A neighbor gave us a big cucumber a few weeks ago – and when I finally opened it – SURPRISE!
Sprouting! And GREEN, where the sun never shone. NOT what I expected. Alex took it to the orchid house to let the sprouts keep growing in the natural “nursery” of the fruit without the chickens eating it.
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Those key words “nursery” and “chicken” lead right into subject #2 this week:
THE MATERNITY WARD
Austin got all excited and dragged me to the back side of the number three chicken house to see the wonderful thing that our carpenter Rakesh had made: TA DA – “the maternity ward”
Those are CAGES. Gee whiz. What about Happy Chicken – as in No Cages?
“No, you don’t understand,” he said. “These are just for broody hens to be able to set on their eggs in a controlled way.”
So I walked close to immortalize one of the broody hens.
“Oh no, not her. She doesn’t know what she is doing. Oh no, she broke an egg already. David, get her out and clean out the eggs. (We just started this, we are just learning.)”
“See, there is a good broody hen. The cage is only closed for a few days for them to get used to it. Then the door will be always left open and they can go whenever they want to – but since they are broody, they will never want to leave their eggs for long.”
Our trainee from Vanuatu looks at the cages.
I ask: What is the point of the cages again?
Austin answers, “I’m just demonstrating how you can move the broody hens and their eggs and they will continue to set. You can put them into a place that is safer from predators, and other hens won’t be adding eggs to the nest – which is a really big problem. Most islanders will never have electric incubators. They need to be able to work with the hens.”
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VALLEY OF SORROWS
Two weeks ago a vehicle speeding down our beautifully tar-sealed road and spooked a horse who threw its rider who fell in front of the car and was killed – in view of our hill.
About ten days ago one of the drivers that delivered the gravel to our beautifully restored road lost control of a truck with a large load of big rocks down a steep hill on the other side of the high school. The truck rolled, the driver was crushed.
Two neighborhood boys did not come back from the river on Saturday afternoon. Relatives going to investigate found their clothes were neatly folded on the riverbank with their cellphone, and the horse tied to a tree. The twelve year old was a good swimmer, the nine year old could swim a little. Their bodies were found the next day. The first funeral was yesterday; the other is tomorrow.
The very joy of living in a community where everyone knows and cares about everyone else is that when a wave of tragedy washes up, you really feel it.
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May next week be gentle to us all.
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