Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Jenn's Garden & Chickens

Jenn’s Garden

I’m sore, blistered, and very dirty, but I feel great. I’m finally starting my garden! I made a 13.5m x 6.5m plot right beside our house. The ground is still being prepared, but I planted my seeds in cereal boxes today. My garden will be mainly for vegetables, those that we can’t buy locally, but I’m also working on putting more green plants and flowers around our yard. I had Bill and Filipe cut up fuel drums and I’m cleaning and painting them to be flower pots.

The whole thing might fail. I mean, it’s an experiment, what more can you expect. The hardest part about this project is the 100 people watching. All our employees and neighbors out in Guija, and then my bosses in Maputo. Will it work? I can’t really explain it, but there’s something in this that means more to me than just a healthier diet. When God comes through, then maybe I’ll be able to articulate it. But I feel a combination of trepidation and expectation, of fear and faith. And I’m excited to watch a larger principle play out, as in Ezekiel 36:34-35: “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, ‘This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden….’” But then, who knows what God may want to teach me in this. It still may not work.


Midnight, who turns out to be female, has been laying eggs all around our house and yard. Maria, our cook, was trying to explain this to me yesterday, that they had found an egg in Bill’s room and then April’s room, and as I explained it in wonderment to Bill, we watched Midnight half-squat and lay another one in the courtyard! I never expected to actually see a hen (in ‘hindsight’) in the process of laying an egg, but there it was. If you couldn’t see that shell, you’d think she was constipated. She doesn’t have a nest, and frankly we don’t know how to make one. And maybe we don’t really want to, because if you’ve gone to the trouble of collecting them in one place and protecting that fragile first moment from the harsh reality of concrete, what do you do with them? If we’re not allowed to eat the mother, are we allowed to eat the children?
But at the very least we are more careful to keep our bedroom doors shut now, because an egg-laying hen is more dangerous than just any old chicken wandering through the house. That first day felt like an Easter egg hunt. I started to wonder if maybe that’s how they did it originally, just let a hen ready to fire go loose through the house, or if they were wiser, the yard.

When we told April she exclaimed, “So that explains why the rooster attacked her yesterday!” And indeed, the rooster has been hanging around a lot lately. I never thought about this aspect of chicken life. I’m not sure I want to.

And on a related note, here’s my new song (guess what it’s called?):
*The colors indicate tune, but some of it’s spoken as well, in a very droll tone of voice, of course.

Chicken, chicken, chicken and rice
With a lot of oil and a bit of spice
And if you’re lucky, maybe a carrot slice
Chicken, chicken, chicken and rice!

Monday, it’s chicken and rice
Tuesday, it’s chicken and rice
Wednesday, it’s chicken and rice
Thursday, beef and fries
And then it’s Friday, and big surprise,
We’re back to chicken and rice!

Rice, rice, rice and chicken
Greasy goodness, finger lickin’
All that skin’ll make your heart stop tickin’
Rice, rice, rice and chicken

And here’s my ode to green beans
I pay homage to those elusive things
Please, can we have some vegetais??
Huh? What more could you want than chicken and rice??

Chicken, chicken, chicken and rice
--Yes, those skinny, pooping things outside—
And if that fails to entice,
Just put it on top of boiled white rice!

But be glad that you’re in Guija--
‘Cuz in the field it’s goat and xima;
And then you’ll be thinkin’, wouldn’t it be nice
Just to go back to chicken and rice!

A p.s. on that—I think our house staff got wind of it, I don’t know if they saw it in my room or it was leaked. As Maria was talking to me the day after I wrote it, she was teasing me about these very things, and I started saying to myself, “This sounds very parallel to a certain song I wrote…” I don’t know, maybe it’s just a coincidence. The fact is, and I did my best to assure her of this, that I still really like chicken and rice, and the figurative Thursday is my least favorite day. (Though that was just a fake schedule in case you’re wondering.)


Post a Comment

<< Home