Two Rhode Island Red hens recently set up residence in our backyard. Their names are Henrietta and Esmerelda.

During the day, the chickens wander the back yard, scrounging in the dirt for bugs, pecking at plants, flapping their wings. Every night we chase them around the yard, gather them in our arms as their wings flap and feathers fly, and put them to sleep in the coop (I’m sure this is not the most efficient way to do things, Ginger, but it sure is fun). In about a month, they should start laying eggs.

I often find myself standing at the back door watching them, smiling at their comical waddle, the jerk of their heads at every sound, their repeated attempts to climb the hammock frame which always end in toppling to the ground. I go out one more time to check their food and water. It feels good to give food and shelter to another living creature.

And it feels good, though it be a mere two eggs per day, to provide food for our household. To be self-sufficient and not depend on Kroger to feed us. To know exactly where each egg came from, and to have a personal role in bringing it to the table.

You might be thinking, “Somebody’s been reading Wendell Berry!” You’re right. He’s been making me think.