Friday, September 25, 2009

a dog, a boy, and a farm

Tonight we had an outing. I would call it an adventure, but that would be exaggeration. Jono and I went to the World Hunger Relief farm to do some tests on our solar powered chicken coop. I wore my knee-high rubber boots just to look cool, and carried my tool bag brimming full of gadgetation. I was prepared for science. Jono brought Maggie the dog on a green nylon leash.

We stopped at Fazoli's for a little spaghetti dinner and bread sticks, and shared a diet coke. We talked about the computer games he played at school today. Maggie the Cocker Spaniel sat in the car sniffing out the windows at the 60 degree blue skies and listening to NPR. She agrees that Ahmadinejad is a mad man.

After dinner we drove about 20 minutes to the farm. As we drove I called Sergio, our foreman and friend in Honduras. He informed me that the generator that caught fire last week had been repaired (yea!) and that things in the villages were actually going smoothly. In the city, however, there are curfews, even during the day, because of the political crisis. His taxi business has greatly decreased, as you can imagine, and he and his friends are very concerned about their future. I got off the phone as we arrived at the farm.

----- this line is a visual symbol of an emotional break -----

The weekend had begun at the farm. Everyone had stopped working and the sun was sinking over a quiet pasture. Down the dirt road and to the right, two mobile chicken coops sat in a field, slowly fertilizing it, one chicken bowel movement at a time. On top of one coop sat two solar panels resting after a hard day's work of harvesting the sun at a distance of 93 million miles. Their crop of energy sleeps in a car battery during the day, but at night comes out to light up rows of white LEDs, specially designed for people cooler than me to trick out their cars in order to meet women who like that kind of thing.
You see, chickens lay more eggs when they have lights in their coops because they think the day is longer. My students and I are helping them go green which gives new meaning to "green eggs and ham". (But I have already written about how sleep-deprived chickens stay up late to ovulate.)
Today's post, however, is about father and son. And dog. When we arrived, Jono took Maggie out for a romp in the field. I entered the chicken coop to push back the frontiers of knowledge with a volt meter and a pair of needle nose pliers. I stood there, hunched under the low roof, surrounded by about 25 clucking hens, and fiddled with my tricorder. As I looked up I smiled. My son and my dog were running around the fence line, "herding" stray chickens by chasing them until they flapped ungracefully back into the right field. I'm not sure which of them was having more fun. My heart was surely full.
After sunset we drove home with the windows down to enjoy the weather. We had shared a special moment, just the two of us and the dog and 25 chickens.
Somewhere on I-35 Jono said "Maggie just threw up". Well then.

I had nothing to clean it up with in my tool bag, so I had to get off the freeway to find some paper towels. It took me a couple of exits because traffic was heavy. By the time we got to a convenience store, she had it on her leash and paws and was trying to climb into the front seat, spreading doggie puke around willie nillie. Did I mention it was my mother-in-law's car?

By this time I'm thinking the evening has become blog-worthy. I start to review it in my mind so as not to miss any details. Later in the evening I began to write it all down on my laptop. The house is quiet, The M and David are at a swim meet out of town, and the air conditioner is silent for the first time in months. I am at peace.


Laurie said...

Naturally you blog about chickens and Hoduras in the same post. WHY? Hondurans love chicken!!!!!!!
And we are doing ok here in the big city of Tegu.

Redlefty said...

This was exactly the kind of post I love -- thanks! I could really hear "you" in the words.