Lesson 868 – Sleeping in a car and roosters

As I told you on Friday, I went to a Buddhist writing retreat this weekend. I had no idea what to expect and I’m positive it was that attitude that left me so wide open for possibilities.

First, let’s get the sleeping in the car thing over with. Some people (hi mom) were appalled and fearful for my safety –  “that’s bear country you know.” I assure you that there were never any  worries. Flashlights and lanterns sufficiently held back the dark and I was quite warm, safe, and comfortable each night (well, more so on the second night when I moved the car from a steep incline – it had looked like nothing more than a gently slope when I first parked – to a flat parking surface.) Although I don’t plan on sleeping in my car on a regular basis, I would certainly do it again especially when it meant you ended up staying in a room with a view like this:


Most of the retreat was spent in something called Noble Silence. Which was a surprise to me – I had assumed that when two or more writers are gathered in a room, there will be critical analysis and discussion.


We were encouraged to not say anything. At all.

And we were also encouraged to only read for 15 minutes.

Wait. You mean you have all of these great chairs on a porch with this kind of view and I can’t read???? But, you know my philosophy, in for a penny, in for a pound. I figured if I’m here, I’m here and so I kept (as much as I could, anyway) my mouth shut and tucked away the library of books I had packed. (For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you’ll know that posting to Facebook was *technically* not talking.)


But guess what? If you can’t talk and you can’t read at a writer’s retreat, it leaves a lot of open time to … WRITE. Which is what I did. For hours at a time.

I found my bliss. But that’s not to say that I didn’t occasionally get up and explore the grounds (one can only sit so long in a wooden chair.)

At the retreat, they had a variety of fowl.

Here are some Guinea fowl who roamed the lawn in a constant search for food (and hopefully ticks.) They reminded me of my kids’ toddler soccer games where the ball becomes more of a magnet than equipment for the sport, both teams surrounding it down the field hoping to make contact. Whenever you saw one Guinea fowl, you saw them all.


They also had ducks, but this is the closest I ever got to them. They roamed in a flock and made a funny, wet woodpecker sound when eating out of their buckets.


There was this cat, whom, as lovely as he looked, was not allowed to come any closer as I hadn’t packed any kind of allergy medication (and I only had one pair of contacts with me.) Sorry cat, I know that all life is precious but so are my eyes.


And lastly, there was these guys, beautiful Buckeyes. With the retreat’s small flock of about 12 hens, they had three roosters who constantly roamed the grounds ensuring that all was well.  None of these roosters were aggressive (although one did charge at me, but when I charged back, he retreated and respected me going forward for the alpha that I was.)


Buckeyes are beautiful, stunning really. And they crow.

All the time.

At 5:30 a.m. right outside your car door. At 5:35 a.m. when you are stumbling in the dark to find the camping lantern that had fallen between the seats in your car. When the sun comes up, when the wind blows, when an apple falls,… Basically there is no reason for these bad boys not to sing, especially when there are three young males who are trying to outperform each other.

And while it is a lovely, bucolic sound, after hearing that I had a flock, and being asked if I wanted to take one or two or even three of them home, I – breaking my silence, and using my most definite words –  said “thanks but no thanks.”

Those roosters have found their own bliss up there in the land of views and it wasn’t up to me to take that away.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Backyard Chickens, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, Violet

2 responses to “Lesson 868 – Sleeping in a car and roosters

  1. You’re my hero! Besides the whole “sleeping in the car” adventure, I could never keep my mouth shut for an entire weekend 😉 Congratulations on a successful weekend with lots of writing accomplished.

  2. We have a “Buddhist hospice” not far from where I live. I was going to visit it, but something went amiss. Nothing serious, but kind of embarrassing. I have decided in my old age that i am a fanatic atheist, and will die with a very bad attitude about the entire matter. My wife and I are still living together after 48 years and we decide at least once a day not to kill each other.

    However, just so this entire comment is not a complete bummer we have a wonderful and inspiring Christmas miracle hen story. On Thanksgiving 2012, one of our two black sex link hens (the others are all Dominiques) was eaten for Thanksgiving by a local hawk. (Well, hawks are endangered creatures and they have to eat also.)

    The remaining black hen caught flue or a cold or something. My wife took it to the vet. I was amused by a vet holding a stethoscope to the hen’s chest. He said, it might be bacterial instead of flue; have her swallow one of these pills each day. My goodness, it’s bad enough getting a dog or a cat to swallow a pill. I presume you have popped some pills down your hens’ beaks; so you know what ludicrous fun that is. The hen seemed to be dying, and then she gradually recovered. When we introduced her back into the flock, they didn’t recognize her any more and tried to peck her to death. My wife remonstrated with them; you can guess how much they listened. Somehow, or other, she’s back in the flock, if now at the bottom of the pecking order, and a little lonely. So that’s your Christmas miracle hen story.

    Being a grim sort, I am going to go listen to my Ann Rule book on CD. Ann Rule is a former cop who lives in Seattle. She is one of the most successful true crime writers in the world. A few years ago there was a spectacular murder case on Whidbey Island; her book is a exciting story of true life police work by the Island County Sheriff’s Department. If my aging body holds up strongly enough, I am going to volunteer for the Sheriff’s Department “Civil Patrol.” The nearest station is located about five minutes from where I live.The patrol drives and checks people’s homes and vacation homes (we have had a lot of burglaries lately on our “peaceful” island. Perhaps I will be shot in the line of duty, but we are under strict orders not to intervene if we see anything serious happening. I suppose I could try and rescue a hen if I see her crossing the road. Remember? “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Because she saw a worm on the other side, of course. Good night.

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