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It’s Who I Am

Below is an actual scan of diary pages of mine from when I was 12 years old. I was living with my father at the time and we weren’t on the best of terms so our therapist (whom I despised) recommended that we keep a journal with each other. When I wanted to discuss something with him I would write it down and leave it on his pillow. He would write back to me and leave the journal on my pillow. All these years later I would still prefer to write down my feelings regarding a difficult issue than to discuss so it face to face. I’m getting better at it, but it’s taken a long time.

When I read this now I am horrified at how bad my english and grammar was at 12!

But, the point is is that at 12 years old I had, on my own, called the zoning board in Stamford (where I grew up) and gotten zoning permission to own a goat where we lived. On my own I called feed stores and researched the cost of feed and hay. I had researched breeders. All of this was presented to my father in this journal that we kept.

There was no response to this entry in our journal to show you, so I’m guessing he just told me no directly to my face — no goat for me.

I’m on the left with my stepbrother in front of me, my sister in the middle and our friend Hilary on the right

All through my childhood I loved animals. We always had a dog, but they were mutts that my grandmother would pick up and bring to us (whether we wanted them or not). We had a vicious pekinese named Fancy forever. We had a dachsund that peed on the floor all the time named Rocky. We always had a cat or two. Back in those days there were no leash laws, so pity any dog that wandered too close to my house. I would snatch him up and carry him home and beg to keep him. I never was allowed to of course, as they already had one and just happened be walking by the house. This happened time and time again.

I also had a lot of other animals. I had rabbits, guinea pigs, a pair of mice that turned into a family of mice with babies that turned into multiple families with babies. I think by the time I got rid of them all the count was up to 76. I had finches for a long time. I loved the quiet peeping noises they made and they would lay little eggs for me occasionally but would never sit on them. I had doves that made the most delightful cooing noise (which was probably why I was so smitten with Carrie, our injured pigeon last year).

About 10 years ago I proposed getting some chickens to Jim. I’d wanted chickens for years. We had an old playhouse out in the yard that the kids never used that would be perfect as a chicken coop. I would do all of the work in taking care of them.

Jim told me no. We would not be having any chickens.

I ordered 25 day-old chicks from Murray McMurray hatchery anyway. I picked Silver Laced Wyandotte’s because they were beautiful and were good egg layers.

I knew what I was doing was wrong. Jim had said no. (By the way, we’re working on that whole ‘getting approval’ situation – and the ‘me going behind his back and doing things anyway’ through therapy) I carefully cut boards to fit into the windows of the chicken coop to hide the fact that there was a heat lamp with baby chicks in there. I got away with it for a few weeks before Jim figured it out — then the feathers really flew.

I got to keep the chickens in the end, and true to my word Jim does not have to care for them. He’s even come to grown quite fond of the chickens over the years and really loves the fresh eggs. He enjoys having watching them wander around the yard looking for tasty bugs and they have an odd habit of going up and pecking on his home office door, like they want to come in.

I wish i’d kept count of how many chickens we’ve actually had over the years. We’ve lost so many to predators. We’ve lost chickens to dogs, fox, raccoons, possum, skunks and who knows what else. Sometimes we’ll lose one. Sometimes we’ll lose many. It was heartbreaking at first, and it still is, but I have learned it up to the circle of life and have gotten a bit of a farming mentality about it.

I was born an animal lover. I’m going to explore a little bit of what’s happened along the way and how that’s evolved in coming posts.

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