one black with red spots.
I have a feeling this blog may now become a space to write about them. Interestingly, it’s only since they arrived last weekend that I have felt like writing again.
Not that they do much, but they do seem to do something to all of us. While watching them scratching around on their first morning, Stuart said over his cup of tea, ‘It’s like watching the waves.’
Yes, it really is.