What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Summer Reading 3


Most of you will at least have seen or heard of the Oscar winning movie The Color Purple, or even read the book it was based on. As a hen keeper I find friends will give me hen related gifts ( for which I thank you kindly) and this book  “the Chicken Chronicles” was a lovely gift from KA, long time friend and fellow hen keeper.

This is the account of the novelist herself and her hen keeping experiences. Having kept hens as a child, she decided to start keeping them again in her later years. The best thing about this book were the names she gave to her hens (Gertrude Stein, Agnes of God, Hortensia to name but a few), her excellent observations of quirky hen behaviour, and her personalisation of their individual characters but unfortunately I just didn’t warm to the voice of Alice herself. Those of you who read a great deal will hopefully know just what I mean.

The best paragraph, which was sweet and sad, was when she recounts how one of her hens may have been feeling after its hen friend has disappeared, presumably taken by a predator:

The hardest part was watching Gertrude Stein day after day, wait for, and look for Bobbie who had been her special friend. They had napped side by side in the heat of the day, their bodies half- buried in dirt and straw. They had hunted insects together under the wood chips in the garden; they had roosted side by side each night on the roosting post. Gertrude’s face was wistful, sad, waiting. I wondered if she had witnessed Bobbie’s disappearance; if so, it must have shocked and frightened her. I wondered if she was still pondering “death”, as she had seen it, the unexpected nature of this encounter we must all experience, the incredible mystery.

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