Moving was quite a humbling experience, I couldn’t believe how much stuff I actually had. Early summer when we started our move from Santa Rosa, people were asking me, what are you going to do with all your chickens? I assured them it wasn’t a big deal. The plan was as bulletproof as Swiss cheese. Using chicken wire and old two by fours, we settled on building a giant cage in the back of my abuela’s old Dodge truck and filling it with birds. I planned to start with the naughty ones first by surprising them while they roosted in the tree at night. Unfortunately, a nasty thunderstorm nixed that plan. So we went with bribing the birds into cages with treats early the next day. That trick, as it turned out only worked for a couple of the docile Rhode Island Reds.

I had lectured my common-law husband, that it was unwise to start chasing birds because it stressed them out, turned them into sprinters and made catching them impossible. I ate my words. Frustrated with their non-compliance, we ended up chasing those birds all over the muddy yard. Then through error and more error, almost ready to give up, we came up with a strategy. With a piece of plywood, my boyfriend would trap them into a corner of the yard. My job was to reach over and grab them, it was chaotic pero it worked… mostly.

Several pollitos were smarter and faster than the two of us educated triathletes and we had no choice but to leave them behind. I knew a young pair of newlyweds would be moving into our old house. As I drove away covered in mud and thorns, I pondered if laying hens were the best or the worst wedding present I had ever given. I didn’t fret on it too long though because the next adventure of driving the 200 miles home in my Dodge held together with duct tape was the task on hand. With three cats and newborn chicks secured in cages next to me in the cab, I took off south.

I’m happy to report that the trip through the back roads was pleasant and quite beautiful. Once we got home the chickens and ducks went wild eating all the plants and bugs on the property. We ended up making countless moving trips, some more stressful than others, but one thing is for sure, I’d do it all over again to be here. I think the chickens would agree with that.

I have been dreaming of coming back home to Magdalena since I left six years ago. I’ve enjoyed the welcome home hugs and seeing the kind faces of old friends. What my heart ached for most was being back on my abuela’s land. There is a full circle feeling when I stand at the edge of my arroyo looking out toward the mountain while my great-grandparents’ windmill whines in the distance.