It’s the muddy season here in our west coast valley and we’ve had a typical winter so far, with an early taste of ice and snow, and an ultra-rare white Christmas that dissolved by Boxing Day. Many rainy cloudy days have come our way, punctuated by occasional blustery sunny afternoons as one storm blows out and the next pushes in. Today we are enjoying another Pineapple Express, straight from Hawaii, carrying lots of moisture and balmy morning temperatures of around 8 degrees Celsius.
This soft grey Sunday morning, the tapping of my keyboard is echoed by the raindrops falling on the skylight, skittering down the roof, collecting in the gutter and gurgling through the downspout into the full rain barrel. Spilling through the overflow valve, the rainwater sinks into the lawn, and trickles down to be gathered up by our little amazon of a creek, who roars with the excitement of it all as she industriously delivers her storm water bounty to the Colquitz river and then down to the Salish Sea.
On the rare occasions where the sun does come out, the barnyard crew is electrified, as if they all have solar panels embedded in their backs. George’s blanket comes off and he rolls exuberantly in the surprisingly still dryish winter paddock.
The chickens run around like, well, chickens with their heads cut off, gorging on the creepy crawlers who have likewise ventured out to soak up the rare sunshine. The feeder is heavy with uneaten crumbles at day’s end, spurned in favour of tender grubs and new shoots of green green grass.
When I can escape my obligations, I rush outside too, shake the earwigs out of my folding chair and set up in a sunny patch to watch the fun, cup of tea at my elbow. The flock is looking great, well rested and in their fresh new feather coats, moulting season finished, and egg production just starting to ramp up. They are rejuvenated and ready to go, poised to meet spring’s unstoppable urges, to lay prodigious numbers of eggs, and hatch prodigious numbers of chicks, ready to keep pace with the year’s coming leap forward into fecundity and abundance.
Spring! We can hardly wait!