All great farms start with meager beginnings. I actually just made that up, but true or not, today we started a garden! I checked with my landlords first to make sure they were okay with their yard being dug up. Well, I actually left them a voicemail. My purpose in the voicemail was to ask if we could raise some chickens. My sister, Carrie feels the asking is unnecessary and that when you are on a farm it should be assumed that some sort of livestock would accompany the renters. My Dad thinks the shed next to our garage (the shed that belongs to the landlords) is the perfect hen house and that I should run that by them just to be sure, but agrees I shouldn’t have to ask permission to raise chickens in the country. I, the realist of the group, just imagine a conversation ending quickly after a laugh and “Chickens?! Umm no, you can’t have chickens.” So, I’ve been putting this conversation off for quite awhile, reading books and blogs about chickens at night, dreaming of being a real farmer with real livestock. Today, my official to-do list read: Call about chickens. So I did. And I breathed a sigh of relief when the voice-mail picked up so I could rattle, “Hi! This is Christi-sorry, I should have called your cell phone. Just wanted to tell you that I painted so if you want to feel free to come by and check it out and if you don’t like it I’ll, um, un-paint it. And also wanted to see if we could plant a garden? Didn’t want to tear up your yard if it wasn’t okay with you. And um, oh just I was thinking about, just wondering if renters in the past, um would you consider, ummm, how would you feelaboutchickensbye!
Well, I was just on pins and needles all afternoon waiting for a response. I really knew the garden would be okay, I just asked as a kind of courtesy so they could see how courteous I was and be obliged to honor my chicken request. So the kids and I ventured out to learn all things gardening. A was such a little worker….
And E pretended to be a cat…..
And A worked…..
And E found worms! Lots and lots of worms!
Just as we were putting the corn in the ground, my landlords pulled into my driveway. Like a child caught licking the last cookie crumbs from her face, my kids and I bounded for the front yard, covered in all things gardening, the excitement of a visitor outweighing the sheepishness of my impulsive gardening. We chatted, visited. I showed them the newly painted rooms. They loved them (Phew! How does one un-paint a wood-paneled room??).
Then, “And of course you can plant a garden. And I didn’t quite catch the last part of your message?”
I gave myself a mental admonishing, Enunciate! Christi! Avoid awkward social encounters by articulating! Do as you teach for crying out loud! Realizing my inner scolding was playing out on my facial expressions, I rejoined the real conversation.
“Oh, ummm. Chickens. We would really like to have a couple of chickens."
"I’d keep them outside of course.”
The landlord looked like she wanted to laugh. “Chickens?” Oh, here we go. “Really??”
I think she really wanted me to say I was joking. I put on my most responsible and serious face although I'm pretty sure I had dirt smudges on it. So... they’ll talk it over. And I wait on pins and needles. But maybe I take the garden strategy….