Cluck of the Week: A family without a flock

The heavy, wet heat of summer is here -- bringing with it trips to the pool and gymnastics recitals and two 4s on the end-of-grade tests. Unfortunately, work has sucked up every extra minute this past month.

I thought this would be the night I finally have time to sit down and turn memories into words, but I can't revel in any of it -- not the gorgeous shimmer of sun on wet skin or the light scent of gardenia in bloom or five days without children where I spent my time lounging in lake water so clear I could see my toenail polish four feet down. Now's not the time for these life-meat moments.

Because when I returned from those languid days of being a wife, only, there was only one chicken sunning herself on the back deck. One chicken bathing herself in the sandy dug-out space beneath the hydrangea bush. One chicken squawking and pecking on the door for a treat. And that one chicken -- Fancy -- turns out to be the luckiest chicken on God's green earth.

One of Lulu's many visits to the front window.

In the same place where we found sweet Maisy, there was Lulu's dander and feathers and fluff. A thorough search of the yard revealed nothing we hoped to find. No tell-tale leftovers of a hawk attack. No trail of feathers and blood to signal a dog or cat or fox hauled her off. Just a handful of fluff that scattered when the evening breeze picked up.

The sole survivor of a fox attack at her previous home, Fancy has now also survived dogs, hawks, and cats -- and she seems completely unfazed about being the only girl left. I don't know whether we should use this as an opportunity to bring home more chicks (as the pecking order wouldn't apply) or just consider Fancy the last chicken we should subject to our neighborhood.

Lulu Girl chillin' with the kids on the front steps. She liked popping bubbles and
sharing the many treats they found to hand out.

There's not sadness so much as resignation, and the decision never to free range any other flock we may have in the future. A coop may be a cage, but it's safe. For the chickens and for their families.

The last time I saw Lulu -- on the day we left for vacation, she spent a few hours
perched on the window box for a little respite from the oppressive early June heat.

Wherever you are, Lulu Girl, may you rest peacefully. You will be missed.


Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you have to say! (If you want an emailed response, be sure to enable email in your Blogger settings -- see a tutorial here.)

Now. Spill it!