Isabro Ortega loves his chickens (see previous post Isabro Ortega: Master Carver). He’s wanted chickens for a long time but he didn’t have a chicken coop. So, before he bought his chickens, he built them a home. Not just any home. Many of us, here in Truchas, want to move in. But in the last couple of weeks, even though the coop is still under construction, Isabro brought his chickens home, so I guess we all need to let go of that dream.
This is an adobe chicken coop with double hand-carved windows and doors (and double chicken wire, buried 2 feet under the ground, because of the coyotes). The ceiling is carved. He has screened nesting boxes for those who want to lay in the light and closed boxes for those who want to lay in the dark. He built a special perch which tips up so he can clean well underneath it. He’s going to be plastering, inside and out, soon—the beautiful old plaster that shows the straw in the mix.
And then there’s the view. His chickens face west with a sweeping view of Cordova, the Espinola Valley and Jemez Mountains. So he built them a beautiful screened in porch. I want to be Isabro’s chickens.
But all wasn’t perfect in the coop. Isabro’s first rooster, an enormous thing, was mean to the ladies. He roughed them up and plucked their feathers. So he was no longer welcome. Isabro’s neice gifted him with a new rooster, a little guy named Razor and, as Isabro says, Razor is a gentleman.
So the chickens are laying well and Anna and I can hear them, everyday, over at the gallery, cooing and clucking contentedly (we’re just across the ravine). Isabro’s bringing in a few more chickens and then he has to get to work plastering. If I know him he’ll probably be carving more of the wood in there too. Because he’s an artist and this is just one more act of creation—one more huge art project. And you all know how that goes. One way or another we have to create.
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