This morning I have to tell you that our little French hen has been taken into the Great Chain of Being. I suppose it must have been an owl, though I am not a chicken-crimes forensic specialist. I should not privilege one bird above another, and am glad it was not a skunk or weasel that took her, but I can’t escape a feeling of responsibility. I depended on the work of the automatic door, which somehow failed and left the chickens out in the orchard all frosty night, exposed and cold. Why didn’t I check last night to be sure all was well? Aaargh!

It wasn’t quite daylight when I walked by the far window with my coffee and saw the dark forms huddled against the far fence. What the heck? Slogged into my boots and made the discovery. No body, no blood, just feathers, and two frost-bitten sad survivors, who didn’t run to greet me as they always do. Their feathers were icy, and the door to the coop resolutely still closed. Don’t know how to warm a chicken (no jokes about the microwave here, let’s be sensitive) but called Larry, back in Portland, retrieved the red thumb-push which opens the auto door and teased Edith and Sally inside with some corn. I hope they found their way up to the warm straw-carpeted roost.

Lesson learned.

Now I’ll have to tell Pat. See, the lovely, generous Pat Hills has volunteered to chicken-sit while we’re away in CA for Thanksgiving. She stopped by on Saturday to get the instructions for their care. She had reached the farm ahead of me, and I found her just coming in from the orchard. She’d been taking the chickens for a walk around the orchard, teaching them a song. Seriously, isn’t that the best? We’d thought we’d just depend on the auto-door while she’s here, but now I’ll have to teach her how to manage it manually each night. I hate to tell her about Henrietta, though.

And why was I late getting here on Saturday? Larry and I had met at Charbonneau to visit an open-house, our first foray into the inevitable move from the Portland condo. No, dear Reader, we did not like the open-house condo, and Larry has proposed another scenario we’ll have to consider. How about renting a place in Charbonneau? No commitments. Hmm. A visit to the Web reveals a rental option there that doesn’t look terrible on line. Sigh. Here’s the thing. This weekend, Larry has stayed in Portland so that he can get to his monthly Monday breakfast with the boys from Columbia Mgmt. He has said repeatedly that he will not give up his normal Portland life in favor of the farm. That means golf at Pumpkin every Sunday, breakfasts with his friends, Symphony, Center Stage, random visits with our buddies, coffees with various members of the community who look to us for donations. And so on. Just the urban scene. Fine.

But it’s getting harder, as he is, I believe, ever more deeply engaged down here. Now, this stretch of urban life was to include breakfast with another set of old work colleagues on Tuesday morning. But we’d bought tickets to an activity here called Pub Talks (I think. That doesn’t sound right) for Monday evening. Let’s see. Drive down Monday, back to Portland whenever for Tuesday breakfast? Tough call. He gets frustrated and angry. I don’t know how to help.

But here I am, alone on another frosty morning, biting myself on the butt about Henrietta, and I’d still rather be here than anywhere else in the world.

Short post, no photos. Back soon. Love, Jane

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *