Tag Archives: chickens

Shaker village barn part 2…. in which I converse with my people.

 

We spent a lot of time in that beautiful barn.

 

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And if you were paying attention during that riveting pig video in the previous post, you noticed some rather strange background noise…

 

 

Not what you expect to hear while trying to tiptoe through the cow pies, but it was fascinating all the same.

“An installation that offers visitors an immersive musical experience featuring some of the Shakers’ oldest melodies or, as they called them, ‘solemn songs’. (Solemn songs are textless melodies – without harmony or counterpoint – used in early Shaker worship from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.)”

“An integral part of the rural landscape, the two wooden silos, erected in 1908, stored feed corn for livestock. While many wooden silos across America have succumbed to disrepair or suburban sprawl (they haven’t been built since 1942, when fiberglass silos were introduced), the two at Hancock Shaker Village stand tall as ‘silent sentinels,’ beautiful icons of the culture of rural preservation and farming in America.”

 

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Moving on, we headed outside.

 

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Where the husband found an old implement he had to play with….

 

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And I found my people next to the manure spreader.

 

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Some were sunbathing…

 

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Others were hanging out with turkeys.  (No, I’m not talking about the husband.)

And we’re walking…

 

 

Clearly I missed my calling, and could have been a poultry manager in an earlier life.

 

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The next barn wasn’t nearly as impressive….

 

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But the husband still managed to ignore the do not touch signs and get into trouble.

 

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There was an old car…

 

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An an old sign.

 

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An old building…

 

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Which housed the old store…

 

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As well as an old living room…

 

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With an old television.

 

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I can’t imagine watching Game Of Thrones on that. Heck, the dragons would only be an inch and a half tall.

 

 

Where’s the fun in that?

 

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Entering another workshop building we found….

 

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A giant cider press.

 

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The weaving room.

 

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The broom room.

 

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And the basket room.

If they used it, they made it.

A society of Friends, remember? No sex. They had plenty of time on their hands.

And as we were leaving?

 

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We met an employee who’s sole job was to care for chickens.

Sit on a bench, in the sun, and pet a chicken all day.

I am totally qualified for that position.

Sign me up!

 

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Chicken duly met and petted, we left Hancock Shaker village with a finer appreciation of the simple things in life.

 

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Community…

Hard work…

Fresh air….

Chickens!

But not celibacy.

I don’t need that much simplicity….

 

More chicken history….

 

(Just because I can.)

In the continuing saga that was our chicken babysitting duty, the coop was on the move in 2011.

Well, technically the coop in the woods was turned into a migrant farm workers cabin.

Before –

 

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During –

 

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Yes, that’s a water heater in a tree.

 

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Isn’t that where you keep yours?

After looked something like this.

 

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So while the new workers were sleeping on top of a few years worth of buried chicken poo…. the new feathered residence was born. Although we were happy not to have to hike through snow, ice and frigid temperatures that next year, we were less than thrilled with the Rube Goldberg like design our neighbor put close to the road and right in our line of sight.

 

 

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Pretty,  it wasn’t.

 

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A greenhouse for free ranging and an old horse trailer for roosting….

 

 

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With a box in between for an entrance. Thankfully this incarnation didn’t last long, but it worked for a while.

 

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And we fed the ever expanding flock whenever the farmers were out of town.

 

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The birds didn’t seem to mind the new digs…. and my late mother, who was 88 at the time, always enjoyed visiting the little cluckers. (Please note the double protective head gear. Momma was no fool.)

 

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Required chicken butt photo below.

 

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Because they’re just so….  fluffy!

And yes, there’s riveting video as well.

 

 

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A little chicken history.

 

You may have noticed I have a glamour chicken as my avatar.  (Yes, there is such a thing.  We’re gorgeous and we know it )  But in case you wondered why….

It started back in 2010 when our new farming neighbors got a few chickens. I’d never spent much time around that particular bird, I mean come on… I’m originally from New Jersey. The only chicken I knew came in a bucket with biscuits and slaw.

 

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But they looked so cute pecking around the yard that I started visiting them, and feeding them, and photographing them and generally making feathered friends. So when our neighbors wanted to go out of town for Christmas that year? Of course I opened my big fat mouth and said, Sure! We’ll take care of them.

Did I mention it was Christmas time?

In Maine…?

 

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I had to drive down the road, then down their driveway and then down an ever narrowing path to find them. In the snow. In 12 degree temperatures.

 

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Their coop was actually a little house, but damn.

 

 

Warm and cozy it wasn’t.

 

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There were bags of feed and corn in the building, but no water so I had to lug gallons twice a day.

 

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And look up.

 

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(Always remember to look up if you don’t want a head full of chicken poo.)

I enjoyed the temporary chicken duty and would pull up a hay bale and sit happily with the little cluckers for a spell every morning and late afternoon…  thinking,  I want chickens of our own! They’re so cute!

 

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And fun to watch!”

 

 

But remember I said “we” would take care of them?

 

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The “we” kicked in when December brought a snow storm that made driving down their unplowed road and path impossible. And oh yeah, the wind chills were 17 below.

 

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That’s when the “we” turned into my husband…. with the “me” part taking pictures from our kitchen window.

He did it, but he wasn’t happy. And he let me know how unhappy every time I mentioned getting chickens of our own from then on. That’s what comes from being married so long… they know you too well. Yours truly isn’t going outside in a 17 below wind chill for anyone… cute, feathered or otherwise. So while chicken duty continued whenever our neighbors went out of town, my dream of a backyard coop died that day.

But back to the avatar explanation – in the Multiply days, I would blog chicken pictures.

 

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And riveting chicken videos like this:

 

 

And somehow, it just became a thing.

I was the crazy chickenless chicken lady.  People sent me chicken memes, chicken poems, chicken calendars, chicken hats, chicken socks….

 

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Chicken purses….

 

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And chicken shoes.  (Admit it, you want a pair.)

If it was chicken related, I got it.

Chicken duty evolved and expanded over the years….. the few birds became a flock, and the flock became a swarm and then it got out of hand.

But that’s for another blog.

 

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