The dark covers me and I cannot run now

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: this morning I woke up to GRISLY CHICKEN DEATH. Zsa Zsa, JWOWW, and So-and-So the Easter Egger got the axe. I locked them up at dusk last night and it was quiet outside and they were burbling in their house and everything seemed well. There was a lot of noise at 5 a.m. but I didn’t think much of it. Sometimes they get noisy when the sun comes up. I came out at 6:30 to let them out (I surrender, I am a morning person now, yes I hate myself appropriately) and the first thing I saw was feathers under the coop. Too many feathers. There were three broken and gutted little bodies around the backyard. One of the raccoons had eaten the eggs out of Zsa Zsa’s body, which just made me furious, really.

I walked to the corner of the yard and old lady Veronica was hiding behind the shed, standing upright and eying me warily. A feather was stuck to her head and at first I was afraid that her eye had been poked or something, but she was just sticky. I let her be since I figured she’d get it off herself, and also because after what she witnessed she is probably now Chicken Dexter Morgan and I didn’t want to get too close.

Watching her stand there made me feel really sad. I surveyed the little piles where the raccoons had left the girls laying around the yard half eaten and all I could think of was how scared they must have been in the dark and how terrible I was to have shut the door too early and locked them out. It’s like a horror movie when the door closes too soon and you watch your friend get torn apart by zombies/tentacles/LaRouchies through the porthole. I cried–I couldn’t help it.

The thing about chicken deaths is that I don’t really bond with them the way I do with my cats and now the dog, but they are trusting and defenseless and just kind of generally good animals, I believe. I know chickens peck each other and sometimes they eat eggs and they are stupid, but after ten years I feel that most problems can be prevented with proper conditions and control. You can steer them like a waterway and they do good work for you. And I had let them down.

Once the bodies were cleaned up I opened their door to check on the remaining hens. No one came forward, and normally they burst out like they have been shot from an extremely short range cannon.

“Girls?” I stuck my head in. There was an egg open on the coop floor and Silver Belle’s beak was wet. That was weird. They rarely break their own eggs. I walked around back and the back egg hatch was open. Strudel had done her egg duty yesterday and had left it open.

I was still crying when I came into the house and I sat on the couch. Frannie came upstairs and it’s extremely rare but I feel bad when the first thing the girls see in the morning is me bawling like a big soppy muffin. I told Frannie what went down and she hugged me while I sniffled and felt terrible. After a couple of minutes on the couch, we heard Strudel’s door open and Frannie went down to fill her in on the news.

When Strudel came upstairs she looked stunned. Strudel always has strong notions about justice and responsibility, and spent a few months asking me hard questions about things like police justice and morality. I have NO IDEA what she is going to turn into when she grows up. For a long time the people who were most responsible for breaking and taking things in my house were Not Me and Must’ve Have Been My Sister, but lately she has been coming forward more and talking about how she could handle things better the next time. What a fucking relief.

“I’m sad about the chickens,” she said.

“Yeah. Thanks. Me too,” I said. I waited for her wheels to turn to where I knew they would go next.

“Did someone leave the door open?” she asked, gently.

“Yes,” I said. “The egg door was left open on the back of the house.”

I watched her face flicker through several changes before the needle got stuck on, “Oh shit, this is my fault.”

“Sorry, Mom,” she said, almost inaudibly.

“Thanks for saying that.”

I got a note on a sugar packet.

Today is the last day of first and sixth grades. She was a very quiet cricket on Wednesday.

Horace vs. Mere and Goethe

He is SO LUCKY they humor him.

Tart, melon, and guac.

Cherry Cheese Tart for Father's Day

Oh god please may I have some please

Noooo you may not.

19 Responses to “The dark covers me and I cannot run now”

  1. iasshole says:

    Man I am crying a lot lately. But sometimes things are sad.

  2. Aw, I’m sorry. It IS sad. I am growing to hate raccoons these days. We had one hanging out behind the garage here and it felt like a crackhead had moved in back there, a little furry one with clever paws.

  3. k says:

    Ah SJ I am so sorry about your chooks. They are fine and very generous creatures.

  4. Mir says:

    I’m sorry about your chickens. That IS sad.

    In other news, your doggins is criminally adorable.

  5. dorrie says:

    Oh man. So sorry about the girls.

  6. AnEmily says:

    Damn. I’m sorry to hear about the chickens. Please train Veronica to kill all raccoons, not just the evil ones.

  7. Emily says:

    I’m so sorry about your chickens :( I would cry too.

  8. Sara says:

    murder of chickens shall henceforth be known as henicide

  9. AntMac says:

    I am very sorry to hear this, what an awful thing for your family. That is a tough thing to have to face up to for a kid, I really feel for her. I felt guilty for years after I let our rabbit escape his hutch. :(

    Doggie is very cute.

  10. fridythirteen says:

    Oh man, I am so sorry about your chickens. That is awful to wake up to. I failed to latch the coop door one night last year and our Rhode Island Red was dragged off by raccoons. I can so relate to the feeling of having failed them. They’re endearing little dinosaurs, and their needs are pretty simple, and I want to do right by them. But chickens will break your damn heart. We’re down to just one (after the cops killed our Buff Orp while looking for a burglar) and I don’t know if I have it in me to watch another flock die off one by one.

  11. shauna says:

    I’m so so sorry about the chooks SJ, what a horrible thing to happen. Thinking of you all, I really feel for Strudel too.

  12. Allison says:

    I’m so sorry about the girls. I would totally cry. Strudel’s gonna carry this for a while, poor little thing.

  13. krumpy says:

    Poor chickens! Poor you. Poor Strudel. Oh jeez. That must have been a grisly scene.

  14. April says:

    Oh, that stinks. Poor chickens! Poor Strudel!

    Franny suddenly looks like a teenager.

  15. J.B. says:

    Sad story is sad.
    that tart looks incredible.
    We’ll be looking to replenish our supply of chix after ours develop enough to be sexed. Perhaps we can order some together and save on the Todds.

  16. iasshole says:

    I was thinking this the other day!

    Also, Franny does look like a teenager, even in 3D.

  17. Lasky says:

    OH NO! So sorry to hear about the chickens! How horrible.

  18. KellyQ says:

    I’m so sorry that happened. I would be traumatized and crying too. I will admit I laughed at the Chicken Dexter Morgan idea though; please don’t hate me.

  19. Snozma says:

    So sorry about the chickens! And sorry for Strudel. I remember that sick feeling when I was a kid and I screwed up. Poor pumpkin.

    But wow they are both so big and gorgeous!