It was probably first-time Chicken Daddy ignorance, but in my rather shaky defense, there are no “Your First Chick” books the way there are “Your First Baby” books. So I had no idea you have to almost always cut things up for chickens to eat.
Sure, there are videos of chickens devouring whole vegetables bit by bit, peck by peck. Those are not my chickens. Mine have to have their vegetables cut up into pieces. Bite-sized pieces. I do this particularly for Emily who is the smallest and most perfect Little Lady ever. She needs dainty-sized pieces.
Although it may be tedious and tiresome, I do this each day because I love my chickens. This is also why I let them use my jeans and shoes to wipe off their beaks after they have finished eating. My chickens need me, even if it’s just to be their napkin.
I remember last Thanksgiving when they had their first pumpkin. I scooped out the seeds, held out a handful, and they all just looked at the seeds and looked at me as if to say, “Too big. So what are you going to do about it? We are hungry!”
And I’m sure they were. They had been eyeing their pumpkins for a few weeks with great curiosity and had watched all of the cutting apart with keen unblinking interest. They knew they were looking at seeds, just a lot larger than what they could handle.
And so I learned to roast pumpkin seeds which makes them smaller, intensifies their flavor, and gives them a pleasing crunch.
After learning this important lesson, I believed I was “home free.” All I needed to do was halve or quarter the pumpkin, and they would peck the flesh out and feast for days! But I was wrong. Again. It sat. For days. No one touched it. Not even an inquisitive peck.
And so I learned to blanch (and also freeze) pumpkin flesh which makes it softer while preserving the color and nutrition.
From these and other experiences, I’ve learned I am a lot more like my chickens than I want to admit. For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be a very self-sufficient person. It’s not easy to ask for help, particularly when it’s something most people are expected to know how to do for themselves.
Over the years, I’ve learned to be thankful for help received along the way, but I never really considered being thankful for the need itself, the need for anyone’s help the way my chickens need my help.
Being thankful for need and lack seems strange at first. Yet I think perhaps there is a place to be thankful for all of the things I am unable to do on my own. They point my focus towards the Greatest and Only Helper for my chickens and for me.
My Life With Gracie gave me a truly thankful heart for everything I am unable to do on my own.
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