* Okay, so, fine, this hen isn’t a French hen. It’s a breed called a Barred Rock Chochin Bantam and its ancestors were supposedly brought back to England by soldiers returning from China in the 1860s. My friend, Farmer Sue of The Art Barn at Morning Glory Farm, has a bunch of them and she calls them the pajama chickens because, let’s face it, it looks like they are wearing pajamas, right down to their feet. (Here’s how to make your farm fantasy come true.)
* Speaking of pajamas, it is, of course, major pajama gifting season right now (my parents gave us a new pair of pajamas every Christmas Eve–I think this was just to encourage us to go to bed, or maybe it was so we looked halfway decent in the traditonal annual break-of-dawn “first moment seeing the gifts under the tree” photo). Onesies are all the hit in my house, and frankly, it’s nice to know we’re on top of a trend. “Adult onesies” recently got a big shout-out in The New York Times Magazine. If you’re in the market for some new jammies, why not take some inspiration from pajama chickens? Here’s a stylish pajama-chicken-looking onesie from J. Crew (although they are not marketing these as pajama chicken onesies–missed opportunity!). Did you ever think you’d see a sentence like that? (Look at this really nice blog, written by Melissa, a “twenty something aspiring attorney,” where I found the photo.)
* Once you’re all jammied-up, of course, you’re going to want a place to “roost.” Make your bedroom a real nest for rest. Experts recommend turning off the technology, dimming the lights, maintaining the ideal sleeping temperature (the Better Sleep Council recommends 65 degrees Fahrenheit), and doing something relaxing before going to sleep. A little light yoga. Some meditating. Or, my favorite, opening a book and pretending to read (the mere act of opening a book at night seems to knock me right out). You’ll be well-rested and, yes, up-with-the-chickens. I’m also a big fan of “reading nooks” all over the house, such as the one pictured, so I can read during times of the day when I am more alert.
* In case you’ve somehow missed it, there’s a whole movement of people nationwide who have rediscovered the joys and value of “keeping a few chickens,” in both the suburbs and cities. Existing local ordinances regarding noise, smell, and structure setbacks usually cover most issues, but minor adjustments to your municipality’s rules, based on proven best practices from elsewhere (number of hens, no roosters, things like that), make city chicken-keeping a pleasure for all. See the recently-released national report on urban agriculture to know what’s happening in your city and elsewhere. Chances are, you can probably accept that gift of 3 French hens this holiday season.
Birds of a feather stick together, of course, and you’ll find lots of local service pros all in one place on Kudzu. Get your backyard coop built, and your indoor “nest” remodeled.