After a month of a nearly-empty egg basket, the fall moult is complete and the girls are laying again. That speckled egg is the first we’ve seen from our new Welsummer hens. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Keeping livestock adds rhythm to our days. The feeding and watering, the egg collection, the midday check to make sure everyone’s a-okay. Our lives take on the shape of seasonal activities, filling out during busy times like high summer or the season of Advent, and giving way to a bit more elbow room during the dark winter. But animal chores are steady, keeping time for us throughout the months, the years. Counting the chickens with my youngest son as they emerge from the coop each morning. Scratching kitty chins at lunch break. Dropping a fistful of hay in front of each rabbit at dusk.
Life, by nature, is unpredictable. This year has been a time of change for our family and our circle. Accidents and mistakes have happened. Friends have come and gone. A few have come back again. Jobs and activities have changed our lives significantly. Lately, it seems our whole language has changed, incorporating heavy words like Intensive Care. Inflammation. Reconciliation. But in spite of these changes, the quiet rhythms of homestead life seem to remind us of the words we can count on. Words like together. Home. Christmas.
Because at the end of this day (and every day, really), I know I’ll be standing at the door of the coop, clicking the latch into place. I know we’ll count chickens in the morning. I know the lean times will pass and the egg basket will fill again, maybe even with colors or patterns or something else we’ll have the joy of witnessing for the very first time.
So let this be our language. The whispered language of hope. Of expectation. The promise of good things to come. The language of Advent.
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