Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Spring at Eastern Shore

Rich came down from NYC this past weekend so that we could head out to Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary and lend pattrice a hand for a day. Rich has wanted to visit the sanctuary for a while, and I like to get out there once a month or so. Well, once a month is my stated goal, but I’ve only made it out there four times in the past ten months!

There are many reasons why it is important to me to make that trip. Partially simply to show some kind of support and solidarity, to make the effort for someone who is a bit off of the beaten path, for someone who contributes so much to the movement, and to the life and health of over a hundred chickens. And a few ducks, cats, and dogs as well. Support is important, and sometimes I think it is a part of activism that we don’t pay enough attention to. As it happens, pattrice is the author of Aftershock, and creating sanctuary for each other is something she talks about. It is something I think about often.

There is also the fact that I learn a lot every time I am there. I learn about gardening, about composting, I learn that the chickens and the wild birds communicate effortlessly, and that even I can pick up a phrase here and there. Last weekend it was the hum that can be loosely translated to “be alert, something might be up.”

Added to that is simple enjoyment. I got to see the babies I’d taxied down last month, as well as the rooster. The rooster was the same, a bit full of himself, but not so much that he was challenging the others. He is obviously thrilled to be wandering around the sanctuary. The babies grew a ton, but were still definitely babies. They grow so fast! I’m glad I got to see them one more time in their baby guise. They’ll be full grown in no time.

baby chicks at eastern shore

Don’t they look like the rooster is showing them something important?

After Rich and I cleaned out one of the coops and spread a fresh layer of hay, we raked two areas of the yard clear of the sweetgum fruits. They are hard to walk on, for birds, humans, and I imagine dogs and cats as well, and they also inhibit growth of plants. So we raked up the fruits and added them to the compost pile. pattrice worked on some gardening tasks, which included planting a couple clumps of grass. This proved fascinating for the birds, who gathered around to nibble on the treat!

chickens eating grass at ES

On one of my trips back from the compost pile, Sparrow posed for me. Beautiful and photogenic, which I think she was well aware of!

sparrow at ES

Of course it wasn’t all work, as enjoyable as it was to spend time working outside in perfect spring weather! Rich and I brought some lunch and other goodies from Stickyfingers, and so we all enjoyed a delicious lunch, great conversation, and had plenty of time to give love and attention to the various cats and dogs that have come to find a home with pattrice as well. The most recent addition is Loca, who is full of amazing energy and joy.

loca at ES

Someday I’ll have to post about Madeline, who is part deer, part cat, part pig, part Jurassic mammal, and all that hidden in a dog costume. She needs her own post, as you can imagine!


10 responses to “Spring at Eastern Shore

  1. Becci March 26, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Thank you for posting such great pictures!!

  2. rich March 26, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Having met Patrice twice before I never really spent any time with her. She is a wonderful person doing wonderful things and I was so happy to go down there to help. I hope that when the weather is warmer and it is more riding season I can join you on another of your once a month trips to Eastern Shore.
    I am looking forward to reading about Madeline and catnapping Loca. I think she and Beanie will get along splendid 😀
    Oh and those pictures are amazing. I spent the time there and I know how hard it is to convey certain things in images and you did it.

  3. rich March 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Oh I forgot to mention this but the first picture reminds me of Foghorn Leghorn lecturing the chicken hawk.

  4. girl least likely to March 26, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    that kitty just kills me! i think isa blogged about her once and i fell in love with her picture then, too. man alive.

    and i love the chickens! i wish i lived closer to some kewl sanctuaries. 🙂

  5. Deb March 26, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    @ Becci – my pleasure!

    @ Rich – I’m so glad you were able to (not get sick) make the trip this time! That would be great if you could join me out there for others trips as well. More hands are always better!

    You’ll have to explain the Foghorn Leghorn reference. I’m clueless!

    @ gllt – Isa did blog about Loca! pattrice said that everyone kept offering to adopt Loca after that post. lol. Rich went right past that and declared his intention to catnap Loca. 😀

    The chickens really are special. I’ve realized as time has gone on and I’ve spent more time with chickens at the various sanctuaries how much better I understand them and can read them now. It is a challenge for most of us – we’re used to the expressions and body language of dogs and cats, not birds!

    The good news is that there are many new sanctuaries opening. I’m sure they’d still be a bit of a trip for you, not that I can actually remember exactly where you are! Somewhere cold and wintery. Chicago? If it isn’t too far from Denver, there’s a great sanctuary (peaceful prairie) about 50 miles east of Denver. There is one, Deep Roots in Indiana, that is really just getting started – they are rescuing some smaller animals (bunnies, cats, dogs, hamsters, etc) for now while they work on raising the money to buy enough land to be able to rescue the bigger animals.

    Regardless, I’m definitely lucky to have PS and ES both close by. 🙂

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  7. pattricejones March 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Yah, everybody wants Loca to come and live with them but, lucky me, she lives here and is very attached to her extended cat and dog family, which include surrogate brother Lucky, surrogate father Ty-Juan, surrogate cousin Cat and canine cuddle partner Arlo. She is an amazing animal and I’m quite sure that’s not only because of her inherent qualities but also because the other animals did such a wonderful job of caring for her when she arrived as a kitten who had miraculously survived the drowning of her litter in the river.

    Deb and Rich, it was great to see you and I really appreciated the help (and the food!) too. Hope to see you both again soon.

    Deb and Rich

  8. Gary April 5, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks to you and Rich for helping out with the sanctuary. You’re right – it’s off the beaten path. I’m sure pattrice – a treasure to the animals and all social justice activists – appreciates your efforts and solidarity.

  9. Deb April 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Well, if nothing else, pattrice appreciates the stickyfingers treats I tend to arrive with! 😀

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