Tuesday, May 29, 2012

meet the girls

I am such a horrible second time parent. You know the stereotype: child #1 gets the whole baby book, bronze bootie, endless reels of videotape treatment while child #2 grows up and has trouble finding even still pictures of herself.

In my defense, it's been a little like decorating the nursery (or, hell, building the whole damn house) after the baby has already arrived. And while the baby threatens, more and more each day, to fly out of the crib in which you have temporarily placed her. Coop construction consumes every daylight hour and the entire 3-day weekend of 90+ degree days. And when we knock off for the day, I am so bone-tired and sore that it's unthinkable that I'd do more than spend some peaceful minutes observing the chicks before turning to a martini.

But I am determined to make a proper announcement tonight and introduce the girls. Over the next weeks I will bring you up close and personal to each in turn. But for tonight...

Here they are at just 5 days old, a rare moment of stillness:
Clockwise, from the top, we have Prudence, the Partridge Rock; Willa, the Golden-Laced Wyandotte; Goldie, the Golden Comet; Minna, the Dominique; and Annabelle, the Ameraucana.

How, you may ask, did we arrive at this bunch of names? You may remember that last year's flock, so sadly lost, was named for Hank's and my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. When we lost them, I knew that at least a small part of the pain came from the fondness I had for the women for whom they were named. I still haven't totally unpacked all the grief from that horrible time. I know that in part because of the sense of reservation I've felt within myself about caring too deeply for these birds. Once bitten, twice shy, I suppose. My inability to name them was exhibit A--for ambivalence. I dithered over what to call them, not wanting to invest too much of myself in naming them. It was surely hypocritical, given the way I had chided Max about not giving up on having chickens, not giving up on the possibility of the joy they could bring, just because he had been so badly hurt last year. I wasn't giving up on joy, precisely, but I was certainly tempering my expectations and girding myself for the arrival of its shadow-companion: loss.

But we needed something to call them and so I started making lists. Given my love of Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith, Nina Simone, Etta James and Sarah Vaughan, I considered those possibilities. But the 5-of-a-kind thing felt a little forced. And the birds just didn't feel like those names to me. I considered D.H. Lawrence protagonists, but Ursula and Gudrun just seemed a little heavy for these tiny balls of fluff. And so, in the end, I just went with names that sounded like chickens to me and a name for each bird that had some connection with her breed. And Max chose Goldie for the Golden Comet (who, by the way, was our Saturday sickling and who is perfectly fine now, thank goodness). The names have no significance whatsoever. Which is just fine.
9 days old: Annabelle, Willa, Minna, Goldie and Prudence (l to r)
Each of these girls has a distinct personality, of course, and I look forward to sharing more details of their exploits. I'm looking even more forward to having the coop finished so I have time to do that! And now, I have a date with a martini...
good night from the flock, slightly blurry

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