Remembering Molly Hen

A couple weeks ago (Was it last week? Now I can't remember) I found one of our favorite hens huddled up next to the water bucket. The feathers on the top of her head were gone, her crown was bleeding a bit, and she couldn't walk. I took her inside, cleaned her up, and gave her some plain yogurt, fresh water, and apple cider vinegar.

The first 2 days she seemed to be improving but still wouldn't walk. We kept her inside, hand fed her, and changed poopy chicken towels daily. She'd stand for a minute at a time, but that was about it for leg use. The next day it was worse, and the following day she seemed to have had a stroke and the entire left side of her body was paralyzed.

She was a chicken that only had use of 1/4 of her body.

We were faced with a choice of taking her to the vet to be put down or putting her down ourselves. We were also faced with a 3 year old who has taken ownership of the chickens and is far more attached to them than even we, the ones who spent days hand feeding the sweet Rhodie Molly, were.

The next morning Mabel wanted to know why her hen was no longer in the cage in the kitchen. We talked about it and I briefly tried to cover it up by saying she went somewhere nicer and wasn't coming back. M had far too many questions for me to keep up the guise. Instead I decided maybe coloring was the answer. I drew a red hen, Mabel and I colored and talked. We thought about Molly and reflected on what a sweet pet she was. I'm still not sure how to explain that sort of loss to a pre-schooler, but Mabel took it fairly well and we have a sweet way to honor and remember our favorite red hen. 

I'm ready for a little less somber atmosphere, but at times you have to feel. Let everything that goes along with life sink in. I'm still working through the emotions around Liam's death. Bear with me, I'll see the moon soon.

You all know our usual weekend activities include hanging out in the front yard and working on projects.

Those weekends working out in the yard were filled with small breaks when we'd sit and chat with the neighbors that live in the house that peeks out every once in a while in the pictures.

Two guys live there, divorcees, room mates. Good guys, respectful and kind. The type of rarity you can call on when you need a little help, ones that smile and wave and say hello. They'd sit on their front porch and hang out with friends; lots of friends that would stop by and chat, swap stories. The group of 'em made up the Matthews Country Club, an unofficial, tongue-in-cheek description of how they enjoyed living.

The country club has an appeal that extends beyond male bonding. Whenever Bill Murray gets the chance he bolts through the gate and runs straight for their porch to hang out with the guys, especially Randy. That dog loves him some Randy.

Randy was a good guy; life dealt him some hard blows these past couple years. He still smiled with warmth, waved a giant hello and shouted "Hey neighbor!" across the field and driveway. Telling Mabel she made his day when she'd give him a shy and playful smile. She made him work for those smiles, and he loved trying to get one from her.

Yesterday, when Kevin went home for lunch, he found Randy. Maybe he'd had a heart attack, we don't know. Kevin came over as I was unbuckling Mabel from the car, shaking his head. He said, "It's not good." Just like that, gone with a whisper.

We haven't told Bill Murray yet, I can't imagine how confused he'll be when he can't jump up in Randy's lap in order to wedge himself between his favorite person and the arm of his favorite person's favorite chair.

Gardens and Light

Tomorrow will be something of a somber post on a different topic--Monday night my friend and fellow Koinonia Permaculture grad Liam Rattray was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

While everything settles in my heart and mind to truly honor his brief presence in this world, I've found a few images from The Unpretentious Garden group on flickr; a photogroup dedicated to things that I feel capture Liam's very essence: ecology and seizing opportunity.

This group is a place where I can get lost in the images and a giant well of inspiration. If you want to see some shots of our garden (I think they've all been featured on here at one point or another) you can see my garden set here.

Image credits (in order of appearance):