…tho’ I had hoped to begin the year here as I mean to go on (posting more simply and more often), a few days after my last post tragedy struck in our hen house. And it struck not once, but twice over a matter of days…in spite of reinforcing walls, new precautions, everything we could manage…

It is still hard to share about. If you’ve read this blog for very long, you will have seen what my “little women” mean/meant to me. We’ve never lost a hen to a predator in the hen house before…never lost them to anything but old age or mysterious hen illnesses since our earliest days when a neighbor’s dog caused much sadness with our first flock. So….it’s been a deep shock, tho’ I suppose it shouldn’t have been. We’ve actually been very lucky. I just got so used to swinging along with Jane, Gwyn and Maya for the past four years. Used to them murmuring to me and me murmuring to them…watching them, tending them…eggs were really the least of it.

After the second attack and hours working on the hen house again (mostly my deario), we felt very confident about its safety, but I wasn’t feeling keen on Audrey’s being all the way in the paddock…alone. My feelings became moot when we found Audrey roosting that first evening alone just outside our front door on the porch railing. Message received.

I quickly made a makeshift roost in the vestibule between my studio and the music room, while she remained nestled next to the little cedar tree on the porch. By the next evening, when she appeared on the front porch in the late afternoon, Audrey had a proper roost (Doug’s perfect and prompt handiwork) and we watched in curiosity and some wonder as we opened the door and she walked unerringly (if slowly, but turns and all) into the vestibule. She is there now, third night in a row and we shall see how it goes. I’ve had to reassure some that I am not turning into one of “those chicken people”…just feeling very tender towards her. And to myself, too, I suppose…when I am not feeling regret and loss. It is easier knowing she is near and safe, and not having to visit the scene of the calamity.

Taking Audrey’s lead, I am working on putting this behind me…and looking ahead…and will soon be back here with lovelier things to share…