Mighty projects are under way at Hestia Field, the house across the road where some of our house partners live. A new septic system has been installed almost singlehandedly by our plumber-in-residence. This is in conjunction with an additional bathroom and a connecting link between the house and the studio. The scope of the excavation was huge, entailing electricals, a new gas line and a new water line all the way out to the street. We shook our heads despairingly as gardens and landscaping were ploughed under, massive holes appeared, until all that seemed to remain were giant piles of rubble and subsoil. How could we begin to restore it or recreate even a semblance of our once lovely gardens?
A spring work day was planned, and in a short few hours the impossible became possible. A family arrived to work on the vegetable garden, complete with tools, rototiller and three boys under nine. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. Debris and rubble was removed, submerged brick paths torn up and the whole area composted and rototilled by the eight-year-old and his dad. Now we will have a garden and five-year-old Aaron will be able to pick his beloved cucumbers!
There is much still to be done . . .but if a miracle can happen once, why not again?
In the midst of all the activity that day, Bora arrived to collect her second chicken for the soup pot.
This is a story that began last summer when Bora asked Anamaria if she could have a chicken to make a special African dish. She wanted one that was recently living and free from any toxins of a supermarket bird. So they caught one of the aging laying hens and Bora carried it proudly away.
Since that time three of the chickens have developed an amazing aptitude to escape from the coop and enjoy themselves digging up what remnants of garden remain, including the spring bulbs. No matter how hard we tried to shore up the fence, they found a way out. In desperation I asked Bora:
"Don't you want some more chickens?"
"Oh, yes!" she replied. "And my friend would like one too."
So a couple of days later she came to the door - tiny, slender and impeccably dressed.
"I've come for a chicken."
Hmm. I remembered the two hours I had spent, together with someone else, trying to catch the runaway chickens.(If anyone has ever tried to catch a chicken on the loose, you'll know how I felt). So, doubtfully, I took Bora to look for the chickens. We located one, and I got some grain as bait and tried to corner it. Meanwhile Bora walked up to the chicken, and - quick as a flash - grabbed it by the tail. Then she held the feet together and asked me to tie them with string so Mrs. Hen wouldn't flap around in her car, popped it in the back seat and off she drove.
So, believe me, I was glad to see Bora back again on that garden day to get a second chicken, (Meanwhile Mr. Fox had obligingly taken care of number three.)
Now we are awaiting the next work project day with joyful anticipation.