Friday, July 24, 2009

Who knew it would be so easy?

I had no idea that chicken keeping would be so easy! Chickens are low-maintenance, entertaining and useful. They lay eggs, they produce useful manure for your garden, and they provide endless entertainment.
I am relieved that they are so easy to keep. Especially since I talked my husband into them over the course of a year or so. Had they been a big pain in the butt (which they can be now and then...escaping into the neighbor's yard, sneaking into the garden and trampling things...but if we are careful these things don't happen!) I would be feeling really bad right about now.
I will say, I don't know that they're all that cost effective as far as eggs are concerned. I can buy eggs from our discount grocery store for really cheap. BUT, they're not local. They're not organic. They're not free-range or cage-free. Chances are the eggs I've been buying are from chickens with really sad lives. I don't like that...but at this point, budget wins out.
What I'm realizing in this beginner's effort to simplify is that it is more about making a statement. It's about making small changes in a big mess that will, hopefully, add up to a BIG change. And while I know that there are others who do more and are more extreme in their simplifying and statement making, I don't compare myself to them....any more. I have made the decision to be comfortable doing what I am comfortable doing.
Don't get me wrong. I want to do it all. And I want to do it RIGHT NOW. It's in my personality...I get an idea, I think on it, I get excited about it and I want to dive in and do it NOW before making sure if there's even any water to break my fall! Luckily, my husband is the opposite...isn't that usually how it works? He looks before he leaps...thank goodness. And he looks for me, too! If it were up to me I'd have my front grass torn out, fruit trees planted all over the place, raised beds all over the backyard...you get the idea. But, my husband is quite a bit more level-headed than I am...he's the voice of reason...he's the one keeping me tethered to reality. Which, I will admit, can be a bit annoying at times. Do you watch SNL? Remember when Mike Meyers played the boy tethered to the jungle gym at the playground? Yeah. Anyway...
So where was I? Oh...yeah...chickens. Easy. Rabbit trails...they get me every time. I think the key to simplifying is doing your homework. Researching. Studying. Reading all you can about the subject. I've been reading about gardening for years. So when I planted the garden I felt I had a pretty good beginner's grasp on the basics. I researched the chickens. So when we did get them I felt confident that I knew what to do. And so far, I have. I read up on canning and last summer dove in and gave it a try. And, because I had read so much and taken in so much information, it was a success!
I think there's another key, too...take one thing at a time. Make one big change at a time. Get used to it...live with it...manage it...make sure it's for you. And if it is, great! Then move on to the next lifestyle change. I think making ALL the changes NOW would just be overwhelming. It needs to be done in bits...manageable bits. If I were to tear out the whole front lawn because I wanted to turn my city lot into a homestead, number one my husband would have a fit, and rightfully so. Number two, I'd have a yard full of dirt and eventually weeds because I don't know what to DO with it yet. Nor do I have the money to transform it. NOR am I sure that I want to get rid of ALL my grass. It's a romantic idea to live like the Dervaes Family...but it's not practical for MY family. And that's what I have to keep in mind...what works for US. Chances are, we will always have a patch of lawn in our front yard. So, instead of ripping out all of the grass, maybe I will eventually take the little side planter strip and turn IT into an edible landscape. Maybe I will tear out the useless ivy (good luck on this one, eh?) and instead plant a fruit tree or two and some perennial herbs. Maybe...someday.
Until then...I will continue with one small step at a time.

5 comments:

Nancy said...

Excellent post. Like you, I have the desire to do it ALL and NOW. However, from past experiences I too have learned that a little at a time is better in the long haul. We can all make a statement but we don't all have to make the same statement, right? Put one foot in front of the other....

dmoms said...

yep, I know exactly how you are feeling. I want to do it all too. Having chickens is a BIG step in the right direction - not just for the eggs but for the experience.

I have mentioned tearing up the back yard. Maybe in a few more years when the kids spend less time playing on it. For now, I have my space behind the gate.

each step forward is in the right direction!! have a great weekend.

Louisiana Laura said...

I feel like I'm in the quicksand of life when I think about simplifying. Just have to do what we can, and keep researching as we go. So glad you've stuck with it, we love seeing the chickens. My husband would have 'done it yesterday', if we could, just not in the cards,'at the moment'. Keep posting pictures of the girls so we can all be inspired by your dilligent efforts! Those look like some really happy chickens, and the photography is a pleasure to see.

Beegirl said...

Ah, the Devraes. Amazing aren't they? I think about them all the time (especially now that they've got me weighing everything I haul in from the garden) and their amazing garden. Bet they started step by step too. Plus, they have year-round gardening weather on their side. Wonderful post.. Are you keeping the chickens?

Michelle said...

Hey Beegirl...absolutely we're keeping the chickens! Did I make it sound like we weren't? No way! We love our girls!