She’s the one who kept trying to escape? The little Speckled Sussex whose wings we’d had to clip? Yes, that one. Yesterday she flew the coop for good. This had been some days coming, and we had determined that we wouldn’t take her in to the vet, as one of the possible explanations for her torpor was that she had simply gone broody. Wanting to hatch her little family.

But no, she was definitely dead yesterday morning, and then came the hard part. Influenced by a book we’d been reading, Wilding, The Return of Nature to a British Farm, we wondered what would the most natural, reasonable way to deal with a deceased chicken? (NO! We couldn’t fry her for dinner.) We could put the body out into the pasture land and wait for an eagle, or more probably, a turkey vulture, to dispose of her remains. Wait. We don’t know cause of death. Maybe some sort of avian flu? Can’t risk spreading some unknown bird virus throughout the valley.

Just put her in a plastic bag and add her to the garbage pick-up on Thursday? No, don’t want to add plastic to the landfill. So a brown paper bag became her shroud and she’s on her way to her final resting place.

It does look a little thin out there in coop with just the two-bird flock, and when we return from England, we’ll see about a replacement.

Today we’re shrouded ourselves in the smoke from a couple of fires, the Lookout east of Eugene the most probable cause. This is along the Mackenzie River on the highway to Black Butte. With temperatures in the 100s the last couple of days, it has felt inevitable. So being outside isn’t an option, and what farm chores remain will just have to wait.

Okay, it isn’t all bad news! Last week, all our cows were moved to their winter pastures or barns. I think I mentioned the moo-ing last post, which had become a little challenging, and we’re glad they’re off to greener pastures. Not a euphemism! Really!

And we were treated to a bagpipe concert down in the oak grove behind the barn. Neighbor Terri had met a gentleman, newly moved to Philomath from Oahu, and somehow she had taken him with her when she walked her dogs over on the west pasture. He thought the grove would be a perfect place to play the pipes, and Terri set it up.

A bagpipe concert is a little hard to describe. You can’t really be sure what song you may be hearing, although Danny Boy did come through. But this Dan was dressed in his clan kilt, looked the part for sure, and we sat on our lawn chairs, drank lemonade, and enjoyed the somewhat rare event.

Peter, Andrew and Charlie flew into town for a short trip to Black Butte. We played golf, and learned that Andrew has a highly developed style of putting ambidextrously. This was good for alot of laughs. How does he do that? Good food, good stories, good to see them.

Larry got his first bee sting this morning. We had not realized how complex this bee keeping is, including the massive amounts of sugar water to be boiled and provided to our darlings. There are two types of bees, the Carnolian and the Italian. No we can’t tell them apart on the fly, but they each have their own hive, their own queen.

Our trip to England? This is mostly a celebration of Larry’s birthday, and the excuse for the event is Alli’s move to a years studying in London. Also an opportunity to meet with our great friends, Ursel and Epi, who will join us for a couple of days. Jenny has been busy making reservations for lunches, dinners, shopping, walks, etc. It’s nice to have a tour director as we feel a little overwhelmed with the transition from farm to, gasp, London. What would we wear? What shoes? How hot will it be over there?

Ah, it’s lunch time. I’ve been watching the clock, and now it’s legal. Larry has just made a new batch of his amazing bread. Wish you were here!

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