Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Hen Chronicles: The joy of puddles

On April 21, 2012, my wife Liz and I - chicken neophytes - bought three laying hens, who set up shop in a coop in the backyard of our city lot here in Maine. The makeup of our small flock has changed since then, but not our love of chickens. The Hen Chronicles explore life with our tenants.

We had a bit of spring-like weather here in central Maine last weekend, a January thaw. It was unseasonably warm Sunday night, and wet, thanks to several hours of rain that continued overnight. The thermometer outside the kitchen window read 40 degrees at 5 a.m. Monday. By then, much of the accumulated snow from earlier storms had disappeared. Not surprisingly, the bare ground was squishy underfoot, thanks to the rain and the melting snow.

The chicken pen stayed relatively dry during all this because I covered it with a tarp after it started to rain. But when our three hens burst forth from the coop at dawn on Monday, there were a couple of very small puddles in the pen. Sure enough, “the girls,” who woke up thirsty, ignored the fresh bowl of clean, filtered water I had placed in the pen moments earlier. Instead, they drank their fill from the muddy puddles. Snow, Nellie and Hope actually looked quite pleased with themselves, as if they had discovered a forbidden treat to be savored.

Maybe letting them watch Rebel Without a Cause was a big mistake.

And now, a few words from . . . J. G. Farrell

We look on past ages with condescension, as a mere preparation for us . . . but what if we're only an after-glow of them?

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

by Mike Luckovich