Monday, May 5, 2014

The Circle of Life

Spring is supposed to be a time of rebirth, of life, of green and happy freaking maypoles, right?  We enjoy each new iris pushing out of the ground, savor each new bud on the dogwoods, thrill each time we discover a new bird nest.  Heck, we spent one bedtime laughing at the sound of a couple of foxes going at it on Tuesday in fox love.

Life.  Yeah.  But you cannot have life without the inevitable ending.

Last week, I learned to hate foxes.  Never mind that every time it got quiet that evening, every time I began digging into my book again, they'd start giggling like a bunch of hyenas and start it over again.  (I mean, really?  Just finish already!)  And never mind that I giggled too.

No, I learned to hate them the next day.  A day which shall be called Bloody Wednesday.  A day I lost not one, not two, not three, but FOUR chickens.  We lost Acid, Mocha, Ginger, and poor Pickles.

Princess Leia and Peaches-n-Cream are all that remain.  I've let them out twice since; and both times, they were heavily supervised.  As in, locked in the big garden with me as I continued preparing the beds for planting.

There is a fierce debate going...

Sensible:  You need to get more chickens.
Dramatic: Why, so they can just feed the foxes? 
Sensible:  You have this huge coop with more room than many chickens ever see.
Dramatic:  But they don't need to be locked up all the time!  They'll be miserable.
Sensible:  Then put up a fence, so they have a yard that will protect them from the foxes and hawks.
Dramatic:  But then they are not free range.  One of the reasons I wanted free range was because they keep the bug populations down!
Sensible:  Then you have to accept that the foxes will eat some.  Get lots more chickens.  Maybe a rooster.
Dramatic:  I cannot take any more death!  How do farmers do this?
Sensible:  They have more chickens than you do, and they don't name them.
Dramatic:  Well, how will I tell them apart?
Sensible:  Don't.  Don't tell them apart, and just enjoy your eggs.

And so on.  I am trapped by the debate, and so have done nothing.  Leia and Peaches spend their day in their huge, rambling, empty chicken coop, eating and scratching and laying, and I get two eggs a day.

We had to buy our first eggs in months this weekend.

But this wasn't all.  No, there is more.  I could hardly bear it.

On Saturday, the Husband was coming out at 11:30 on the dot to help me get the chickens back in the coop.  The girls enjoyed the foray into my garden, eating grubs and seeds...and the earthworms.  But, I needed help getting them in.  The Husband's alarm sounded, and he came out.  Amy had spent all morning with me, so she didn't bother, but Katt wandered out after him.  We got the girls in, I dumped another load of weeds down a groundhog hole, and then we ate lunch and went to our afternoon event.

On our way home that evening, we realized that Katt had not come in, and that, in fact, we hadn't even seen her when we came back from the garden.  And she usually never stays out of sight of her humans, or at least the dog.

We got home, and Katt was not waiting.  In fact, there was no evidence of her.  Anywhere.  We all spent the next few hours until sundown, wandering the fields, calling her name.  She didn't appear.

If the fox had appeared at that moment, I would have beaten it to a bloody pulp with a stick.

Katt didn't show before we went upstairs.  And she wasn't waiting for us in the morning.  And she never showed up at all, and I had to write a painful email to Country Kitty, letting her know that Katt was gone.

In my heart, I was already grieving her.  I couldn't stand looking into the sunroom, because that is her room.  The Boy was disconsolate, and I had trouble even smiling.  Even Amy seemed unhappy.  The Husband slept poorly last night, and I had to hold back tears as I cooked the Boy's breakfast:  there was no annoying Katt underfoot.  And things were pretty subdued.

And here is where the entry was supposed to end.

But, after I had let Amy out and the Boy was halfway though his eggs, there suddenly came the shout:  "Mommy!  I see Katt!"

I see Katt.  What did that mean?  I put down the pitcher of water and went to the door, terrified of what I would see.

Katt came mincing in, her tail up, her gait stronger than I had seen in months.  She meowed, and our tears began.  She was back, and she was strong, and she DEMANDED her breakfast.  The Boy and I crowded around her, unable to credit this strong and happy kitty, and even Amy joined us, sniffing madly.

That dumb Katt.  

I still hate the fox.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Get a donkey--he'll tell you when predators are about. However, you'll have to get 2 because they are pack animals and cannot be alone.