Today I went to the feed store to pick up our chicks. I was cursing myself for having turned down a perfect-sized box the last time I was there, certain I would have no trouble finding another. But I forgot that Husband would be away for business, and that my kids were scheduled to come down with chicken pox (due to us having attended a Pox Playdate two weeks prior). I had little opportunity to run any errands, as bundling unwell kids into the car was something I wished to avoid. Consequently I found myself heading to pick up 25 chicks with nothing to house them in.
However, it wasn’t a big deal. We had a few bits of scrap lumber and plywood around and I made myself proud by grabbing a drill, some screws, and a circular saw and fashioning a pretty decent abode for the little peepers. The floor is plywood, approximately 5′ by 3′. Two thin pieces of composite board made the long side walls. I attached them to the floor via some 2 x 2’s I had attached along the bottom, then joined them across the width at each end with some a 2 x 4 that I cut in half lengthwise. Out of plywood I found some pieces of flooring leftover from when previous owners had done one of the rooms. These were the kind that lock into each other, and I was able to cut and stack them to cover the ends. When it was finished I had a very functional, if not elegant, brooder box. The chicks seem really happy in it, too.
As I walked around the property this afternoon, on a gorgeous summer-like day, I was feeling a bit frustrated with the overall look of the place. It’s not what you would call “attractive”. The fencing in the back yard for the dog looks shabby, our mobile home is ugly, and I have zero time to do any aesthetic gardening. The little lawn out front needs mowing (which irks me: I don’t want to have to mow grass – it’s a waste of time and fossil fuels) and the edges of our field are indistinct, given the area an untidy, overgrown feeling. The pig’s enclosure has stacks of logs and other debris in it (not enough to bother the pigs, but it makes the place look untidy). And of course there are other debris piles around the property. In other words, as Husband put it, it’s looking a bit “hillbilly” around here now that everything is growing like crazy.
And then I saw the piglets. They came running out from the bushes to see if I had brought any food. I looked at them and was struck by the thought that our place may not look attractive, but it was pretty darned productive right now. Four pigs’ worth of pork, twenty-five meat birds, and a vegetable garden that is steadily growing. The truth is, you don’t need a picture-perfect homestead to provide your family with the best quality food you can grow. There will be plenty of time for landscaping, earthmoving, and building a new home in the years to come. For now, I thought, at least we have our priorities straight.