Holiday on the Homestead

Life is cyclical. Sometimes there are storms. Sometimes calm. Lately, thankfully, I can say there has been sunshine. Our family has experienced a number of unexpected blessings of late. Some kind soul, a secret Santa, had a local garage put tires on our van. The garage even picked the vehicle up and delivered it back to our house. We have no idea who extended such generosity but are sincerely thankful that they did.

On the same day close friends of ours delivered a new chicken coop they had built for us. They travel with their young children during the winter. This year they are heading west to California to leave the cold New York winter behind. The catch is they have four hens and needed a sitter. We had recently purchased four hens ourselves. So they suggested that in exchange for watching their hens they would build us a coop with a run. How could I possibly say no?

There are some things that I do well but I am comfortable admitting that there are some things that I do not do so well. Woodwork would be one item on that list. Luckily our friends are professionals and do custom work for a living. So after the bones of the coop were put together our family met up with theirs in their wood shop and the kids all painted murals on the coop. My wife and I helped a bit with the run and then spent the remainder of our time marveling at their work and sharing good conversation and laughs.

I share this tale not as a braggart but to profess that I am so very grateful for the help of good friends and though I do not proclaim it often enough I am so very lucky to be surrounded by so many caring and good people.

It has been interesting watching the birds establish order. I have found in a very short time that I enjoy watching the hens forage and scratch as much as I do sitting back and watching my fish tank. A sense of calm comes over me that is difficult to put into words.

I will end by saying "Happy Holidays" to you and your family and I hope that you are experiencing similar acts of kindness. Better yet I hope that we are all bestowing acts of kindness onto others throughout the entire year and not confining it to one short week a year or even to just family and friends.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


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