Monday, April 20, 2015

onwards and upwards

Before dawn, before the first crow of the rooster, the chicken mama (the true owner of our cheeper brood) finally responds to my calls and comes to take Oreo away, to a farm sanctuary of sorts, she tells us -- a place where he can presumably act out to his heart's content. Ed vows to be a frequent visitor.

After, the remaining three hens seem a tad scattered in their behavior. Do they sense that their protector is not trailing behind, as he did for all their time at their farmette?

Scotch gets pushed around just a little more than usual. Oh! The three girls are fighting! Are there new hierarchies forming already?


It's a cool and wet day -- not the kind that invites you to be outside. Many of the daffodils have bent with the rain that pummeled them all night long. But most stand strong and tall. Do flowers, too, have hierarchies of strength?


For the first time in a long time, Ed succeeds in picking up a white hen (they usually scatter if you reach toward them). I'm thinking -- maybe he's trying harder with the girls, now that Oreo's gone.


I clean out the coop -- another first in a long while. Oreo never liked it when I neared their space. My movements around the farmette had been greatly influenced by where he was and what he was doing. Not anymore, I'm thinking. I've regained my freedom, though I, too, sense the small void now, without his overbearing presence.

Ed and I eat breakfast. I stick cut daffodils from the garden in a vase for the kitchen table.


And in the afternoon, I go to Snowdrop's home. Having had a set of adventurous days away from home, she is utterly delighted to be in her familiar surroundings! She is all smiles and laughter! I sit her up on the couch and note that she is so much stronger now! She doesn't immediately tilt to one side!


Too, she is a total chatterbox! Even as she laughs at my imitations of her talk!


In the last days, she has become more adept at grasping favorite toys. This one she adores and she is convinced that she can fit it in her mouth. All of it.


I walk away in the evening thinking how incredibly happy this girl is. Something is going right in her life, that's for sure!

At home, Ed is putting on a good front, but I sense his feeling of loss. You say -- it's a rooster! He'll say -- it's a rooster!! 

I had texted the chicken mama to ask when and where Ed could visit with Oreo. She answered that there was no space at the sanctuary and so she is looking elsewhere.

Outside, Butter snaps and pecks at her sister. Scotch moves away. She knows that she's the next target.

I think about what I disliked most about Oreo: his unpredictability. But the water gun nearly solved that! And Snowdrop -- I can't have her play freely in the yard if he's around! But she wont be playing freely this year -- she's too young for that. Besides, Ed has always said that he will lock up the rooster if there are visitors. By next summer, if Oreo even lives that long, we can reevaluate.

How about my freedom? Here's the thing: in the past few weeks, I have done some serious thinking about what we fear and dislike and what we push away because we are too concerned about our own vulnerabilities to ever give it a running chance.

I tell Ed to call the chicken mama and ask for Oreo back. He hesitates, but only for a moment. He promises me a smaller, better water gun.
Here, look at this set of reviews! You know, there is a vocabulary that is used specifically for water pistols: soaker, pump volume, air-shot, blaster...

There's no doubt. Ed is thrilled. 

And yes, we agree to also take another orphaned chicken from the chicken mama. Yes, yes, we are the keepers of unwanted cheepers. And I do believe that this is a good thing.


  1. Aw! Such a soft heart hiding in there, Nina. So Oreo will be returning to the farmette. I hope you can establish a new rank with him and feel more free.

    I find myself looking at pics of Snowdrop recently and wanting her to be sitting up on her own. Soon, I suppose.

    What a beautiful, diverse collection of daffodils on your table!

  2. Oh, Nina you had me going! As I can certainly understand your concerns and reasoning I felt terribly sad for the beloved Oreo. I was also wondering why chicken Mama had not cleared it with the sanctuary before hand. That gave me a sinking feeling for Oreo. A feeling of dread. Then the girls fighting and I imagine you are right about the hierarchy.

    Flowers and plants have amazing lives. We are beginning to learn a lot more about them and it is fascinating. BTW, your bouquet of happy flowers on the table looks divine but then they always do. I do believe that over the winter you keep the local florist in business. It must be nice growing your own in the warmer months.

    Names for the water guns cracked me up. I think your situation might call for the 'Blaster'....

    I love watching Snow Flower grow. It is actually a first for me! I have two sisters but none of us had children. So watching precious Snow Flower is a wonderful experience. She seems to be growing in leaps and bounds and has no shortage on smiles!

    I am thrilled by the ending of your entry!!!! Yay for Oreo and another chicken to the roost. Perhaps Oreo will be so busy with his harem he will have no time for you. :)

  3. what a day, Oreo goes, then comes back. and water guns! and beautiful, adorable sweet S with those big smiles. all in one day. ox

  4. Who knows... maybe Oreo will have been changed by his experience? And the water gun will do some teaching. I'm glad he's back. Someday soon Snowdrop will start imitating his crowing!

  5. My boys would be happy to test out any water guns before you purchase them and write up a report about which ones work best. I'm sure of it.

    My friend once told me about saving animals developing good karma. I'm not such a huge believer in that anymore, but I have to say, I think people who help take in unwanted animals, even annoying roosters, see more good in the world than bad. That's purely anecdotal of course. :)

  6. I am thrilled too, about Oreo returning. I was very sad that he'd gone. When we were little, my mother "gave away" our dog, a beagle, to "a farm where he can run and bark all day long" - and I was suspicious... but accepted it. Years later I learned our young beautiful beagle had been put down just because he barked too much! I was livid. I pray Oreo has a spiritual awakening upon returning to his flock, and sees that "you don't know what you've got til it's gone," (a nod to Joni Mitchell who is ill and needs our prayers too). Hey, how long can a rooster live anyway?

  7. Great picture of the Ladies Nina and Happy Birthday! This was a story with a good ending for poor misunderstood Oreo (Tongue only slightly in cheek). I was curious what would happen when the hawks appear without Oreo to call the alarm.I also wonder if the new orphan will be a he and give Oreo a run for his money in a few weeks.
    Thinking thinking thinking. Hope your day was filled with love and light and the next year is the best ever!
    Ruth from Oxnard CA.

  8. Oh I'm so Happy that Oreo is getting a reprieve! My chicken experience is limited to vague memories of my Grandmother's brood and more recently Kentucky Fried Chicken (Don't tell the cheepers). So I know Oreo's personality can be a problem and I wouldn't know how to deal with it. But he seems to impose order on the other chickens which is interesting. Yay Oreo!

  9. Nina, Happy Birthday, today! Hope your day was wonderful!

    Also wanted to stop in and say that, having been attacked by a goose when I was 4 years old, I do understand how you might feel if Oreo keeps giving you trouble. If he won't mend his ways then you should feel free to remove him, again. Your and Snowdrop's future safety are more important. *hug*

  10. Bex, I am on the floor holding my sides...Oreo having a spiritual awakening...that is great, that is just great! I love it.

  11. Oh, gee it's your birthday...Happy Birthday!!!!!!


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