Things are actually starting to feel a little less isolated lately, as I have (safely and cautiously) been able to start visiting with some folks again. Because I already worked from home, it’s true that the quarantine really hasn’t changed all that much in my life, but it’s certainly nice to have some face-to-face interaction with people again.
From the Homestead
My new chickens are nearly big enough to go outside full-time. Which is pretty exciting, since they have been living in the garage and no matter how frequently I change their bedding it still smells like a farm in there. But the girls are now fully feathered, and I’m just waiting for them to get a little bit bigger before trying to introduce them to the older hens. The babies outnumber the current hens, and my hope is that that will help to keep things civil when everyone is integrated. There is a reason that we use the term “pecking order,” and chickens are not the kindest of animals when it comes to asserting that order.
It’s been really amazing and fun to watch the new chicks grow from tiny little fuzzballs to fully feathered, if somewhat awkward looking, adolescents. Their white and gold coloring is going to make for some really beautiful birds once they are fully matured, and once they start laying this summer I will have an abundance of large brown eggs. It’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to care for creatures like this, in what is actually a very mutually beneficial relationship: I feed and care for them, they feed and care for me. Even though I know they really just get excited to see me because of the food, it’s still nice to have living creatures that get that happy about you.
From My Bookshelf
While I always have numerous books on various topics that I am reading at any given time, it’s been a serious struggle lately to find something to read at bedtime. I’m very particular about my bedtime reading. Winding down for sleep is typically when I read fiction; it needs to be engaging enough that my brain doesn’t wander off into any of a dozen things I might be worried about, but not too engaging so that I can’t stop and actually fall asleep. Sometimes I like stories that are relatable to my life at the moment, but sometimes I need full escapist fantasy.
I recently tried to read Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose, a massive family drama with two alternating timelines between late 1800s and the 1970s. That one proved too much emotional melodrama for current times and I had to put it down. Then I tried Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, because it’s short and I like Russian literature. But that one was too wordy and philosophical, so it has been relegated to daytime reading when I can actually focus on it. Then I thought I would go for something super easy and a little fluffy, the YA series Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (who also wrote The Hunger Games). I’m loving Gregor but the books are not conducive to sleep, as I’ve easily stayed up until at least 1 or 2am every night I’ve been reading them. I’ve only got two books left in the series, but they may have to wait for weekend reading in my hammock. So what’s a book work with sleep problems to do?
My next attempt is Stephan Grundy’s Rhinegold. It’s a novel based on the same Norse tales that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (cursed gold rings, dwarves, dragons, etc.). I know all the key points of the story, so I can relax about where it’s all leading, but the storytelling itself should be exciting and engaging enough to keep my interest. And since I finished The Iliad a few weeks ago, I’ll be moving onto Beowulf next and so the Norse theme feels appropriate. Here’s hoping.
So, how’s your isolation going these days?