40 Days of Blogging: The Mighty Chicken

Day 3 of The 40 Days Blogging Challenge.

We’ve really lost something in separating ourselves from the land.  I know men who can maintain a mean lawn, but can’t be bothered to plant a garden.  What does it say about us that we put resources into landscaping using ornamental grasses, plants, and trees… then go and spend more resources on food that we could have grown ourselves?  But there is really more to it than that.  There is some deep magic to be found in working the land.  Yes, we get some of the benefits when we grow things simply for their beauty, but there is so much more to be gained when we replace our Bradford Pear trees with ones that actually grow fruit, our lawns with rows of vegetables, and our ornamental flowers with herbs and the like!  

We saw evidence of this change this past summer and fall in our parish.  At our yearly church camp, we built a raised garden and populated with basic vegetables.  You should have seen our kids when those plants started yielding beans and radishes!  They had NEVER liked eating vegetables, but they loved eating this miraculous bounty.

It looks to me as though the same process occurs when it comes to keeping chickens. They offer so many things to the family household.  Kids – even those who have to help feed and muck them – love keeping them.  They love growing the chicks.  They love collecting and eating the eggs, and they love watching the crazy things they do (especially when an escaping chicken creates a fun game of chase).

We’ve visited lots of monasteries over the last week here in the Holy Land.  This is a tough land – much of it is high desert.  But the monastics have turned the little areas they have been blessed to steward into heaven on earth.  It’s not just about the spiritual peace, its about the beauty.  Yes, that includes the architecture and the iconography – but it also includes the homesteading.  If they don’t have land, they have pots and buckets planted with a combination of herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, and ornamentals that help keep their couryards cool, add great fragrance to the air, and supplement their tables.  A few of them even had chickens.  

That’s the deep magic, and they’ve got it in its fullness.  I think we’d do well to imitate them!