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.
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!
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!
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.
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!