On the Farm- September 14
Yesterday, as the sky darkened, I preformed my nightly routine of shutting the barn doors to enclose the chickens inside for the night. I heard some sleepy chicken coos, pulled the familiar weight of the door, and trotted up the stairs to my own bed without another thought for the chickens.
This morning, I noticed some of my egg laying pullets trotting around the yard- before I had opened the door. I figure that they must have found a perch in a tree and slept outside-I gave them a disapproving look and asked them, how can I protect you if you are sleeping up in trees?
Then I saw the first pile of feathers and the next. I have lost a few chickens here and there, but this was a real raid, a massacre. All but one of the turkeys are gone and about half the egg-layers. I searched the barn yard and the woods for the bodies, many feet grasped in each hand. Digging a hole in the compost for the birds calmed me and I could at least feel they were returning to the earth and breaking down into fertilizer for the fields.
The weight of pumpkins, the work of clipping their thick stems and lifting the vibrant globes into the truck calmed me more. There is so much life on the farm- between the animals, vegetables and the community. But farming also comes with death- some chickens I plan to kill, to eat and sell their meat, but on days like today I am confronted with sad, unexpected death.