Chickens, Dishwashing, And Keynesian Economics

You know, you wouldn’t think that Sicilian Buttercup chickens would have much to do with the U.S. economy, healthcare — yours or society’s — or even whether to wash your dishes by hand or use a dishwasher, but they really do.

This is a Sicilian Buttercup. It is not supposed to brood, hatch eggs, or be a good mother. Photo by Steve Henderson Fine Art

The Sicilian Buttercup — which always sounds like something you’d have for dessert on your birthday — is a speckled brown and blond chicken that, according to chicken experts, is a lousy brooder.

This doesn’t mean that she’s not a thinker; actually, thinking isn’t a process associated with chickens of any breed. No, this means that Sicilian Buttercups will not sit on a clutch of eggs for three to four weeks and hatch them into chicks. They just don’t do that.

Except on our farm. And others, I’m thinking, because this piece of information, like so many facts hoisted and foisted upon us by experts every day, isn’t universally true.

This is the second Sicilian Buttercup, which is raising her chicks, which she is not supposed to have, in tandem with a second, hybrid chicken. Photo credit by Steve Henderson Fine Art

The Son and Heir, who is as fascinated by chickens as he is by shooting arrows or reading about the Battle of Hastings, researched the breed and determined to add them to our eclectic flock. Source after source after source — both on the Internet and in chicken books — described them as beautiful, ornamental chickens that would never be mothers.

Well, they are, sharing between them and a third hybrid hen 12 chicks — another situation that isn’t supposed to exist, because conventional and expert wisdom, in source after source after source — assures us that chickens don’t share their chicks. One day, Sicilian Buttercup #1 has four chicks and her sister, parenting in tandem with the hybrid, has eight. Later in the afternoon the count is seven and five. That evening, six and six. The main thing that matters to me is that the final number adds up to 12. And with five cats lurking around, that’s always questionable.

Seeing is believing, sometimes. Photo credit by Steve Henderson Fine Art

While it’s a jump, or hop, from chicken parental dynamics to Keynesian Economics, the principle point — that there are a lot of people out there giving us either wrong information, or information that nobody can possibly know is veritably true — applies.

How many times do you open the paper or scroll through your e-mail and read, “This must be done to salvage our economy”? (Interestingly, “This” usually involves significant amounts of money being transferred to people who already have it, and have misplaced it, somehow.)

Or your doctor insists that, “You must take this pill, and there are no serious side effects.” But you have researched this medication, and you know, indeed that there are side effects, and you mention this to the doctor.

“If you’re not going to listen to me, then there’s no point in our talking,” he replies. End of five-minute consultation.

(I’m not making this up, by the way; this happened to a real person. I’m guessing it’s not an anomalous situation.)

Or the dishwasher versus hand washing — if you think that the health care situation is contentious, check out Does Using a Dishwasher Actually Decrease Water Use by One Green Generation, and make sure to read the comments. This would be lively action on C-Span, representing far more commentary and debate than we are accustomed to seeing in the hallowed halls of our lawmaking bodies.

There is much joy in dancing our own dance, thinking our own thoughts. Jubilee, original oil painting available at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print at Great Big Canvas

If there is this much controversy on dish washing, why do we so trustingly believe what we are told about the big things? Is it because we are so emphatically, positively, confidently, and repeatedly assured of the “facts”?



Trust your instincts.

Trust your intelligence.

Don’t blindly accept everything you read or hear, and don’t forgo adding Sicilian Buttercups to your life because they won’t brood and hatch out chicks.

(Oh, by the way, there are still 12. Three and nine.)

Happy Mother’s Day, you wonderful mothers out there. My gift to you, The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift.

This post is linked to The Chicken Chick, Butter Believer, The Prairie Homestead,  Nourishing Joy, Real Food Forager, Healthy Roots Happy Soul, Adventures of a DIY Mom, Hope in Every SeasonDeep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, Our Simple Farm, Next Generation Homeschool, Holistic Squid, Simply Helping Him, Mama BZZ, Thank Your Body, Gnowfligns, Little House in the Suburbs, Small Footprint Family, Our Heritage of Health, Real Food Whole Health, Happy and Blessed Home

2 Responses

    1. Hello, Jill — thank you for reading me, and for featuring me in Sunday Snippets!

      Regarding Keynesian economics, which advocates a strong public sector presence “mixed in” with the private sector, something people could argue is happening, and has been happening, in our country for a long time (with little positive gain to the economy, one might add) — this is intrinsically linked to the whole chicken thing — what are the “experts” saying, and how do we know that they’re right? From where are they getting their information?

      And most importantly, who stands to make money out of the decisions that people make based upon the information that they are fed?

      My message never changes — each one of us must educate ourselves so that we can make clear decisions, based upon the best information that we can get hold of. This good information, increasingly, does not come from many news and information sources, including those that propound being alternative ones, or books, or TV shows, or the voices of the faces that we all recognize, because they’re in front of us all the time. We MUST sift through what we are told and weigh it for accuracy and good intentions, with the thought, always in the back of our mind — does someone stand to make money out of this?

      As a Christian, the major means I use of sifting through the information I am given is God, and I seek what He has to say by looking at the world around me and drawing conclusions from the eco- and environmental systems that He has set up, and from reading the book that He left for our use. I am sad to say that too many Christians allow their pastors and leadership to do this thinking for them, and many of these pastors and leaders are the product of the very money-making, deceptive society that controls our businesses, our politics, our education system, pretty much any system that is run by men. This includes religious systems, including the ones that seem “free” and “open” (21st century evangelical Christianity). Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves — how effective is this church system within our society and our lives? What difference are we making? Where is the love, the compassion, the truth, the understanding, the drive to listen and care and do what we can do to alleviate the pain of the person in front of us?

      Christians must wake up and walk as individuals before God, doing the work that He is setting before them, not the classes and workbooks and projects that they are told is His work. His work is reaching out to the hurting, feeding those who are hungry, loving the people whom He puts in our lives and on our paths. We join together in a church situation to draw strength from one another, to worship, and to pool our resources so that we can give to the hurting of the world, not so that we can pay the lights in a building that a small, limited, closed group of people use, sitting around in a circle and reading Sunday School materials that were bought with the money that people gave. These people sitting in the circle are constantly told that they’re not doing enough, they’re not strong enough, they’re not loving God enough — and yet the self-imposed leaders do very, very little to equip them to do the good work that Christ prepared beforehand for them to do. This is the job of today’s apostles, the teachers, the prophets, the pastors — but they’re not doing it very well. They like the titles, the perks, and the public affirmation, but we won’t see many of them being shipwrecked and abandoned and following in Paul’s, much less Christ’s, steps.

      This is a long answer to your comment, but this issue is a complex one that requires all of us to do some serious, serious thinking, overturning in our minds all the things we have been told and thought, and truly, truly questioning whether they are true. Christians should be the forerunners of this independent, radical thought, but alas, we are not. I seek, through my writing, to find and encourage people who want something more, who know there’s something more, but aren’t sure whether they’re nuts in thinking so. They’re not. There is more — it just takes a lot of searching and questioning and questing and seeking to find. — Carolyn

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