The day before last our rooster, named Nero, started to crow.Yes his name is Nero, our flock has an interesting assortment of names. Nero is the rooster, the hens are: Raspberry, Octavia, Livia, Peppa and the other one. Can’t remember her name, but she looks a lot like Peppa, and I think The Lass wanted to call her, ummm…. it’s on the tip of my tongue… Nup it’s gone. Let’s just call her the other one that looks like Peppa (and probably is Peppa half the time).
But Nero is crowing. He’s crossed the threshold. He is a cock (tee hee hee). I don’t know if this marks some kind of magical transition in his growth. Has he completed a rite of passage? Is he ready to be accepted into roosterhood (was soooo tempted to say cockhood then….)?
In some ways yes, he’s passed a point of no return. He can crow, 4 days ago he could not. But, really, what has changed? He’s not grown particularly. He’s still got the same character. He was still very much the rooster before he started doing this. Months of growth from egg to rooster has gone into it, why does crowing seem so significant? Is it actually?
There’s been other things happening suddenly at home too, it’s not all cock-a-doodle-doo. Over the past 2 days we’ve ploughed furrows and I’ve put down some irrigation pipe to put in a drip system to water both 3 long vegetable beds and our fruit trees. I remember when we put our trees in, it was a few days of frenetic activity after months and months – in fact over a year – of waiting to get the project going. Then suddenly it all happened very very fast. 18 trees planted out. We’ve lost 3 of them so far – 2 citrus which we knew weren’t going to work, but tried anyway, and one cherry tree which we think we just got unlucky with.
The same thing is happening with the vegetable beds. Suddenly they exist. In addition the wicking beds that have sat empty for almost a year are suddenly full, ready to take seeds and start to grow food. I’ve also hoed out what we’re going to use as a pumpkin patch. We have seeds which we are germinating, we are hopeful we might be able to plant things without killing them this time (although we lost a batch of newly sprouted tomato plants to frost one night because we left them out, whoops….)
It’s taken 3 years. It hasn’t been 3 years of waiting around, twiddling thumbs and faffing. It’s been 3 years of clearing out some trees, raising 2 children and learning how to do things we haven’t done before. It’s been 3 years of raising chickens, building a run and a house, digging out a sandpit, putting in swings and a trampoline and organising ourselves. 3 years trying to live simply and sustainably.
But it feels like things are coming to a head, I might be wrong about that, but it’s a feeling I’ve got.
It takes time to set up something like this. It takes time to do things, to make the mistakes you need to make so you can learn the lessons you need to learn. It takes time to repair the damage kids can do to a garden. It takes time to wait for the big things to happen.
And then they happen at once. The rooster crows. The first teeth emerge. The peach tree blossoms. The baby walks. The first eggs. The first words. The first leaves of parsley from your own bush. The first cuddles.
All of these things take time to happen, but then they all seem to happen at once.
I’ve done so many things in the past 3 years I had never done before. I’ve felled (small) trees, split wood, built a (not very strong) fence. I’ve put timber posts in the ground, I’ve used a rotary hoe, I’ve ridden a ride-on mower. I’ve put together watering pipe, I’ve brewed beer, I’ve made (and killed) a sourdough starter. I’ve built a chicken house out of forklift pallets, I’ve dug out a sandpit, I’ve set up a trampoline, a swing set and slides. I’ve helped my son up a tree. I’ve taught my daughter how to hold a chicken.
Everything takes longer than it used too. Sure it’s partly the kids, but we’re enjoying the processes of life more. Cooking, gardening, brewing beer, feeding Maramduke the sour dough starter (Gregory met an untimely end…)
Maybe it’s just because spring is in the air, but it’s worth thinking about what we’ve done, about what work has gone into getting that rooster to crow. Understanding that, while we have these moments where things seem to change, it takes time and work to get there.