The Birthday Beagle and the Unfortunate Chicken Massacre of 2019

This is my birthday cake. A master work of art and craftsmanship, I call it “Eat Your Heart Out.” Absolutely brilliant, doncha think? I was supposed to share it with people (one of whom baked it for me at 6 in the morning…I don’t do anything constructive for anyone at 6 in the morning), but the minute I got to where I was supposed to be, chicken pullets were loose and hiding in a woodpile, and an overly aggressive year-old “puppy” was attacking my friend’s goat herd. And by “attack,” I do mean attack.

Poor Baby just stood there in this lady’s pasture looking completely confused as the shepherd-beagle mix he’d come to play with ran around full tilt like some yippy, gleeful, unhinged hyena, repeatedly grabbed the tethered goats by their throats and dragged them to the ground. If I could have caught her, I would have wrung her neck, but she is wise to Catch-the-Mutt. Instead, I decided to beat her to death…it turned into a fruitless game of Whack-A-Mole.

Whilst my friend went in the house to get a gun, I stood in the middle of the pasture, legs held tight by a half a dozen tangled lead lines and surrounded by terrified does pressed against me for safety, waving around a giant tree branch whilst screaming “NOOOO!!!” like a lunatic trying to protect my friend’s herd. At one point I managed to catch FrootLoops Psycho by the scruff of the neck just long enough to pull her off of one strangled doe and get myself bit, instead….

Two hours later, a months-long wish of mine had finally come true: this high-maintanance definitely-NOT-a-farm-dog was back at the local pound on the shit list for misbehaving cretins, and I felt some relief for the goats and chickens. Not at all the way I had intended on spending my birthday. Especially not when you consider that my friend’s demented (I’m not even exaggerating on this) husband told her that she should leave and go home with me, he wanted to keep the bloodthirsty dog, instead. That was fun.

I left my shindig with a box of 21 coveted Rhode Island Red and Golden Comet chicks (4 died in transit) and my birthday cake in hand. Tomorrow I have to go back when the shitstorm dies down and retrieve Butch’s baby brother, Bobbie. When I do, I’m taking the redecorated cake back as a gift to my friend’s asshole husband, whose unappreciated bride is more than welcome to seek refuge in my guest bedroom until the cows come home.

See, there had been 50 chicks a few days ago….FrootLoops Psycho viciously ate 28 of them and scattered their tiny mauled carcasses like chew toys. I now have the sole remaining sister from the older batch. Asshole Husband evidently forgot about this bloodbath in his family room. I haven’t. And whilst I’m not one for taking animals to the pound or animal control except in the most dire of circumstances, you bet your sweet ass I was happy to give this one a ride, no matter how angry some confused old man gets about it….

Eat My Leftovers, Papa Smurf!

All in all, I had an awesome birfday. You all should have been there. Next year, we’ll do a potluck at my place. You guys bring guns. And beer. It’ll be a riot! đź’–

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The First Signs of Spring

It’s going to be 60°F this afternoon, and the first time since Equinox that it doesn’t dip down to freezing overnight. The daffodils are starting to swell, and the dewdrops are already nodding their silvery sleepy heads in the shade of the budding hummingbird vine. It’s a beautiful day to take off from work, move the houseplants outside, and red up the front porch for some summer fun. I’ve got some sugar syrup cooling on the stove for the humming bird feeders for just that purpose.

Last night at dusk I moved my 42 surviving egg chicks back to the barn because they are far too big for the bathtub, need space to run around whilst they go through their second and third molts, and they seem to have been an immediate good influence on my spoiled hens, who all decided to bless me with my first edible eggs of the season, layed together neatly right out in the open just inside the barn door, instead of hidden in a gargantuan pile behind the grain bins in their secret hen-spun brooding nests. 9 fresh eggs, and me on a fast…. Screw it! I’m having some stock and celery juice today, and making a big scramble tomorrow.

I made my first big batch of raw sweet Spring butter on Sunday afternoon, packed it in my 1-quart Fido, and scraped the surplus into a butterbell, then split the whey between me, the hens and the dogs. I will use the bell butter to whip up a few of these eggs with a handful of the chives that have come up, and some dandelion greens.

The hillside will be deep green by my birthday on the 13th, and just in time, too: my friend Mary has sent me a heavy box from Georgia filled with roots and shoots and cane cuttings and a big fat garden spider (R.I.P. +++) that will all be going in the ground before the sun sets tomorrow, and my friend Tonjha is sending me some priceless herb seeds from Washington State to get a good start on my neglected medicinal garden. My tomatoes, peppers and chilis are all around two inches tall in their little origami pots, folded from the newsprint circulars that litter my mailbox every Wednesday and Saturday, and nestled closely in nursery trays on the kitchen table.

The robins that live in my living room wall by the kitchen door have a new brood of babies that all start making an ungodly racket around 5 every morning. I got the ladder out of the spring house so I could peek in, and there are six pissed off little black-eyed fluffballs in the nest, clearly unhappy that I did not bring meat as an apology for invading their home.

The most tenacious of my two remaining Cornish Cross hens, Big Mama, is sunning herself in a hole she dug with her stubby toes under the lilac bush. My Buff Orp egg mama, Carrie, is asleep in my lap whilst I write this, Baby is sitting ever so stately in the middle of the front yard – with his face to the wind – watching over the valley, and Sissy is blissfully scratching her butt all over the base of a pine tree with unbridled vigor, sending out giant plumes of white Winter coat Dalmation hair in every direction.

The wind in the trees is like music….Today is a perfectly glorious day. I think it’s time to get nekkid and lay out for a tan….

Who the hell wants to go to a yob on a day like this? Not I, says this little red hen.