It’s a small world, my life here on the farmlet with the Bearded One and our goats and chickens. I’m 56 years old this week, and I am content. I could die today. In fact, I wonder, as I get up in the dark, how it can be that I have so little ambition. I don’t long for anything or anyone. I don’t yearn for a million dollars or a bestseller. I’m married to the love of my life and am completely and totally requited.
This is my frame of mind as I walk up to the aviary in the cold, dusky day. What day of the week is it anyway? They’re all the same. I open the main door of the chicken coop. “Good morning, Ladies!” I say, as usual, to seven hens perched on the top roost. Stevie and Spot, who both have been broody for weeks now, hunker in the nests. All nine hens accounted for.
Dusty is the first off, then Leah flaps the fifteen feet down from the roost and out the coop door into the main floor of the aviary. I open the side doors and by then, Anna, Cheetah and Kimber have dismounted, too. I disappear behind the coop to hook the door open and fill the plastic jar with cracked corn. It’s not raining so the goats have come over to watch. Sage scratches his head with his hind leg, like he always does. Pearl pees.
By the time I’m back with the rake to stir the night’s chicken poop into the deep peat moss and dirt below the roost, Jane is the only hen left. She and I have a system since she hurt her foot this fall in an oatmeal stampede with the goats. Usually I have to go around to the end of the roost to pick her up and transfer her gently to the ground by hand, but this morning she eyeballs me and actually walks the roost toward me, then hunkers down to be picked up. “Whoa!” I laugh out loud and kiss her soft orange back feathers before I set her toes into the dirt. She shakes like a dog then waddles to the feeder to start her busy day.
I feed the goats a cup of dry cob and four little carrots each. I stuff new hay into their feeders and talk about the weather and how I’m enjoying their new Christmas lights and hope they are, too. Then out of the blue, I remember the spoon. What day is this? Saturday the 22nd!
Down the hill I trot. I open the soggy gate and hop through the puddle on the other side, then, fired up with anticipation, walk like our son (much-rehabbed from knee surgery) taught me, stretched up like I’m looking over a fence and showing the soles of my shoes with each step. He’s here on Christmas break, sharing his recently-learned body-healing stretching techniques.
Now he’s still sleeping, as is the Bearded One. So I tiptoe up the stairs and turn on the computer. Garfield, who has completely recovered from his spell last week, hops into my lap. I admired the spoon when I first saw it on my friend’s blog. Tasmanian wood, a light color and smooth as butter. Best of all, hand-carved by her husband.
I literally felt a spark when I read that it was to be the prize in a reader’s lottery. To enter you just had to leave a comment, which I did. For someone not desiring anything at all, it occurs to me that I really want that spoon. Their dog Earl would be picking a walnut with the winning person’s number written on it out of a bowl on Saturday, December 22 — yesterday in Tasmania.
Down through text and pictures of scones and gorgeous summer gardens and flowers I scroll. And then I see it. It’s a miracle. The winner of the spoon is: CHRISTI. My name is written in the middle of the page in bright green twinkling letters, and I gasp. I won! I laugh out loud and stifle a shriek of absolute delight. Men are sleeping.
I click on the video link my Australian friends have made of Earl the Dog actually picking the walnut with my number, number 5, and I am giddy. Steve’s accent is thrilling and I can see Fran’s hand in the bowl and her direction behind the entire enterprise. I have won. With no effort whatsoever, no striving, no cause and effect involved except showing up, I won the lottery. Merry Christmas Everyone.