Thursday, March 03, 2016


Oh, the noise, the squawking, screeching, flailing! I heard it when I stepped out to place a letter in the mailbox. It sounded desperate and mean.
Ed! Ed! -- not that he could hear me through the closed windows of the farmhouse, but I felt the need to shout for his help.
I'm inside the house now, panting -- I think the coop has been attacked!
Did you go see what happened?
No! I want you to come! It sounds awful!

But of course, I'm dressed and ready. He tells me to get going -- I'll catch up.

As I approach the coop, the noise is just tremendous. I see that Scotch is outside and she is part of the trouble. Standing on a bench by the sheep shed, the girl is positively screaming. I would transcribe it to something like - I don't like this! I don't like this! I don't like this!

I turn toward the coop. Ed is at my heels. Downstairs, Butter is chasing Henny who is a great flyer, but you just can't fly in a space that is less than two feet tall. Java is upstairs, taking up a huge portion of the roost. (She is one big girl.)

I chase Butter out of the coop with a broom. Everything is suddenly very quiet. As if nothing had happened. As if there had been no battle, no great disturbance.

Well it sounded horrible!
Pecking order: they're still working it out.

I blame their prolonged squabble on the bad weather. We'd introduced new hens before: I'd say it was more like placing a new singer into an existing choir. Oh, you have to shuffle things around to make room, and someone doesn't like being put behind, another one relishes the front row spotlight, but eventually the singing continues and apart from a kick and nudge, you'll hardly notice any ruffled feathers. But here, it's cold and the new hens are staying in the coop and it seems that every time Butter walks by she feels compelled to show how put upon she is by the intrusion. She wont go after big Java in a confined space, but she has no problem chasing Henny, who is, in fact of a more anxious disposition.

The warm air is almost with us. Perhaps tempers will ease and the hens will move back to the business of laying eggs. It cannot happen soon enough.

Breakfast. A blissfully quiet meal. A moment of total peace.

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And now I shift gears again. I'm with my granddaughter one last day before again retreating for a bit, this time because of a trip up north to visit my younger girl and her husband.

Snowdrop is already dressed and ready to play and as I watch her, I smile at how sometimes an article of clothing will bring on a mood. I remember seeing a number of skirts and dresses this season that have a sort of dancer's element -- gauzy skirts, that kind of thing. It's a fad, it will pass, but this season, girls, big and small (at least on the other side of the ocean) seem to sport these fuller skirts. And the funny thing is that in this morning hour, Snowdrop, who otherwise seems not especially dance inclined (at this stage, she is a runner and a climber), seems to be raising her leg just so.

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Favoring her tippy toes...

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Stretching out her arms in her run.

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Oh, I know it's just in my mind, possibly because of this impending visit with my younger daughter who, in fact, was a great dancer once, but it is a sweet recollection and I enjoy it especially because it came without prompt or any actual awareness on Snowdrop's part of what she was doing.

Onto the more serious business of what, in fact, has been an important discovery for the little babe -- sometime this week, she has enthusiastically embraced the game of "point to (fill in the blank)." Ask her to point to a giraffe or a strawberry and she literally pounds her finger on the given item (possibly because that has been my way of pointing as well).

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And why use just one hand ...

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And so is our morning: point to the banana! the baby! Oh, the joy of understanding what's what in this world!

In the afternoon, well, this was the one thing on her mind: are we going out yet?

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Why she loves these excursions on days when we're just hovering around freezing is beyond me. Perhaps a testament to her time of birth -- in the deep chill of January.

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(pointing, this time to the pinwheel)

We've discovered a new favorite cafe -- a bit further, but the staff more than makes up for the chill of those extra minutes outside. Lovely people who make a point of remembering your name. And her name.

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Yes, telltale signs of cookie on her mouth. I always buy just one, for Ed, and she and I split a few crumbs of it.

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Today, I let her explore a little on her own.
Just watch the wine bottles, Snowdrop!

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Can I run here, grandma?
Go for it, little one. Go for it.

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I'll leave you with that image of the girl on the run.

At home,  I find Ed petting Butter (to appeal to her gentler instincts) as the new girls watch.


We feed them in their various private places and eventually they all migrate upstairs in the coop. Not a sound. No protest. Tonight, all is calm. The beginning of a more permanent truce? One can hope.