Mary Lou and David's home is at the end of #6 Road in Phillips. They live off the grid in a snug, beautiful little spot next to a stream - it's just about as quiet and serene as you can get.
Tom and I went to see their new hoop house last weekend. To my surprise, there was a flock of chickens, er actually, a brood of hens (which were originally a clutch or peep of chicks), pecking around their yard. Mary Lou now has 11 hens. She had some many years ago, but had to give them up when they moved to Nantucket during the winters to work. Now that they're at #6 full time, hens have become a part of the family again. Her "girls," Mary Lou says, follow her wherever she goes.
While Tom and David were discussing business, Mary Lou gathered eggs from the hen house, and then she and I went inside their cozy wood-heated home to catch up. We sat down on the
kitchen floor with two of the friendlier hens she had invited in with us. Occasionally all 11 will be allowed to come inside to hang out during the coldest part of January. I would imagine it to be like a very noisy quilting bee.
Hanging out with those two hens was like watching puppies - it was fascinating. I really got to study them eyeball to eyeball. After observing for a bit, I began to see something quite prehistoric in their heads - like a tyrannosaurus rex. The thought of a 40 foot high chicken suddenly terrified me.
I asked her if she thought chickens were intelligent. She told me that when the girls hear Dave start up his tractor, they will rush right over to him. Their favorite food are worms and grubs, the big fat white ones.
She gave the girls some yogurt as we sat there - it's good for their digestion she said, and helps prevent an ugly GI issue chickens can have that will kill them. We watched as they dove in - the tops of their beaks
white like the upper lip of a couple of kids eating ice cream cones. When it was time for them to join the others outside, Mary Lou brought the dish of yogurt and another one for the rest of the girls. I couldn't keep my eyes off them. But alas, we had to close the door.
Mary Lou's Girls • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12"• $200
PS. David and Mary Lou are Sandy River Gardens. They grow and sell all
kinds of stuff - flowers, plants, fruit bushes and trees, and over 40
varieties of lilacs. Every year they
have a lilac festival in late spring with food and music. People come from far and