A person likes to think she’s at least as smart as the average barnyard chicken, but this afternoon, that reassuring affirmation was definitely tried. Here’s why:
The newest member of the flock. We don’t know her name yet, and she has a sister, whose name we also don’t know. But it doesn’t matter at the moment because we can’t tell them apart anyway.
I don’t imagine that our grandson, Will, who has named other items of farm equipment, reads these blogs, but if you’re out there, Will, can you think of appropriate names for these two? They are of the Speckled Sussex family, an English breed, but Meagan and Kate won’t do. Larry rejects “Speckles” and “Freckles” and we hope you can do better.
To set the scene, here’s a photo of our one remaining bird, after the untimely death of Madeline “Maddie”, cause unknown. This is Grace:
We have had a little experience, and knew it would be challenging to introduce the chickens to one another, so we proceeded slowly. The S.S. breed is known as one low in the pecking order, and apparently, Grace had done her homework. She began the festivities by attacking both the newbies, to the point that we determined to separate them for a few hours.
However, all of them have to get into the coop by sundown, so we opened the door to the run where Grace was pacing, planning her strategies.
We left them to sort themselves out, and were surprised this morning to find Speckled No.1 outside the orchard, having a walk around the place. The fenced-in, impenetrable orchard. How ? ? ? Maybe she hopped onto the planter box and flew on from there?
A daring capture, featuring a cardboard box and an unenthusiastic Larry ensued. Success, with little injury all around. We relaxed, went off on an errand after lunch, and returned to find Miss Speckled outside the orchard again. Of course, it may be Miss Speckled No.2. How would we know?
An undignified attempt at seduction via corn-scratch failed, and the hen strolled off into the weeds of the back acres, laughing at us. We supposed she would find her way back, but were a little concerned as it’s hot and she would have no access to water. She can get out, but not back in.
An hour or so went by. I found I couldn’t immerse myself in the Isabel Allende I’ve been reading, or even worse, to practice, more about which later. I went back out, found the girl nestling against her sister on the other side of the fence.
Larry and I tried a circling maneuver, he with the box, I with a cup of treats. Aha! We had her penned in a corner up against the coop. Not stupid, she, she attempted to squeeze between two sections of fence, and nearly managed to arrive back in the run where she belonged. Almost. But stuck. Unable to move in or out or underneath. Larry left me with the box, guarding the slot into which she’d inserted herself and went to get wire clippers.
Okay, I do have scratches, from her or the wire I don’t know, but I did get her stuffed into the box, the top secured by the time Larry got back. Hooray for me! We decided to imprison all of them into the run, no one getting out into the orchard, for several days. And, it being dark now, Larry has just come in to report that all three are roosting inside the coop.
Whew. A reminder that our chosen life here on the farm has its unexpected adventures.
Now we’ll have a flash-back. Banjo camp, after all. Why on earth would I want to go to Banjo Camp? Not like I expect to join a band, dazzle friends and family with my skills. Not sure, but here’s one plausible reason:
Last week we went to a pot-luck picnic with an organization we’ve joined, and this was to be the first in-person opportunity to meet the other members. We were lucky and found seats across the picnic table from an ex professor of oceanography and his wife. They entertained us with stories of sailing across the Pacific from California to New Zealand in a 36 foot boat, with a one year old baby. Yikes! Sailed up to Alaska with, this time, the two year old and a new baby. Stories about whales, the barrier reef, storms.
The professor having wound down, another participant looked at me and asked “what do you do?”
Right. I spread my arms wide, leaned back, and said “I play the banjo.”
They were speechless.
I’ll go practice when I finish this.
See? You never know. Camp was fun, but, moving on, this past weekend we went over to Black Butte for the Sisters Folk Festival. It being sister Martha’s birthday, we went to her house for the celebration with my nephew Ben and his family.
Jenny was there while some alterations were being made to her brand new house, so we had some rare daughter-time with her.
The Festival was as advertised — loud bands, banjos, guitars, fiddles, singers, all what you’d want in a festival. We had just the one-day tickets, so came back Sunday. In time to collect the new chickens and begin to write this blog.
If any others of you can think of chicken names, remember Will is busy, please let me know!