Of Little Old Ladies and Hen Zen...

Originally posted on 4/13/2012

Hen Zen. The Author has a point, really!

The "such-ness of chickens". I'm no Buddhist. Don't know the first thing about it, though I suspect I should. It would probably suit me right down to the ground.

Take a second or two to read this - not the journal part - and then, if you can spend some time with a few hens. She's totally on the money. She, being author, Clea Danaan, and the book is The Way of the Hen - Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens, and I'm loving it!

Now I always knew there was something so real, so connecting...so engaging about hens, I just never really had the words for it. They enthrall me. I can sit with them or just lose myself watching them. There is something so wise about them, something so honest. If one of my girls trips or falls, there is no shame, but when she lays an egg, she calls out - loudly! Is it some sort of henny pride? Does she want me to come and collect it or admire it. I know this, she will stop her bellowing when I take the egg from the nest box. I show it to her, she looks at it curiously, wordlessly and watches me take it into the house. She doesn't seem to mind. And I always say 'thank you' and tell her she's done a wonderful job.

Or could it be that all hen keepers are just a tad nuts? Are we looking to see something that isn't there, simply because we love our birds so much? I hope not, because if that's the case, then I'm certifiable!

A while back I was sent this adorable, hand written book. The author, Minnie Rose Lovgreen - born in 1888 - might not have given hen lovers this guide, had she been more patient. Born in the UK and itching to set sail for America, she got fed up waiting for her ship to leave port, so she quit waiting for the Titanic and hitched a ride on a luckier boat. Phew!

Minnie made it across the pond, married a farmer, and raised kids and chickens until she died in 1975.

This is her sweet legacy. And she sums up in one sentence, what anyone who has lived with chickens knows; "The main thing is to keep them happy." Simple. True.

The is full of adorable illustrations by Elizabeth Hutchison Zwick. $13.00 NW Trillium Press

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