10 Years Sheared

Off of my life, that is.

This morning it was business as usual at The Herbal Hare Homestead. I trudged outside to the chicken coop, filled a small pool with water for the ducks and scattered the contents of the chicken bucket on the ground. I then opened up the door to henhouse and, while they dined on breakfast, I cleaned their perch and the floor of their house.

Suddenly, Sargent Feathers let out some ungodly screeching. I ran out of the henhouse as my flock of chickens and ducks came racing back to the coop. I looked up to see a large hawk flying away, evidently frightened by the sudden appearance of a human holding a long, shiny, dark object (an old hoe that I use to scrape droppings off the perch). I did a head count: 16 chickens, 3 ducks. And there were 2 chickens bunking in with the goats…

No, only 1…I carried Flame into the henhouse when I got out of work last night. She was now with the other hens, huddled at the back of the henhouse.

Who’s missing?

After a more thorough head count, I realized Taffy, my little Silkie, was missing. I confess to immediately resorting to copious blubbering. All I kept thinking was, “No, Lord, please, not my Taffy!”

I try not to have favorites but, sometimes there’s just that one who is such a little character. That would be Taffy. And yet, I wouldn’t trade one of the others in her place. I love them, too.

Devastation doesn’t begin to cut it…Especially after a search of the yard revealed a pile of her silky feathers near the fence the hawk just flew over. It seemed the worst had happened, with me only a short distance away. I tried not to imagine her little body being ripped apart piece by piece, prayed she died quickly so she would not feel the pain of it. And then shook my fist after the long gone hawk, threatening to shoot it if he/she returned. As I don’t own either firearms, crossbow or bow and arrow, I’m not sure how I might’ve carried out this threat…Even if my overly sensitive heart could readily have raised such a weapon.

Yes, I know predation is part of raising livestock, especially chickens, who are pretty high up there on the food chain. But I wasn’t prepared to be rational about this. Again, devastation doesn’t begin to cover it. I gathered up the feathers…I’m not sure why.

Mom was up when I went inside the house. Did I check under the deck? Yes, I had. How about under that corner of the barn where she hid before? I doubted there had been time for her to duck under there. I showed her the pile of feathers. I was already in mourning.

“Who is that saint you call upon when something is lost?” Mom asked.

St. Anthony. But I had already gone straight to the top, to God. And, yup, over a chicken.

I didn’t hold out much hope as I traipsed out to the barn. On the way there, though a voice inside told me I had already looked under the deck, I got down on my hands and knees and looked underneath again.

Lo and behold, a fuzzy gray and black head poked up from behind one of the footings. How she managed to crawl in there, I have no idea but I wept copiously again, with relief and joy this time, praising Him greatly for sparing her. Yes, He does answer prayers with a “Yes” sometimes.

May God bless you & keep you!

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