In the early morning the quietest place in our farm to the city is the sports hall. It is cool with its west facing windows. In the afternoon it will warm up a bit, but there is always breeze.
The first to find a voice is, of course, the cockerel. Cock a hoop with his hens wherever he finds himself, and here it is no different, in his wooden pen with ample walk around space, a perch for the night, where the whole troupe can nestle together, and a slanted net covering to deter the fowl from investigating the basketball hoops.
He will find his voice repeatedly throughout the day. His ten hens are busy foraging among the sawdust, clucking, sitting, showing off their colours.
In the centre of the room, is a larger wired enclosure. There the goose thinks she is queen, tall, strong necked, bright white, with a rasping call. The four white ducks at times seem to follow her around, and the children usually need to be told they are not little geese. The turkey is not to be forgotten, and lets out her plaintive thin shriek. She isn’t sure where she fits in with this lot, but is going along with it. She has recently lost her pal to a marauding fox on the farm, but at least she is safe and well fed here.
There are learning experiments with eggs and feathers in the hall, that fascinate every single group of visitors.
Then there are the chicks, just a few days old, either spread out across their raised pen,raised to make viewing easier, but also to keep them a bit out of children’s grasp; or huddled together under the heat lamp. Endearing, yellow, fluffy, with short squeaks as they peck, and move their necks in that distinctive way.
Three days of school and other organised visits are over tonight, with pushing over 700 visitors.
Today is the community day, and we expect a crowd, and hope our well laid plans work to a tee.
A word for today from the chickens.
First, one of regret from Jesus, that as people, as a community, we have wandered into (spiritual) danger around the farmyard of our lives; and with the hint of a plea that we return:
‘How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!’ Luke 13.34
Secondly, one of encouragement for those who put their trust in God
‘He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.’ Psalm 91.4.
O Lord, for your presence …. in Your farmyard….. in Your world.