Yesterday, I happen to catch this article in the New York Times. I love this story on so many levels. Let me count the ways........................

Right off the bat, is the simple act of raising chickens in the backyard. Eight years ago, I was that woman starting out with "Only a dozen or so hens, Honey. That's all!" Eighty chickens later (Yes --- 80!) my loving husband spent this weekend scooping poop out of two coops.

(Look at that alliteration, Minnie Leigh! A sound to behold! But I digress!)

And raising a few chickens is so hip, so in-- that Scott Community College is offering a class in it. Not that I would know when or where it will be offered. (Tuesday April 6th at the Stone Building at VanderVeer Park) And I wouldn't know anything about an interview and an article in next Sunday's Quad City Times. But I do know .... there will be chickens there. Fluffy chickens, fancy chickens, heavy chickens.... old hens and little chicks. All sorts of girls. And maybe a roo or two!

But far more importantly, was the mention of emotional healing that comes from the lifestyle.

Miss Eff is normally described as bouncy, perky, bubbly and occasionally, effervescent! But there is a dark side.

I suffer from severe depression. I was diagnosed almost twenty years ago but I had suffered with it for decades. I seriously, can not remember a time in my life that I didn't want to die. I was lonely. I was lost. I was empty.

For a good ten years ... I dealt with it through medication. And it worked well.


I felt better............ I still felt unfulfilled. I didn't belong ..... I didn't fit ........ I didn't know who I was.

I entered the workforce in the mid-70's. Jane Pauly and Diane Sawyer were hitting the airwaves. Dress for Success was a best seller. And I remember a wardrobe of hundreds of pairs of shoes and purses and suit jackets. I lunched at Velie's. I shopped through the weekend. I decorated my home in the latest colors and I did it over again! It was, for me, a shallow materialistic life.

And I was miserable.

I started my healing when I met Honey..... we would sit on the hill, drink a beer and picture where the people in the planes above us were going. The absolute darkness of a summer night ..... the sound of the birds.... the butterflies........ all made me feel alive.

Honey accepted me for who I was and who I was becoming. He created pantries. He dug 25 plus gardens. He built 2 chicken coops. He bought me books and fed me ideas.

And slowly....... Miss Effie emerged like a daffodil in spring. I canned more than I ever had. I planted 70 plus tomatoes. I gathered eggs.... I dried herbs ... I spun yarn. I baked bread and I made cheese. My hair turned gray ... my face is brown and wrinkled. I sag in spots I didn't know could sag!!!!

I saw people drive down a gravel road to pick flowers on a tiny farm.

I re-connected with Jesus. It was difficult for me to know the Lord when I was scrambling for a commission check, dealing with unhappy customers and bosses that wanted the next payment on their Lexus. But when you farm, the Lord is with you in every seed, every plant, every chick, every step of the way. You know .... deep in your heart.... He is the farmer in your garden.

And my soul was whole and healthy and very, very happy for the first time in my life.

As the article says......... this is not a panacea for every woman. But it is a lifestyle that gave me a life worth living and I hope I can share that with others.


I also suffer from depression, and being able to go outside (I prefer early dawn) and shuffle through the plants looking for something to harvest or some bugs to eradicate, being able to pet my angora rabbits and give them their food and water, and being able to hear the birdsong and feel the warmth of the sun's rays as it comes up over the tree line...

Well, in my mind, there isn't a whole heckuva lot better than that.
I have a dream of someday having hens so you really inspire me. But, we'll be waiting until we move out of town. I'm also blessed with a husband who is encouraging of my dreams. When I asked if we could get hens, he said, yeah!

Thanks for sharing this article. It's fascinating. I'm 25, and I have seen a shift in many of my female friends. Are we still feminists? Certainly! But, that doesn't mean we have to climb the "ladder" and sacrifice other things that are dear to us.

I'm planning to be at the class, now. I hadn't heard about it.
Sherry said…
That was beautiful. I love you even more. Thank you for sharing... you couldn't believe how your daily life and story effects and inspires other people.
fullfreezer said…
Beautifully said. Thanks for sharing. I do so want chickens and while my dear hubby is supportive of many of my 'habits'- chickens aren't one of the things he is willing to put up with... yet...I'm still working on him.
Beth said…
What a beautiful post. Thank you for your candidness and honesty. You are a lovely person of God. Look forward to bringing all the boys your way!

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