Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicken Chat

How can I possibly thank you all for the wonderful comments yesterday!? I read them. Re-read them. Thought about them, and read them some more. You are all wonderful!

If you are still here today, reading this, after yesterdays hormonal roller coaster post, I thank you even more!

This morning when I went to the coop to let the girls out, Helen pulled me to the side.

As I was filling up the waterer, she said "Jayme, you've not been yourself lately, what's going on?"

Scarlett chimed in saying "You'd feel better if you'd do something with your hair".

Fifi offered me a cigarette.
That darn Fifi.
She'd better give up that nasty habit in the New Year.

"Ahh Helen, nothing, you wouldn't understand, it's human stuff", I said, trying to brush it off.

If there's anything I've learned about Helen, she's pretty tenacious when it comes to doling out advice, and I quickly realized she wasn't going to give up so easily.

"Human life isn't so different from life out here in the coop Jayme, it's all about survival and finding your place".

I looked down at that little bird and scooped her up. "Want some tea?"

She smiled.
You didn't think chickens could smile did you?

She opted for the green tea. I had a cup of Nutcracker Sweet.

"All right, spill it" she said, wasting no time getting to the heart of the matter.

"Well Helen, it's like this",
I started, going on and on, telling her how I was sick of consumerism, and 'stuff' and I just wanted to backpack out in the country, and live off the land and wash my clothes in a creek and stop all the noise in my head. I told her how I was sick of plastic and chemicals and waste and I wanted to live a simple, authentic life.

She sat silent for a few moments.

"See, I told you that you wouldn't understand Helen"

"Jayme, your all or nothing attitude is sabotaging you"


"You are too intense. You need to seriously relax. How long has it been since you've had any sugar?"

"Well, I ended up having a couple of Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve", I sheepishly admitted.

"How did that make you feel?" she queried.

"Horribly guilty" I said.

"Why?" she asked.

"Well, cause I said I was never eating sugar again. I failed. Again. Why do I always do what I don't want to do?"

"Jayme, do you realize you could have thought 'wow, this cookie is delicious' and been proud of the fact that you've drastically cut back on your sugar consumption and left it at that?"

"Well, I..."

"Do you realize that you could feel good about all the little choices that you make on a daily basis that promotes a simple, authentic life? Do you realize how much you do already? You are just setting yourself up to fail with your rigidity. If you aren't enjoying the journey, then, what's the point, my dear?"

I sat and just looked at that little chicken for a moment.

"Want a muffin?" I smiled.

"Are they sugar-free?" she cackled.

We spent the better part of the morning, talking and laughing and drinking tea.

I took her back out to the coop. I apologized for the cold and told her spring was right around the corner.

As I was shutting the coop door, she stuck her wing in to stop me,
"I just want to remind you again...."

"Relax already".

God I love that chicken.


  1. Jayme, this is your best post yet!!!! I am going to try to find some way to print it out (pictures and all) and read it every morning. I'll put it by my coffee maker to read while the coffee is making.

    You are so right. I can be so extreme-uptight or fancy-free. I will need to think on this for awhile girl. You are awesome.

    And Fifi with her cigarettes. I have never smoked, but there are some days I just want to go behind the coop all alone and smoke one. It must be the rebel in me coming out.

  2. Jayme, that was a great post. I guess we all just need to find what works for us and find a happy and healthy balance. Not always easy though, is it?
    I adore your chickens, wish I could sit down with them. :-)

  3. OOOooo, I love that Helen.
    She needs to write a book. And I know just the girl.
    I can see it all now....you and Miss Helen out on the book signing circuit. Taking pictures of Coops across America. Sitting at the set of the Helen Hunt show, with Gonzo as a surprise guest. Paparazzi at every turn. Thousands of screaming fans at the movie opening, starring Helen and Miss Piggy.

    Think about it. It could work!!

  4. Ah Helen, she is wise beyond her years! In fact all of the flock had words of wisdom, even Fifi. It's just that my "cigarette" might be a piece of Dove chocolate when I've had a bad day. We are women and whatever we set our mind to we can accomplish!

  5. Ah the wisdom of chickens! Sounds like you might be on a good path, now. Loved the post.....absolutely wonderful. You might consider a book...."Wisdom From the Coop"...or something like that. Have you ever checked out www.blurb.com??? Good platform for writing a book and publishing (just an idea!) You have a real creative talent!

  6. Super post! Wisdom from a chicken - go figure! Have a great day!

  7. Jayme.. I'm in tears as I see a door that has opened. Helen is just a dear and she's right you know. As I mentioned in another blog this lovely quote..

    Do your best..
    leave the rest..
    Angels do no more.

    Now FiFi.. that frenchie.. (excuse the ah.. french there.. heehee)she's a doll no matter what the issue is.. could a be a hurricane coming her way and she'll still offer you a cig.

    Love you lots.. and today.. we shall do our best!!.. and of course just leave the rest.. it is what it is.


  8. AHH, Helen is one wise chick! You should definitely listen to her advice! Wonderful post!

  9. She's a smart one, that one, yes she is; she's full of sage advice.

    It's all about baby steps.

    One day I cut out margarine and cheese slices, the next I decided no more granola bars in our lunches, we'll make muffins more and maybe some oatmeal cookies...we'll know what's in them and where they came from. Tomorrow, who knows, but at least it will be a baby-step in the right direction.

    I've really enjoyed your posts this past while, so yep, I'm still here. : )


  10. Awww...she is such a wise little gal! :) Such good advice...advice I needed to hear as well. Thanks for posting this! I think I am going to have to print it and read it daily too...that is exactly the kind of thinking I have and it often makes me miserable. I have a very hard time relaxing. I have a hard time enjoying. I have a hard time feeling like I do enough or that it is good enough. I am a big guilt feeler too. I am a huge optimist, yet I have a hard time focusing on the positive for myself - if that makes sense!

    What is Nutcracker Sweet tea? Sounds good! Love ya Jaymes!!! You are my favorite blog to read. :)

  11. Jayme -

    What a GREAT post! Although Helen is wise and wonderful with words. I gotta tell you I am a sucker for rebels and adore Fifi! I think I will take Scarlette's advice and do something with this nest I've been sporting on my head!

    - Deborah

  12. Great post Jaym and I'm even getting into the whole chicken thing, what are you doing to me? I'm still in love with the black ones though. She's right ya know, I had the same thoughts yesterday about my own life, I'm too rigid about some things in my life. Life is too short, why not enjoy it without all the rigidity (is that a word). I think I'm done beating myself up over how I should or I think I should measure up to what others think I should be. If I like me and Hubby likes me, thats good enough for me. Love you to pieces, can Helen go for coffee with me sometime? xoxo

  13. So when is Helen opening up her counseling practice? I need to make an appointment. Will she be able to write prescriptions? I like the little white pills with the green and black stripes. :)

  14. oh Jayme I wish I had a Helen in my life I need her so badly right about now! You truly have to listen to her you know. I am way to much like you it is all or nothing and I am my own worst enemy and want to be what everyone else thinks I should be,people I don't even know say we should look this way or we should weigh that and good heavens we should never eat this or have that since we aren't worthy. Well Helen and Fifi know oh so much better. I love the independence of Fifi she marches to her own drumer. Hang in there girl I think you are about to have a break through. nancy settel

  15. Have you ever read Mary Jane's: Ideabook,Cookbook & Lifebook for the Farmgirl in all of us?
    You'll love it. You also need to check out MaryJane's Outpost.

    I think the web site is maryjanesfarm.org. I'm not into the all-organic lifestyle, but I love her take on everything else! :)

  16. Jayme, thank the Lord for Helen! She truly makes sense and definitely has it going on. Print out her words of wisdom and read more than once daily...
    She's free range and has no hormonal problems so therefore, she thinks clearly. :)

  17. Jayme, thank the Lord for Helen! She truly makes sense and definitely has it going on. Print out her words of wisdom and read more than once daily...
    She's free range and has no hormonal problems so therefore, she thinks clearly. :)

  18. I love this post and all the comments that have come before me! See~I am not the only one who thinks you should write a book!

    It has taken so long for me to find comfort within myself. But, it is definitely a life-long process. At 66 years old and retired, I still have the need to "calm myself down" and take it slowly.

    Sometimes I think I have gotten to simple. But, then I love my life and what I do for myself and others.

    Most days the first thing I do is to open the window shades and look out the window at the birds feeding or the beautiful blue sky with fluffy clouds or the changing of the leaves or bare branches of winter or whatever is out there in nature that is so full of life. That is my sugar for the day! It gets me started. It is little. It does not cost a penny. It makes me smile.

    And, you should love the beautiful chicken. She is very wise!

  19. Oh, Jayme. That was the best. I'm going to blame it on hormones, but your post brought tears to my eyes. Please thank Helen for showing us how we continue to sabotage our own happiness. I used to work with a very smart and slim woman who would have one small piece of chocolate every day at 3:00. I asked her why she only limited it to one. She said by only having one, she knew she would enjoy it more. Maybe that's our problem, we have so much, we don't enjoy what we do have. You've got some smart girls living in your coop. I'm going to take their advice and start relaxing and enjoying life more.

  20. I love that chicken too!!! She knew just what I needed to hear as well.

  21. Big hugs to you and Helen.
    After reading your wise words, I am going to put "just a smudgeon" of maple syrup in my only cup of coffee in the morning. The coffee has tasted so bad for 2 weeks now ( since i was inspired by you and gave it up cold turkey )It ruins the beginning of every day since. I'll just call it my "fowl pleasure."
    Also, "Coops Across America" gets my vote for a 18 month calender.

  22. Looky-looky! You ARE keepin it real already! Thanks for stopping by today, cause I love hearing from you. And please tell Helen for me that we might have to do a 'keeping it real' interview with her in the future....

  23. Oh, I love that sweet pretty chicken too! Those chickens are seriously so beautiful. And good advice. I tell friends who are going on diets (and we all know I could lose some weight) that they're setting themselves up for possible and probable failure. Diets are just that. (Been there, done that.) A little sugar won't hurt you. It's the LOTS that will! What's life without some sugar, honey?

  24. What a great post Jayme! You have no idea how much I smiled and laughed while reading it. You are so talented. I just love your chicken photos and stories. Do I feel a humorous chicken owners manual in your future????

  25. Dear Jayme,

    I ate 7 M&M's today. 5 plain and 2 peanut. And I didn't feel too bad about myself...just happy I didn't eat 7 HANDFULS!

    We can do this...hopefully by Spring! {since it's right around the CORNER and all!} (I'm not buying that story...I KNOW how long winter lasts up here!)

    But a cuppa hot tea sounds devine right now!

  26. Awesome post! Your photo's are a perfect compliment to your hilarious and oh so true conversation with little miss Helen. Fun!

  27. That Helen is such a smart bird. Listen to what she has to say. Repeat her advice daily. Hugs, Jen

  28. Some people will never understand why chickens are so cool. :-)
    She's a keeper! All that cackling those hens are doing?? They're just a bunch of peeps like us encouraging, and sharing and laughing and saying "You GO!", and "Shut UP, girl"..They know what it's all about. Lucky you...you are the Chicken Whisperer, and you get the secrets! :-) lol...Loved your post.
    Enjoy the journey, Seize the day,
    Live in the grace given for just today, and "Remember the little things, for one day you may look back and realize THEY were the big things."

  29. Helen is a lucky lady to have some time inside. You are a lucky lady that Helen has some great wisdom to share over a cup of tea.
    It was ten degrees in our coop last night. Well below zero with the wind chill outdoors. I wanted to bring all the ladies inside last night.
    I can tell that you already do a lot to live a simple and lovely life. Take the other ideas you have slowly. Dont rush it...it will all come together as the days go on...

  30. That Helen is a wise old egg;)
    The "all or nothing" can be so draining. You do have to find a balance and enjoy the simple pleasures. It's okay to break the rules sometimes.

    Don't worry the sugar train is at my house..I have proof. The licorice tracks run right behind my house and I can hear Choo Choo Charlie tooting his candy whistle as he whizzes by on his tootsie roll train cars. The cotton candy poofs floating out of the engine look like sweet puffy clouds. And to top it all off the caboose is trailing behind with a garland of chocolate kisses and gumdrops.

  31. Jayme -

    I totally want my own hens!!

    for my friends

  32. Mama Hen sent me over and this is fabulous! Helen might be the prettiest chicken I've ever seen! Thank you for posting this. So many of us struggle with this exact thing.

  33. Oh Helen! Brains and beauty! Just like you, Jayme!
    I told Mama Hen (she sent me and I always do everythnig my aunt Mama Hen says)also - there are no small victories, just victories! Celebrate them all!

  34. Aww, Jayme,
    I loved your conversation with your chickens! I read that part to my Computer Geek husband who doesn't understand my desire to keep chickens. He didn't say anything, but I am sure that he got a different understanding of these things, the unspoken between the lines things.
    (It doesn't matter- one day I WILL get my own little flock) But in the meantime I really want to thank you for sharing your outlook, your endeavors to thrive in a simplified fashion. It's incredibly inspiring to those of us who are just beginning the journey and are 'tenderfoots'-who don't really know the way, or the rewards, or the extent of the challenges.
    Also, you're funny and insightful - and your blog is delightful. I enjoy it with my morning coffee...
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  35. OMG! Someone else who talks with their feathered friends! My ducks and I discuss all sorts of things-my husband scratches his head. Just found your blog and I know you wrote this years ago but I decided to start reading from the beginning and then catch up to you in current times.


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