I never had chickens growing up. I honestly didnt know much about them, although they appealed to me— especially little fluffy footed bantams. And the idea of having your own eggs, just right outside your door, seemed like such fun!
From reading Tasha Tudor’s books and seeing photos and documentaries on her life, I could tell that Tasha had an affinity for chickens. Whether she was giving the barnyard rooster a haircut for her latest marionette, or drawing baby chicks for Easter scenes, it was obvious that Tasha had a love for these little feathered creatures!
This past fall, as fate would have it, we inherited a chicken coop. My daughter, always eager to add one more critter to our ever expanding ‘urban homestead’ (which Im sure we qualify as, now!) was eager to start her own flock. I was nervous though— as the one who usually ends up being the sole caregiver of such homestead— and concerned about another mess to clean and mouths to feed. But she persisted. And then there we were, at the feed store looking at sweet little cheep-cheeping faces and….well….
Oh, Tasha was right! These chickens have become my darlings. I daresay I love them more than the children do— well, perhaps just a smidge. They love them a lot too. We began with older chicks, who had already lost their fuzz and had feathers. I was concerned that, since we bought them in the autumn, they might get too cold once the weather turned.
We began with three bantams— Angelica, Eliza— and Peggy! Inspired by the Hamilton musical, of course! A couple of months in though, Eliza showed signs that she was, ahem, Elijah. And her cockadoodle-doos, soon began to ring throughout the neighborhood! We also ended up with a ‘mystery chicken’ that a granny was talked into buying at the feed store, and this big white bird is named Midge, and she is now the leader of the flock.
The noise from our rooster was getting frequent though, and we knew we couldnt keep him in town. Thankfully we were able to rehome our proud rooster at Audrey’s co-op, which raises small animals and we came upon a local feed store that sells not only chicks, but mature pullets! We decided to go with the pullets, so that we knew for certain we were getting ladies, and brought home two Easter Eggers. They were soon named Martha Washington and Betsy Ross! And darling Betsy, ever industrious, gifted us with a perfect mint green egg the very next day!
So now, our yard is scattered with chickens and luckily the cats have all decided these strange birds are mama’s and not meant for eating. I now have a new appreciation for all the little chickens and other birds Tasha used within her illustrations, and will also smile at the memory of meeting the chickens from Tasha’s grand daughter’s flock when we went to tour the home a few summers ago.
Of course, at this time of year, chicks and chickens are a sign of the coming Easter season, and its the perfect time to bring out the spring themed Tasha Tudor books. Robbie and I have been reading through “1 is one” for counting, and Tasha’s book “A Time To Keep” is always a great book to cuddle up with, as it goes through all the seasons.
And so, that sounds like a good plan to me— a thumb through Tasha’s pretty spring books and a big cup of tea. Its sunny here today, and very very warm! The tulips are even blooming. Spring, I think, is here to stay. Here’s hoping that this is a nice quiet spring day, and we get another round of pretty eggs! Wishing you a wonderful early spring day as well…..
And of course, as always—