My husband’s mom is visiting, and she graciously agrees to watch our one-year-old son while my husband and I get some work done.
“You only have three chickens today,” she says when I get home at 6:30. “I haven’t seen the other one since lunch.” The brown hen who’s missing strays from the flock more often than the others. She’s a bit of a loner. She’s probably just hiding.
We scour the yard. We check under the coop three times. We search through our waist-high weed garden and peer under every bush. No feathers. No signs of a scuffle. She’s just gone.
We ask our next-door neighbors to check their yards. Nothing.
We track down a random peeping to a yard four houses down. It’s a bluebird.
I stand in our front yard and scan the block. The yards in our neighborhood are huge. And wooded. She could be anywhere. Or maybe a hawk swooped down and snagged her. I’ve heard that can happen.
We try to carry on with our evening, but it’s not easy. I keep glancing outside and seeing only three chickens scratching and pecking.
Around 8:00, we hear a knock on the door. I race to get it. A young woman stands on our porch … holding our hen. I nearly hug her. This good Samaritan found our girl around the block, and is going door to door looking for her home. Apparently a man at a house down the street bellowed, “She ain’t mine, but I’ll take her” and his four-year-old daughter ran up and swiped the chicken right out of our good Samaritan’s arms. Fortunately she politely insisted on finding our girl’s real home.
We scour the yard once again for any holes under the fence and decide that she must have gone over the fence – perhaps with one of our cats in hot pursuit. Bad kitty. Fortunately she doesn’t seem at all traumatized by the experience. We’re so relieved to have her home, and to have our little flock of four intact again.
In other news, we’re feeling more certain that all four chickens really are hens. No roosters! (Fingers crossed.) It feels like time to officially name our girls. We decide to go with a literary theme and don their house the writer’s co(-)op.
With no further adieu … introducing: Charlotte Bronte, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, and Emily Dickinson.