It was the Saturday before Easter. Cassady and I were hard at work, cleaning, cooking, decoration and cleaning some more. We were getting ready for the masses that were scheduled to eat Sunday Dinner at our house the next day.
While Cassady was straightening up the play room, she found a bowl of pecan pieces I had saved for the chickens, she grabbed the bowl, and with a grin on her face said, “hey mom, if you’ll let me drive the car, I’ll go give these pecans to the chickens for you!” Now keep in mind the hen-house was only about 100 yards away and it was a beautiful day for a walk, BUT this ‘favor’ she was doing for me was actually for her and a good excuse for her to drive the car without me in the seat beside her. “Ok”, I said, “but please be careful backing out and watch out for Earl and his girls, don’t hit them.” She assured me she would be careful. She grabbed my keys and bounded out the door.
A few minutes went by and I began to wonder why she hadn’t returned. We still had a ton of work to do before we had to leave and meet Devin and Caleb for the church Easter carnival. About that time I saw her flying down the drive with a cloud of dust trailing behind. Just about the time I was going to fuss at her for driving so fast, she began to honk the horn yelling, “Mom…Mom!!”. I quickly ran to the door to see what was wrong. With panic on her face she said, “Mom! The chickens, I can’t find them, they’re all gone!” I gesture with my hands for her to calm down and said, “are you sure? They’re probably hiding in the bushes somewhere.” “No Mom, you don’t understand, they’re all gone and feathers are everywhere!” My heart sank. Dreading the answer to my next question I hesitantly asked, “what about Earl? Is he there?” “No Momma”, she answered, “I can’t find him either”.
I ran inside, threw a tea towel over the mixer that had been creaming butter and sugar, and ran out the door. As I approach the hen-house I saw what Cassady was talking about. White feathers were everywhere. Nervously, I began to call them in a sing-song tone, like always, “girls, oh girls…come on…come on girls”. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Penny peeking her head out of the lawn mower shed. “I found one”, I hollered to Cassady. I quickly shewed her into the yard and shut the door. I then looked inside the hen-house to see if maybe they were all hiding inside. As I opened the door, I found Mrs. Fry and her old, ugly-looking crooked toe, perched up on her roost. Cassady walked in for further inspection and saw her feathers were all ruffled and wet. She was so stunned by what had just taken place that she allowed Cassady to pick her up without a fuss.
When we walked out of the hen-house I found another one, one of our, young Rhode Island Reds. She running around crazy like…like she didn’t know where to go or what to do. I tried to call her but she was too shook up to think straight. Remembering were the last massacre took place, I began to walk down to the back of our property. Feathers were strewn everywhere, but no sign of any birds. As we stood there in shock assessing the damage, I took my phone out and called Devin who was already at the carnival. When he answered the phone I could tell he was busy and overwhelmed with people and problems…I sure hated to add one more to the mix. “The coyotes have been here again”, I explained, “this time in broad daylight”. “How many did they get?” he asked. My reply was, “all but three”. He was just as sick as I was. And angry.
As we stood at the bottom of the hill, I turned to walk back up when Cassady suddenly said, “wait Mom! Don’t turn around! I see Earl, don’t look Momma”, she said in a low voice. “Is he dead?” I asked. “I think so”. She walked back up the hill and found him, near the tractor where they had run to hide. From the look of things he had put up a good fight trying to protect his girls.
By the time I made it back to the hen-house I discover one more had come out of hiding, safe and sound. It was Scarlet! Earl’s running buddy. It was good to see her alive and well.
Those mean old coyotes had struck again. This time in broad daylight while we were home… we never heard a thing. My heart was broken to lose so many, and Earl. All that was left was, Mrs. fry (the meanest chicken in the world) Penny, Scarlet and the Rhode Island Red that hadn’t been names yet. Just four.
Later that night, as I was looking through the hundreds of pictures of Earl I had stored in my phone, I realized how infatuated I was with him, his beauty, his dedication to the girls and his king of the yard attitude.
Here, Cassady is trying to convince him to eat out of her hand. He just wasnt buyin’ it. He would eat out of my hand though, because he loved me most.
As Cassady so eloquently summed it up, “They got Earl. Now it’s personal!”
If y’all see me around town wearing a pair of coyote skin boots, I don’t want to hear one word about it!
Thanks for reading and thank you for all of the kind words. I love you more than a Reese’s peanut butter egg 😉