"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hazel and The Mousehole

This morning there was ice on top of the 5-gallon pails of water in the hoophouse-my backup to running hose across the yard to the frost-free hydrant. But lugging 5-gallon buckets across the snow drifts isn't much of a backup. I need a hydrant in my greenhouse or a better back. Greens don't need as much water in winter, but a little helps them in their struggle with these temperatures. Even though we have double layer frost covers on the spinach, mizuna, arugula, and komatsuna (an Asian mustard green with a sweet/tangy flavor), when it's zero outside, it'll get below freezing in the hoop house. We swept a foot of snow off the top of the roof yesterday. The weight of snow cannot be underestimated.

There was ice on the water in the chicken coop too. We have a base heater that the water container sits on, so it doesn't freeze completely and the hens are able to drink out of the trough. They sip and tilt their heads and peck at the snow on my boots. The rooster lords over them all, such a guy.

My sister had a calamity this morning with her chickens. She has a feeder attached to the wall and when she was dumping grain into it, somehow it broke loose and fell, and a wire impaled a feeding hen through the beak. Sissy got ahold of her and with a wire cutters tried to pry the wire out, but the chicken jerked away and tore the top of her beak off. My sister called us in a panic feeling woozy. It would be like losing a thumb. How will it eat?

One of our hens has recently taken to hiding in the corner behind a nesting box.
 
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Sometimes just her head is burrowed in safety. We've come to understand that she is at the bottom of the pecking order and she hides to escape the abuse inflicted on her by the rest of the flock. They won't let her eat so my husband piles a little grain in behind the nest box where she likes to hide. Yesterday she was sitting on the top of the roost where the others don't seem to bother her. She's enduring, and she still has her feathers. She deserves a name. I think I'll call her Hazel. The runt, the tortured and abused. Hazel.

Sometimes I feel like Hazel, hiding in a corner to avoid critical attention, afraid to venture out of my comfortable niche, afraid to put myself and my writing out there. I dash off a few queries and then retreat back in my hole to write. But who wants to live in a hole? Like the mousehole in Notes From Underground, no writer can long stay in the hole under the floor. Oh, the writing is best done in the mousehole, but then we have to venture out, like the groundhog who did NOT see his shadow this past week. He's out and about, waiting for the brighter day he knows is near, and Hazel is perched above the rest, roosting out of reach, and the writer in me pushes the page across the space between us and says, "Will you read this?"

9 comments:

rosaria said...

Oh yes! I understand the hesitation, the fear. I just started a new blog just to put forth my writerly pursuits, hoping for some feedback, gentle nudging, mutual visitations among moles.

Anthony Duce said...

I enjoyed this. The world is so cruel, but eventually even the runts need to step up and be heard.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Rosaria,
A new blog for writerly pursuits? Good for you! Yes, a little visitation between moles:)

Tony,
Thank you. Runts have a place, no?

Wine and Words said...

Chickens are so soft. I long to sit with one in my lap, but they balk balk balk.

Everytime I write on my own blog I must remind myself it is for my amusement, for my healing, for my edification. It helps me continue, especially when I read some of the fabulous posts of others who write so much better. I am tempted to quit. What could I say that hasn't been said, and could I possibly say it any better? Then I remind myself it is my voice and I...ME...need to hear it.

foldingfields said...

Those last two lines were totally worth the read (and I mean that in the best way). Agent or no, you hit upon something in me--little me--so please keep shoving things over to read.

Anne R. Allen said...

Timely post for me.

I think writers are all moles at heart. We want to sit on the outside and observe life from a comfortable distance.

Maybe we're all afraid of becoming Hazel? That mousehole may not be comfortable, but it's what we know.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Annie,
You made me laugh. Yes, they balk balk balk. True, we do this first for ourselves. Thanks.

Sarah,
Thank you so much!

Anne,
Thank you. I'm glad you liked it. Yes....I feel like a mole sometimes.

Liza said...

I love reading your words Yvonne. Please don't hide out for too long.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Liza,
Thank you so very much.