You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘could a chook be the saviour?’ tag.

“Oh, that’s great!” said a friend over lunch.  “They’re just like having an open fire in the backyard!”  With that I had the answer to one of life’s great questions – why on earth do human beings like to raise chickens in their gardens?  For decades I’d been thinking about embarking on my own poultry adventure, and now that I have an appropriate yard I’d been thinking about it more and more.  In fact, I’d become completely obsessed with the idea.  But I hadn’t known why.  My friend had helped me understand: chooks are comforting.

I googled, I read blogs, I looked at a thousand pictures, I sketched out a design.  In the local hardware store I got in touch with my inner handyman and bought what I needed.  By the end of the day I’d built what I rather grandly referred to as The Super Structure: four solid posts, eight bracing beams.  But the going got tough and my inner handyman went MIA, so I enlisted the help of my brother, who’s good with a hammer and a bit of four-be-two.  The next day, I stood in my backyard with a coffee and admired the handiwork.  After forty-two years my very own chook-house was taking physical shape.  I felt…validated.

A call came on my mobile phone.  Stunned, I listened as a friend told me how on the Sunday just gone two good friends, two great people, had headed off on a motorbike ride, they’d had an accident, one had died at the scene, the other was in a coma.

Twelve hours later, after He Who Too Was Stunned and I had huddled on the couch wrapped in a blanket and eaten leftover Easter chocolate, we received the second call – we were now mourning the loss of two good friends, two great people.

I returned to the coop and, alone, got to painting.  In silence I painted for hours, as though I would be painting forever.  I put the colour to the wood, dark red and pale green, to match the house.  I looked down at the bare earth at my feet.  Soon there’ll be clucking and scratching and dust-bathing.  Soon I’ll scatter feed and my hens will come running.  Soon there’ll be eggs.

My friend is right: there’ll be an open fire in my backyard.

I will – we will – need it for the winter that’s coming.

(First published in Panorama, The Canberra Times, 21 May 2011.)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 177 other followers