When we bought our 16 acres, I reveled in the gorgeous scenery. Green rolling hills, that were MINE ALL MINE, backed by a thick forest of cedars and firs, fronted with lushly wooded mountains. All that green and not a sprinkler in site. It’s Washington! Mother Nature waters our yard. Totally self sufficient and not taxing the planet. Were we cool or what?
I thought my lazy mornings would always look like this. I thought I would greet each day with a cuppa joe and a sunrise. And that the property would remain untouched and virgin …
Nice, eh? Well, Brad wanted a barn. A BARN? Are you kidding me? I don’t want a damn barn on this pristine landscape. Why?
“For the tractor.”
“And the animals.”
Wait. Animals? We have 2 labs. One has a touch of OCD, the other is totally ADD. Do we really need to add to the mix?
“Yeah, we’ll start with chickens.”
Ewww. Chickens smell. Everyone tells me chickens smell. Do I want to sit and drink a fragrant Earl Grey or a robust French Roast and smell chicken shit? Is that how I envisioned paradise? Not especially.
Then Brad brought me to the farm store. The Farm Store. If this was his idea of foreplay, he was sorely driving down the wrong side of the road. Macy’s? Better. The Farm Store? Not only is it not the right exit, it’s not even on the same freeway.
I entered the Farm Store with a major New York attitude. I’m like Superman, but I don’t need a phone booth. I can don that attitude in 10 seconds flat. Kinda like Sybil. It’s just that fast.
But I have a sweet spot under all that Bronx. And after 28 years, Brad knows how to find it. Because this is what he showed me at the Farm Store …
BABY CHICKS! I WANT BABY CHICKS! Magic little black puffs of wonderful!
We went home, with a box, shavings, some food and 8 baby chicks.
Being a writer for so many years, I thought it fortuitous that I picked the little black chicks I did. I heard “Bard Rock” and I thought, OMG how cute is that? Bard? Like The Bard himself? How Shakespearian of me. As they grew, it hit me that Bard was really Barred, as in, their barred stripes. I’m now realizing just what an idiot I sounded like to the Farm Store Lady.
We went back a week later, and found the little fuzzy yellow ones, and I HAD TO HAVE THEM. So cute and puffy and just aching to join our little family. So we added 6 of those to our box.
Then, a month later, the cutest little Rhode Island Reds appeared. I needed those! Anyway, I figured the group could use a little diversity. We had black, the yellows turn white, and these would be brownish-red. The circle of life would then be complete. So we picked up 6 more chicks …
And then it kind of hit me. We have 20 chickens. I didn’t want chickens in the first place. What happened? What kind of Vulcan mind meld did Brad pull on me? What am I going to do with 20? I can’t bring them back, I’m too attached. But 20? How many eggs to they produce? 1 a week?
No, more like 1 every day or two.
And … I don’t really eat eggs.
I envisioned myself like one of those “friends” who try to sell you on Amway. “Oh My Lord, Lester, there’s that Neighbor Susan again with her damn basket of eggs. Close the curtains and don’t answer the door!”
Brad then suggested that I can start “baking angel food cake.”
I had a flashback. 14 years ago, on a house in an acre of bush on an island in Fiji, I wanted banana trees. Lots of banana trees. Brad planted PLENTY of banana trees. The bananas in Fiji are exceptionally sweet. But me, being the City Girl, thought that the bunch of bananas you buy at the market are the same amount that grow on trees. Au contraire. A banana tree, growing bananas, starts out looking like this …
And produces this …
And I had 10 banana trees, all producing at essentially the same time.
To which, Brad said “well, just make some banana bread.” There are literally 100 or so of bananas per stalk. My house was 2200 square feet. If I removed all the furniture, I could possibly fit all the loaves of banana bread I would bake from the seemingly endless supply from those 10 trees.
Quiche takes 3 eggs, angel food cake takes 6. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a bigger house.