This past weekend – I think it was Saturday morning – I was out by the chicken yard, tossing them leftover scrambled eggs from breakfast. Fred came out to check on the chicks, who were in their little “playpen” by the garage (he usually lets them stay outside all day on the weekends, then puts them outside when he gets home from work during the week. It’s been especially gorgeous lately, since we haven’t seen a lick of rain in forever.). He was just giving me hell for not giving the chicks when the chickens, all of a sudden, started clucking in alarm and moved faster than I’ve ever seen them move. They ran as a giant wave of panicked chickens for the coop (under the coop is their safe place) and with a giant cartoon question mark hanging over my head, I looked up and said “Wha -?”
And a goddamn hawk swooped through the chicken yard, perhaps six feet from the ground. I shouted in alarm and then began running along the fenceline (I was actually outside the chicken yard), and I raised my arm to throw the plate at the hawk, then he seemed to think better of grabbing himself a chicken, and he flew up into a tree at the edge of the property.
Fred had managed not to see any of it – though to be fair, on Saturday morning when there are a lot of cars going by, it’s kind of loud out there.
The chickens were all either in or under the chicken coop, and Fred and I stood in the chicken yard and stared up at the trees to see if the hawk would reappear, but he (or she) didn’t. After a few minutes, Fred went and got a cup of cracked corn and tossed it out, and I accused him of trying to get the hawk to come back so he could see it (“baiting the trap” is what I accused him of) and he tried to pretend like he was doing no such thing, and he made a special point to toss the cracked corn close to the coop, but please. I know my husband. He totally wanted that hawk to come back.
And he likes the chickens, but I think if a hawk swooped down and snatched one up while he was watching, it would make his YEAR.
So, I haven’t mentioned it, but Fred mentioned it over on his site that he’s started fencing in the back forty, because we’ve decided to move the chickens back there and let them have some REAL room to roam (also, if they have a ton of space, why would we ever have to stop getting new chickens? It’s an illness, I tell ya.). And after Saturday’s experience with the hawk, I’ve started having fucking NIGHTMARES about hawks swooping down and grabbing chickens. Last night I had a nightmare that seemed to last ALL NIGHT LONG wherein hawks were circling the chicken yard and I was shooting at them with the rifle (yes, it’s illegal to shoot hawks; they’re federally protected. IT WAS A DREAM.) (also, I’ve fired that rifle exactly once in my life, and it had such a kick on it that I immediately dropped it and have refused to fire it since).
We’re going to cut down on the wide-open spaces that allow the hawks to just kind of swoop down and grab chickens by planting a couple of trees in the back forty and Fred’s going to put a couple of shade shelters up, but still. I’ll be worrying about those goddamn hawks all the time, I’m sure.
Now that all her babies have been adopted, Kara will be going to the pet store on Thursday, hopefully to be adopted quickly.
She’s really integrated into the family in the past few weeks – her happiest time is at bedtime when Fred and I go upstairs. She considers the upstairs her domain, and she loves to climb on the bed with us and be petted vigorously, then run off to do her rounds of the other rooms to make sure all is secure, back for another bout of petting, and so forth.
She’s such a sweet thing, I really hope someone falls in love with her quickly and brings her home.
Yes, I feel bad about taking her.
No, we’re not keeping her. (Y’all never believe me when I say that, do you?)
Three of the most recent little chicks – not the ones we hatched ourselves or bought at the flea market, but the ones that were hatched by Momma chickens – are still small enough to squeeze under the gate between the chicken yard and the front yard. It’s not really a problem, because they don’t venture too far from the chicken yard (they go up to the front corner of the house and no further, usually) and they like to hang out under the bird feeders and eat the seed the wild birds knock onto the ground.
I see this sight from the computer room a lot.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: 9. What is your biggest mistake? Immediately believing what I’m told without standing back and thinking about it.
2004: Reader requests.
2003: Why have kids if you aren’t going to make them do the scut work?
2002: You know, I don’t even have the words.
2001: No entry.
2000: No entry.