Chickenfest 2014

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Chickenfest is a high holiday in these parts, and it fell on the summer solstice this year. It might seem crass, but really it’s just like any version of the harvest fest. It’s a big job made lighter by the good friends who gather to pitch in. It’s the relief of knowing that we crossed a finish line of sorts – no more predator losses or illnesses or empty waterers on sunny days to fret about, a big investment in our annual diet safely stowed in the freezer.

For all the festing and despite the best of intentions, that one utterly unremarkable shot above is the only photo I have to share. I’m pretty disappointed in myself for that. Imagine matching striped OshKosh overalls and fluffy chickens and the endless amusement of a plucker. There were also farmer tans in the making and the boundless joy of a day when having your hands in cold water for hours on end didn’t compel you to curse the person whose job required being elbow-deep in the guts because the guts were warm, dammit. Not that I’ve ever done that. There was plenty of laughing at how absurdly bad I am at catching chickens. (I am many things, but no one will ever accuse me of being a champion chicken chaser.) And at the end, there was a delicious pork sandwich.

It was chickenfest, and it felt good to be celebrating once again. We skipped raising chickens last spring – it just didn’t make sense when the freezer was still stocked with the early fall birds from the year before and life was busy with so many other things. But it was good to bring them back this year. A couple months of half-crazed bird energy does this homestead well. Maybe this homesteader, too.

Until next spring… here they were, about three weeks ago:

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