It’s been a very busy and full 12 years, since illustrating and creating the first “Year of Farm Bird” calendar. This time around, the “Chicken, Our Friend” song and story-line shifts into serious territory with a deeper focus of “It takes a flock…” as the calendar’s wisdom intention, and sincere message encouraging a new path for us all.
Rooster-Chicken-Phoenix-Bird is a universal symbol of transformation, rebirth and eternity. Bird year is a time of practical endeavors, conscientiousness, hard work and discipline. It is also a time of expressing inner warmth and insight, a time for quietness and privacy with our flock of friends and loved ones. Whether individually or in community, planning ahead for protection and nourishment will lend itself to taking inevitable but wise risks, facing failure honestly, and moving onward to the path of humbling, beautiful success. This year we will be strongly asked to confront and deal with any stress along the way–not ignore it—-requiring application of creativity, organization and perseverance.
Singing praise to Chicken, who like Dog is truly one of human’s best friends, we can take note of it’s remarkable physical structure—both muscular and skeletal—which allows for flight when necessary. Chickens are warm-blooded creatures, and have very strong hearts and efficient one-way breathing systems. Among other attributes, in the “permaculture world”, we feature the Chicken as a way in which to teach an important aspect of applying and understanding system design. By naming it’s intrinsic characteristics, products/needs…we begin the process of assessing a particular element, or thing, as in a chicken as one of our family friends, in a system, that together with other things, contributes to the whole. This is a good, simple, visual lesson in understanding relationship, how we are connected and what benefits or does not benefit the system and the role of the caretakers. Chicken graciously lends itself and takes a center stage role with a bit of righteous flamboyance and practical perseverance in this lesson.
In 2017, Hens and Roosters alike, will remind us of choosing the directions of up and out—or freedom and expansion is also about love and justice. This path is for us any of us choosing to become authentic, transparent, humble, and sometimes vulnerable. We individually focus our intention and choose to do the hard work to become better human beings and trustworthy in the eyes of those around us. We can personally maintain, improve ourselves by practicing yoga, exercising daily, creating healthy routines and habits—especially working at strengthening our lungs and hearts. Both security and freedom are attainable when we take on self-health, pride and well-being.
Here’s a whopping paragraph of short sentence guidelines for flocks of all sorts in 2017 inspired by an excellent, essay by a permaculture practitioner and teacher Ben Weiss. This offering of words, for the smart, just and loving Chickens, suggest that collectively through structure, deepening and experience, we build our flocks/communities and deepen relationships with others by:
Being clear about our values. Understanding oppression and empathizing with the oppressed. Understanding privilege. Recognizing privilege is the responsibility of the privileged. Understand environmental justice–the crossroads of environmentalism and social justice. Let go of intellectual superiority. Prepare to be invited. Get first-hand experience/make mistakes and learn from them. Don’t impose solutions. Withhold value judgements. Recognize personal and professional relationships. Prioritize the issues of the community. Address oppression issues before environmental issues. Have realistic expectations. When in Rome…Take some personal risks. Give gifts carefully. Be an ally & an advocate. Leave decision-making to the community. Train leaders from within the community. Channel the fire of the youth. Small victories are big victories. Know when to fold ‘em. Phase yourself out.
The Fire-bird-Rooster-Chicken, instructs us to tend to our daily chores while following the guidelines and patterns of the conscious, community oriented flock. This Chicken year asks you to play it smart and safe, with thoughtful and protracted observation–a much, much, MUCH deeper, respectful understanding of your relationship with others. It is the flock, the community, that must ultimately lead.
“When Chicken, our friend, governs, the people are hardly aware that she exists. Next best is the Chicken who is loved. Next, one who is feared. The worst is one who is despised.
If you don’t trust the people, you make them untrustworthy.
The Chicken our friend, doesn’t talk, she acts. When her work is done, the people say “Amazing: we did it, all by ourselves!”
-Tao Te Chicken-Ching
Special Recognition and grateful thanks to the featured Chickens & Dog: Emmy Lou, Pearl, The Tree Sisters, Frida/Diego, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Josaphina, Hazel Crow, Johnny Bingo(who got away), Half n’ Half, Bonnie & Clyde, and Marley the Good Dog–friend of Pearl.
Ben Weiss’s essay “Pattern Language for the Privileged”
Justin Rhodes article: How Permaculture Chickens Could Revolutionize Your Entire Property
and Harvey Ussery, author of The Small Scale Poultry Flock
The 2017 Year of Chicken, Our Friend Calendar is illustrated, created and words gathered by ©`penny Krebiehl, 2005, 2016
Available locally in Traverse City, Michigan,
Contact: [email protected] Online ordering: www.pennyokart.com
Direct to online ordering of calendar with printed story HERE
Sales of this calendar will support the artist-farmer who teaches and practices permaculture and garden-farms in North West Michigan.
Thank you so much!