Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tragedy on the Little Farm - Rain, Chicken Feathers and Tears
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.
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.
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.