You know those routine chores that nag at you until they are done? That’s the way I feel about the chicken coop. It needs to be cleaned at least every other week. Since I go in there almost everyday to collect the eggs and give them food and water I am always aware of its state. The task continually looms large as their poo piles up on their roosts. When the stars align every few weeks and I have available daylight time and no other “squeaky wheels” to attend to I clean the chicken coop. With the gloves on, the wheelbarrow and bucket ready and shovel in hand I fill with gratitude. I am serving my chickens. Who serve me. Whenever I open the door to the coop, my girls call out to me. We have this amazing relationship that my grandmother had with her chickens and I didn’t understand it while she was still alive. There is something holy about being in a true interdependent relationship with animals that gives me glimpses of the way things could be. They give my family eggs and we are very grateful. We give them food and keep them loved and clean. Very basic and very divine.
And so I scoop out all their poo from the coop and fill up my bucket a few times, which fills up my wheelbarrow. Then I cover the coop again with a fresh layer of cedar mulch and haul the poo and old mulch in the wheelbarrow out to the vegetable garden plot. And once again the chickens have taken care of my family by me taking care of them; the garden has great soil which allows us to grow nutrient- rich vegetables and fruit while the mulch covering reduces the weeds.
These rhythms are a big part of how we also operate our business at Illuman Apiary. We view our work with our bees as inter-dependent partners. We have unspeakable gratitude for our complex, brilliant, hard-working bees. They give us so much! They provide better fruit and vegetable harvests and beautiful flowers. We ensure that our property does not have harmful chemicals and that they have the food they need. We work carefully in their hives to set traps to keep wasps and mites out. We prevent bacteria and keep the hives warm in the winter. They in turn, give us that golden goodness of honey and wax that we use in all of our products. Thanks for supporting our business that allows us to serve our bees in meaningful and sustainable ways.