July 16 • 07:00 PM

Scared, maybe, but I'm no chicken

June 11, 2008
Maybe I'm supposed to have feathers.

That's what I'm thinking as I watch my chickens peck around the yard. That's the kind of life I wouldn't mind—though maybe it's one I already lived which is why I find it so attractive.

Wake up, stretch the wings, sprint out of the coop, peck around. Peck around some more and then take a little nap. Roam around the edge of the woods, scratch up some leaves and see what's under them. Race after the errant moth or butterfly. Head over to the bird feeder—a sure buffet meal—and then under the deck or into the lean-to for another nap.

Just part of a the surprise that awaited after Sunday’s storm. Future weekend plans seem to be set for the summer. photo by Catherine Minolli.

Around dusk, peck my way back toward the coop, knowing that lady is going to open the barn door and shake my feed bucket. Even though I've been pecking around all day, that sound always gets me running. More food before taking yet another, lengthier nap...

...Yep, maybe I should have feathers.

Except maybe today, when there's no escaping them and it's 90 degrees with the humidity at least as high. And I must admit as much as I'm drawn to the poultry life, rolling and flapping around in a cool patch of earth would be hard to get used to. Taking a dust bath has little appeal, though I've watched the hens do it and it seems like they love it. Getting up and shaking the feathers, clouds rising up around them.

It would be hard to go through life with those feet, too. Prehistoric and leathery, not exactly aesthetically pleasing. (Wait a sec, what am I talking about? My own feet are far from beautiful...) But their feathers make up for it, especially in the sunlight. They change hues like magic, become iridescent and luminous. They're soft, but sturdy enough to lift them off the ground in short bursts of powerful flight. I'm enthralled by it...

...Though I don't have any feathers I thought I was going to go sailing through the air Dorothy-Kansas style a couple of times this past week.

I'm no chicken but I'll say I was pretty scared—and I don't get scared very often.

Friday's short but muscular burst of straight line winds shifted a three foot diameter tree right off its base. A very long and heavy part of the top of the tree crashed to the ground right near this mermaid statue I have near the pond. Lucky for me she came through it unscathed, and I managed to drag the huge limb off of the daylilies, stacked the broken pieces and decided to deal with it later.

Not so for Sunday's whatever-it-was. While I thought Friday's short but strong event was scary enough, on Sunday I almost grabbed the cats and headed for the basement. Doing so may have caused me a whole other set of problems, though, as my old gramaw cat is a bit on the hefty side and lately she's taken to sleeping in a corner behind the sofa—it's not easy for me to get to what with a bad back and all (who's the gramaw here?). Anyhow, I didn't have to worry about it as ol' gramaw snoozed through the whole thing.

As soon as everything calmed down, including me, I headed outside to try to find the hens. That's when I got the shocker of a lifetime (yet another one). Rather than go into major detail here, I'll just let the attached photo speak for itself.

Now the good news is part of that huge old maple hung over the house and lo, it missed it entirely. It's just hung up on the lean-to attached to my little pole barn and a few other trees in the woods. Things could have been way different. Also, eventually I found the chickens and much to my pleasure they were not located underneath the huge tree (which happened during a storm two years ago in just about the exact same location when a big part of that one came down.)

And I suppose if I'm going to insist on seeing the good in this, I'm pretty sure now of what my weekend plans are this summer...(unfortunately it does not include pecking around and snoozing)...

...And it'd be nice to have some feathers right about now. Since airfare is out of the question, I could at least fly somewhere for a little break now and then.

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Castle Creek
Napco Pipe
07 - 16 - 19
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