I love Laura Ingalls Wilder. I grew up reading the Little House books over and over (and over and over and over). As an adult, I have enjoyed her other writings, especially her columns for The Ruralist newspaper, and I have moved into Rose Wilder Lane's works as well.
She had always had responsibilities with her family's animals. Especially in Little Town on the Prairie she talks about feeding the animals, moving the calves, etc. In her later years, after she moved to Missouri, Laura became well-known in her community for her chickens. Laura wrote and spoke about her flocks, how to care for them, what to do to get the best egg production, etc. I always imagined I'd be like Laura, gathering eggs in my apron while the sun shined down on my flock.
It has not happened exactly that way.
Yesterday I wandered out into a blizzard (not quite The Long Winter, but close!) to feed the chickens. First, I berated myself for having been too a)lazy b)unorganized c)distracted to have set up the heated waterers. We have waterers that plug in and will keep the water from freezing. Marvelous devices, which Laura did not have. Only problem, you have to plug them in. I am afraid of electricity. All those cords and connectors in the henhouse, plus a big tub of water, make me anxious. Nevin has told me that there is not enough current to kill me if I stuck it in my ear, but I am not going to test his theory.
Anyway, being "a", "b" and "c" yesterday morning, I went out to feed the chickens in my bright purple pajamas (I didn't want to have to get dressed twice) with the dancing penguins pattern. They were a gift from my sons. Anyway, I put on the snow boots, my coat, couldn't find my gloves (see "b" above) and headed out. The hoses are no longer hooked up, so I had to carry the waterers to the hose bib, hold the valve open with one hand and the 5 gallon water with the other. Amazingly enough, I didn't get the base back on the way I should, so as I walked to the henhouse and turned the waterer over, the base came off and 5 gallons of water ran down both the legs of my purple penguin pajamas.
So, back to the hose, mumbling unkind things about chickens and poultry in general.
But it was done, grumbling aside. Today both houses have heated water and food. I believe the hens are happy (or at least happier than they were). And I feel like a pioneer, forged from rugged stock, taming the land and the animals.