Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tragedy on the Little Farm - Rain, Chicken Feathers and Tears

Rain, chicken feathers and tears.  It hasn't been the best day here on the Farm. 

First of all, it's raining...again.  We've had so much rain in our area this month that everyone in town is making Noah/ark jokes.  I kid you not, I heard one on the radio this morning, at the gas station and from the Big Guy.  Surely, this is a representative total.

More rain means more flooding in the garden.  We have 7 raised beds in the middle of our garden which are water logged, but still doing OK.  However, the perimeter of the garden is just on the regular ground and it's a big muddy mess.  The tomatoes in this section look pitiful.  The lettuce was doing so poorly we pulled it out between storms and the kale is...well, the kale is just plain sad.  The zucchini in our side plots, however, are doing fine.  Good ol' zucchini.

So, the garden is suffering.  We've gotten 3 ice cream pails full of beans, a few green peppers, some swiss chard and 5 zucchini so far.  This is great, but things look somewhat dismal out there.

The big tragedy on the Farm today concerns our chickens.  The poor, poor gals (and I am not being sarcastic here).  The chickens were attacked by one of our neighbor dogs - some sort of terrier breed, I believe.  It was awful.  There are feathers everywhere in their coop and fenced in area.

About 6 pm, Jacob, our second son, looked out the window and yelled.  He saw one chicken flying over the side of the fenced chicken yard and what looked to be a cat running around the bottom of the coop itself.  Jake is a get 'er done, common sense kid.  His first reaction was to yell for me, grab his BB gun (kept conveniently on our back porch, call the dog and run out the door.  I appreciate his quick thinking more and more as he gets older.  If something is going down, I want Jake on my side.

I ran out too and what we found wasn't pretty.  The dog was running out of the bottom of the coop and running around the big fenced-in chicken yard.  There were feathers strewn about under the coop and all over the yard.  Some were in large clumps.  Two chickens, Marshmallow and Mrs. Chicken, ran quickly up into the coop.  The other two were nowhere to be seen.

Jake began walking around our field and our neighbors yards.  He quickly found ZZ (the black and white striped gal) hiding in some vines by a fence.  She was the one he'd seen flying over the fence and who seemed to have the biggest clumps of feathers lying about.  He picked her up and put her in the coop.  We both looked about for Goldie (golden colored) with no success.

Jake, Mr. Observant, knew who the dog belonged to.  The dog had a leash dangling from his collar, so I brought him home while Jake kept searching for Goldie.  I told our neighbor only that the dog and gotten into our coop and chewed up at least three of the gals pretty good.  He was very kind and offered to pay for whatever he needed to.  I told he we'd get back to him, but not to worry.  I mean, it was a dog, an animal.  They do stuff like that.

Where was Farmer Ron in all of this?  At a soccer game, of course.  'Tis the season.  He pulled in about 30 minutes after all the commotion.  We looked over the gals again and decided to let them be for the night.  We were pretty sure that if Goldie could make it home she would.  Chickens are pretty chicken and they if do get out of the coop and yard, they always come back when it starts to get dark.  She showed about 45 minutes later and seems to be fine.

The tears were from Ellie.  She and Zach (young'uns numbers 3 and 4) love the gals the most.  They actually do most of the care taking without being asked.  They're good kids.  Zach was sad, but stoic.  Elle Belle let it all flow.  I didn't shed any tears, but it did make me sad, too.  Some of you know this, but I have no great love (OK, no love at all for animals).  However, something is different about the chickens...  I haven't sorted it all out yet, but I think it has something to do with the fact that they feed my family and are, somehow, part of it.  Those gals help me in my attempts at being a good Mom.  Sounds a big goofy, but there it is.

How will this tragedy play out is yet to be seen.  Chickenwise, not sure what Farmer Ron will find when he heads out to the coop in the morning.  And you can be sure that he'll be the one taking the first look.  I won't do it and I won't be allowing Zach and Ellie to do it either.

Neighborwise, this will be an opportunity to get to know them better.  The family keeps to themselves and we've yet to really get to know them.  We've shared a lot of waves and "hellos," but not much else.  These aren't the best circumstances, but it's certainly forcing some contact.  I pray we handle it in a God-honoring way.

So, there you go...Tragedy on the Little Farm.  We'll keep you posted.


  1. In other news.... good night at the Ranch! Two kittens trapped and "relocated". They're multiplying 'round here like rabbits, 'cept we don't got no rabbits, just lots o' cats. First thought it was nice, ya know, all that free gopher e-radication! Now the cats just congregate around the house at night and cry. It's like a Stephen King novel or something.... So, it's time for 'em to go. One of the cats lives with our chickens and runs every mornin' to eat up the kitchen leftovers. Haven't ever seen a cat that likes watermelon and moldy bread but ya get what ya get around here. I hope they're all well in the mornin'.

  2. I've always felt like there's something special in Jake. I would like him on my side, too. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him. Well, I guess I can wait, but you know what I mean. Sorry for your chickens. Life lessons can be so hard.

  3. Thanks for being so positive about the chicken situation. We pray for your contact with your neighbors.
    Your sense of humor in your writing and life are wonderfully refreshing.


  4. Oh, I remember when our chickens were beheaded by a dog just after we got them when I was a child. never had one since, but do want to raise some. Keep your sense of humor and be blessed!