On Disquiet Time and Chickens

Hello friends. I am popping in to say that I will be blogging minimally between now and September 1st. I will be devoting much time to writing a chapter for the upcoming genre-busting Disquiet Time, which will be like no devotional book you’ve ever read (and will include chapters from some of my favorite blogging colleagues as well as some “big name” folk). I am also blogging weekly for my church’s new blog, which features writing from our clergy and for now, me, although we hope to add more parishioner voices eventually. And I will be getting the kiddos ready to go back to school on August 28. I will, however, be posting something before September 1st to contribute to the Patheos series Passing on the Faith, contemplating what I find most valuable (and not) in helping my children nurture their own faith and questioning.

We have spent the past four days driving to the outer rural reaches of Hartford County for the annual county 4H fair, where my oldest daughter spends from morning ’til night in her element. In the company of her two best and oldest pals, she cleans barns; cares for her chickens (our town doesn’t allow private citizens to own chickens, but she leases some from our town’s farm park); dines on root beer floats, baked potatoes, and other food-truck goodies; watches friends compete for showmanship ribbons with sheep and goats; and competes for her own glory in chicken showmanship, fine arts, food, and other areas. Chicken showmanship involves standing with a bunch of other kids in a line, each kid with a chicken, responding to judges’ calls for the “preen gland,” “sternum,” or “vent” by finding the right body part on their bird, then holding the bird up, showing the body part clearly, all while maintaining eye contact with the judge and a confident smile. Then the kids are taken aside one by one to answer questions about poultry. Leah has competed in this and in the Southern New England Poultry Fair for three years now, and has never placed at the 4H Fair. Nerves get the best of her. So when this year, after working hard on her presentation, she got a sixth place ribbon, we (and she) were as excited and proud as if she had one the Grand Champion ribbon. She also got a blue ribbon for her lovely pencil drawing of my parents’ Golden Retriever puppy, and a Reserve Champion (2nd place) ribbon for the beautiful tiny green quail eggs she entered in the egg contest.

I never thought one of my children would lead me to annual attendance at an agricultural fair, or to rejoice at a sixth place finish for poultry knowledge. When we have kids, we open ourselves to all kinds of unexpected journeys and directions. Watching my daughter find her rhythm and hone her talents through 4H has been a heart- and mind-expanding adventure.

I’ll be back with more regular posts in September.

 

 

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • Dave Parker

    Kudos to your daughter for her agricultural accomplishments, and congrats on your expanding writing outlets!

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Great pic of your daughter with the ribbon. Her hard work has paid off!

  • pastordt

    Very, very cool. Good for her, and good for you, too, mama. Well done.

  • J. Michael Matkin

    Congratulations to your daughter. You are so very right about the ways that our children manage to open us up to a larger and often very different world than the one we planned for them or for ourselves.


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