I hate winter. So much so that a long time ago I decided that for me, personally, January is the start of spring. The worst of the winter is over by then (I tell myself), and March is almost here….and March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, right? So surely, that means that January is the official start of spring. And I must be onto something here, because my mailbox is already crammed with nursery fliers, and only last week I swear I saw the salesgirl at Wal-mart putting swimsuits out.
These early signs of the summer are very exciting to me, as I sit woefully staring out at the frozen tundra that is my pasture, but the one thing sure to get my blood pumping is when the hatcheries start sending me their spring promo booklets. That’s right, folks, I am a chicken-lover. Not as in, Cordon Bleu, or even roasted with garlic butter. Nope. (although both of those options are yummy).
What I am talking about are the live birds. I am a hatchery addict, and will sit and gaze in stupefied wonder at the full-color glossy print ads that show all the bejeweled little birdies in their most glorious plumage. I will spend hours picking out which birds I plan to buy this spring, agonizing over whether or not to get a dozen Buff Orpingtons, or six Buffs and throw some Plymouth Barred Rocks in, too. I am particularly fond of heritage breeds, the birds that are directly descended from those that our ancestors raised, but I am also enraptured by the mere thought of all the wondrous, modern cross-breeds and their flamboyant feathers.
This hobby came upon me unexpectedly just a few short years ago, but after moving to Kansas and getting my first couple of hens, I became an addict. And I don’t limit myself to chickens. I fawn over ducks, turkeys, guineas and peacocks, too. If it has feathers, I am enraptured, although not to the extent that I am willing to invest thousands of dollars and hit the show route, lugging my birds from state to state in chase of an elusive purple ribbon (and yes, there are people who do that). Nope. I am perfectly content to raise, feed and love my little flock of misfits right here on my little piece of muddy heaven.
So, my question for you today is this… with summer so close at hand (I am a believer!) what are you most eagerly looking forward to? Long days at the pool, sipping iced tea and oogling hot lifeguards (not a bad idea at all, come to think of it). Or maybe you can’t wait to dig your fingers into the dirt and watch the fruit of your effort grow, literally? Or perhaps, like me, you just want to drop the tailgate down and sit in the shade and watch the chickens peck the ground (I do not get out much and am very easily entertained).
Either way, whatever it is you look forward to most this summer, have faith, folks! The worm has turned and spring is in the air…sort of.