I worked from home today, so I decided to let the chickens have the run of the yard. We don't do that very often any more, but I thought they'd enjoy doing some garden clean-up.
Late in the afternoon, I was absorbed in my writing when Moe started whining at the back door. A little annoyed, I picked up the case I was reading, walked to the back door while still reading it, and let Moe out. Then I sat back down, wrote a few paragraphs, starred into space a little....
And yelled, "OH [*rhymes with duck*]!"
I grabbed shoes and ran outside, but it was too late. Little grey up there (formerly "Emily", but now "Survivor Queen Extraordinaire") was smart enough to hide, but the other two were dead and disappeared, respectively.
I can't tell you how frustrated I am at my own stupid distraction, but more than that even, I'm disappointed that now we have to figure out something to do with Emily.
That conversation is ongoing, but, in the meantime, we had a dead chicken to bury. We don't always do a "full funeral" when a chicken dies--sometimes it's a double-knotted, double-bag in the outside trash can--but the Kid has been so curious about death lately that it seemed worth the exercise. So Sweet Husband put Little Miss to bed, and the Kid and I headed to the backyard with a flashlight and a shovel.
I dug a little; he dug a little. He shouted encouragement as I hacked through tree roots. We were bonding hardcore.
And then, just as I was lifting up the poor chicken to slip her into our hole, a flashlight shined over the fence.
"Hello?" I called out.
"Hi," said a man's voice, "I'm here with Westar. Did you guys call about some downed power lines?"
"Um, no," I called out awkwardly.
He paused--probably in confusion at the dead bird on my shovel or what we were doing in the backyard in the dark or any number of things, really--but then moved on to our neighbors. I just barely resisted calling out, "I swear, we're not burying anything human!", but I settled for a little louder-than-normal conversation with the Kid.
"Do you want to say a few words about Taylor before we go inside?" I encouraged.
He screwed up his face thoughtfully and then chirped, "Goodbye chicken. Thanks for the eggs."
Not bad for his first eulogy.
I echoed, "Yes, thanks for the eggs, little chicken," and we went inside.
I think the right thing to do is going to be to find Miss Emily a new home, but it makes me sad to think of going all winter with an empty coop. Even if sometimes the lessons are more like thwacks on the head (in my case), our little ladies teach all of us so much. The thanks for the eggs doesn't cover half of it.