feathered

 

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We’ve had visitors recently, of the brightly feathered variety. About a week ago, we were joined by a rose-breasted grosbeak. He helped himself to a leisurely lunch at our feeder, and has returned daily. He prefers a private table it seems, and shoos away any other birds that arrive while he’s indulging. He brought a friend today, and I stood at the window watching the two of them pick through the seed, bright red hearts glowing. I’d never seen one before, my only knowledge of them coming from A Girl of the Limberlost, though I couldn’t have asked for a more accurate description and knew at once who he was, even without referring to my friend Sibley.

Now that gorgeous cobalt fellow above, he was a different story. I had no idea what he might be without asking my dad, and then looking him up to confirm. He is one of a trio that has taken up residence in our backyard, swooping around with a flock of goldfinches like so many tropical fish. They’re indigo buntings, and they’re just beautiful. I’ve never seen a wild bird so vibrant.

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Our chickens, on the other hand. They’re entering the awkward tween phase, I think. They’re not very attractive right now, all spikey feathers and long necks. They’re gangly. We think that a pecking order is already being established, and my girl Dottie seems to be on top. She’s the biggest of the bunch, with Buttercup close behind her. They turned three weeks old yesterday, and from everything we’ve read, will be ready to move outside somewhere around four or five weeks old. We’re ready to have them out of the bathtub. Our Schnauzer Stubby has taken personal offense to having them in the house; he goes a little bonkers when they make a ruckus, and upon introduction, attempted to decapitate sweet Cinderella. So! We will all be happy when they’re out and in their own space.

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And what a space it’s shaping up to be! J is crafting a definite chicken palace, complete with barn board siding and salvaged windows. You should have seen us trying to get it into place (because of course he didn’t start building it in its final location), backing the truck down into the yard with me crouched in the bed, holding it in place by the rafters. We’re planning to do a little video tour once it’s complete.

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I’m excited to move them into their home, to get them settled, and eventually enjoy their contribution to our little homestead. In the meantime, I’ll gratefully accept gifts of eggs from our neighbor’s girls, left for us on the porch in a coffee can.

One year ago today, we crossed the state line and took a selfie. “Welcome to Maine. The way life should be.”  It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close, setbacks and all! 

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