This morning I woke late, having snoozed past the alarm. I now know that a snooze of an hour or so is a dangerous path to consider. Especially as I have chickens, dogs and Danny to feed and water, plus I need to shower and dress and check the greenhouse and heated indoor propagator and go to work.
The morning buzzes with questions. Have I made the thermos and lunch for work? Will Danny discover his breakfast toast after his conference call? When will our leeks finally germinate?
I shot down to the chicken run and saw a fluffed up body in the bottom floor of the hen house. It was Mrs Squeaky Clean. The little dead body was quite cold and stiff.
Mrs Squeaky was a pekin bantam. A sister of Mrs Boss. But Mrs S was not interested in raising a brood. If she had been human she would have been a true Clairn’s girl. She was 98% focussed on her appearance. Her feathers were always whiter than white. She rarely appeared in the muddy run and preferred to roost well away from any chance of getting the teeniest bit dirty.
I walked back to the cottage with a heavy heart.
“I’m afraid there’s bad news. Mrs Squeaky is dead.”
Danny spun round in his chair.
“Oh no! We’ve lost four chickens in the last few months. I suppose that our older chickens will be dying now. They must be at least seven years old?”
“Two were quite young when they died.”
“Some hens are delicate and susceptible to bugs and viruses, I guess.”
Then within the hour an email arrived from Caroline. Two chicks had hatched from the clutch that they are raising for us . By dusk the count was four. We are delighted and so appreciate Caroline’s generosity.
“It’s odd,” said Danny, “when you buried your mum’s dog Daisy Beatyl, our cockerel Beatyl hatched on the same day. Mrs Squeaky dies and that day we hear that we have four new healthy chicks.”
This evening we buried Mrs Squeaky in a quiet, shady part of the garden. And then celebrated the arrival of the new chicks.
It is a circle. Death and life. Rocky and amazing.
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