Saturday, September 25th, 2010


A day of pottering and distractions today.  The pottering was out of necessity as many little jobs needed doing before borrowed power tools needed returned.  I had more bookcases to build from left over wood. I had to move the chickens, but first I had to build a door for their run to make sure they did not run away in the 20 meter move.  I had things to take down from walls and other things to put up.  These little jobs took our minds off the overdue soul.  A soul still calm and oblivious to the world, curled up inside its mother.  The distractions helped a little but not enough.  One moment stands out that calmed my own soul a little; I was outside with bits of wood thrown around and glue in hand when I heard a ripping sound from just meters above my head.  I was not scared as I had heard this wonderful sound a few times before.  This was the sound of black wings tearing a ribbon through the air. This did not sound like one of the usual crows and before I heard the second I knew what it was. They were a pair of ravens.

Raven by Paul Sullivan

Ravens are not commonly seen near urban areas but our new home seems to be definitely rural.  I never used to see ravens apart from a pair sometimes in the mountains.  Then a few years ago I spotted them in adolescent gangs (an unkindness of ravens) along the coast of Antrim.  It seems they are common enough in some areas but they are definitely a bird of the wild areas.  Their name in Irish is Fiach Dubh which, I am told, translates to Black Wildness.  A book tells me that they can be a trouble for chickens, stealing their eggs and maybe even attacking them.  Not here, not today; this pair of wildness glided on without a care in the world.  They held themselves above the world below with an uncaring confidence.  The ravens and the chickens seem to be polar opposites of each other.  One being free and the most intelligent of birds while the other is the definition of domestication and could not even know freedom or even have a chance of coping.  The ravens are majestic, but this is not what touched my soul.  It was the sound.  I cannot describe its comfort, its warmness and its rawness.  It is one of those sounds that mixes chaos and calm, like the sound of ducks landing on water.

solstice raven by fool on the hill

The nervous but proud mother looks on as I hold the new arrival.

The lovely Sharon is a little annoyed at this, as she as been visiting them every morning to check for eggs and this morning she did not.  Instead, I went out to feed them and found the egg lying on the grass in the middle of their run.  It is nice to think that they are indeed laying instead of just turning chicken food into poo as they have been doing for the last two weeks.  They are supposed to begin to lay when they are between 20 and 22 weeks old.  They are currently 20 weeks old and so are on target.  It is hoped that they will lay 6 or 7 eggs a week each before they stop for the darkness of the winter months.