Quarterbacks and Chickens

The Sick Chicken by Winslow Homer
The Sick Chicken by Winslow Homer

The holidays have come and gone with hours spent on the couch “marathoning” Friday Night Lights with my teenaged kids (we’re obsessed). My husband hasn’t quite been sucked in. He says: “I don’t have to watch a show about football; I’ve lived it.”

It’s funny how in fiction a paralyzed high school quarterback looks glamorous–even the marital problems on the show are adorable. I LOVE IT.

In real life  a girl doesn’t have a great hair day after almost being raped and high school boys aren’t 30-year-old ex models, but I just don’t care. I hate the word gritty when it comes to art and movies (at least in January I do). The Wire was a realistic show, but I couldn’t watch it. I’m not saying I like to read or watch fluff all the time, but I do like a sheen of unrealistic beauty cast over characters. Isn’t real life ugly enough?

Yesterday I finally went food shopping after  weeks of eating cookies. I bought tons of lettuce. In the fictionalized version of my life I  would  have some lettuce growing in a raised bed. In the fiction world I wouldn’t have come home from Walmart (which is depressing in itself) to find an eerie quiet cast over our farm. Heading down to the barn I wouldn’t have noticed Gluck-Gluck (my favorite chicken) wandering around by herself.

Chicken guarding courtesy of Pinterest
Chicken guarding courtesy of Pinterest

In real life I picked her up and brought her to the coop. Only two chickens inside. Off in the distance I spotted the orange body of another chicken and then another and another. I found a scared and badly injured hen face-first in a rotting pile of hay trying to hide as bitter cold wind lashed her feathers. I carried her home, made her comfortable in an old coat and tucked her in a barrel. Thirteen chickens were carried off or left dead.

They say that once  chickens panic it drives  hungry foxes into a killing frenzy. In the snow there were signs of flapping wings in struggle, chicken prints and the prints of a fox following right along side.

Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer

This sort of thing happens often enough in life and it’s hard to find any beauty or shine in it all. People get crippled. Foxes go on feeding frenzies. Yet . . . in fiction (the kind I like) there’s hope. The wheelchair-bound athlete becomes a coach and sports agent. Gluck-Gluck the chicken manages an escape against all odds and maybe, just maybe the chicken sleeping next to the fire dies in peace instead of terror.

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Raising Milk and Honey and commented:

    News of a chicken slaughter on our farm 😦

    Like

  2. Well you have lifted my spirits yet again. What is the number to the suicide hot line? No wonder I have become a fantasy novel reader.

    Like

    1. I have the hotline on speed-dial. 🙂 I can always depend on you to make me laugh at my seriousness. I looked out the window a few moments ago and saw the FOX!!! Luckily I saw our dog too–chasing him away! So the day’s gotten a bit happier.

      Like

      1. Yeah those cavies make great guard dogs (said the 13 dead chickens).

        Like

      2. The Cavs are a joke–they hang by the woodstove. We have a BIG white Maremma guard dog–but she was in the house yesterday–by the woodstove.

        Like

      3. Those Cavs are real smart. Not much use to have a guard dog guarding the wood stove. Well I hope you like eating chicken.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike says:

    Sorry about your chickens. Nature can be cruel. I once awoke to find two goats that were killed by a pack of dogs. And yes, real life, and wal-mart are hard enough.

    Like

    1. I don’t mind terrible sadness–as long as there’s a hopeful ending. 🙂

      Like

  4. And here I was thinking that *I* was the only person who lived on nothing but cookies during the month of December……………..

    Like

    1. They were really good cookies! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gritty seems like a great descriptive word until you start writing and I start reading. Huh? Who’d have thought… Your husband doesn’t minc words. Chickens can be tough. My dad loves his. Too cute.

    Like

    1. I never thought I’d fall in love with chickens but they’re a lot more affectionate than people know.

      Like

      1. Haha. Indeed. They make me laugh. I enjoy watching them peck around.

        Like

  6. equinoxio21 says:

    And the Fox went on another planet and met a little boy (prince?) and fell in love…
    🙂
    Bonne Année and a Happy new year.
    Brian

    Like

    1. Now that’s nice and happy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. equinoxio21 says:

        As 2014 has come to an end one should remember it as the 70th anniversary of Saint-Exupéry’s death, shot down in his plane by an unaware German pilot, almost at the end of WWII
        Long live the Little Prince.
        (And Charlie Hebdo!)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Just read this–oh no!!! How terrible! And you have to clean it up–which makes it even worse. So many lost! I am so sorry you had to deal with this. And, of course, I know you loved them. I’m glad you still have Gluck-Gluck and the others. BTW, our ducks are still nervous about being outside ever since the hawk attack. They may be birds but they are smarter than many people realize and they have looooong memories, as it turns out. And, you do, too. 😦 This might be time for more cookies–although a switch to healthier would probably make you feel better, truth be told. Hang in there. 🙂

    Like

    1. I like salads 🙂 I didn’t mention in the post that Sophie the duck was also injured. Our pond wasn’t frozen yet so when I saw her hiding under some long grass hanging over the water I just assumed she had been scared by the commotion (the pond is fenced in our garden). In the evening I saw that they were out of the pond waiting for me to bring them down to the chicken coop and that’s when I discovered that Sophie hurt her leg!
      Ferd did not want to be separated from her and I figured she’d actually be more comfortable in the chicken coop than if I brought her to the house.
      So for the last two days Ferd has been guarding her and snuggling with her as she mends. She’s still eating and yesterday she was moving around a bit better. Of course it has to turn super cold. BLAH!
      Our vet said chickens and ducks either mend themselves or they don’t. We had a chicken who broke her leg and completely healed in a few weeks. She limped for a while and then was fine. Until the fox got her!

      Thanks for the kind words.
      A

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure! I will be thinking/praying for the quick healing of your birds. And stay warm up there!!!

        Like

      2. How are they doing this morning? We got a lot more snow here than expected.

        Like

      3. Ferd is taking good care of his duck wife. She”s a little more mobile today, but I’ve been keeping a distance so she doesn’t panic and feel the need to get away from me. She’s eating and drinking and laying eggs…I’m praying!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s all perspective isn’t it? See like a bird rather than a human and the woods and fields are places of endless stabbing, impaling, squashing and mangling. Maybe we are in a galactic chicken coop and one day the fox will get in. Until then I will continue to love the Homer picture.

    Like

    1. I pretty much love everything by Homer. Today my cat discovered a bunch of bluebirds nesting in a birdhouse–the killing never ends.

      Like

  9. Kate Loveton says:

    I found ‘The Wire’ difficult to watch as well. That surprised me since I watched ‘The Sopranos.’ Perhaps a little too realistic for me. What can I say? I still like watching the early episodes of ‘The Waltons.’ I like a little heart – the world is often too much with us.

    Like

    1. The Waltons’ theme song still chokes me up! I enjoyed the first few seasons of The Sopranos. Even though it was violent there was a lot of humor and it didn’t feel quite real. The Wire was different.

      Like

  10. Thanks for dropping by my blog and giving a read. I enjoyed your writing here but felt saddened by the news of your chicken attack. We lived on a farm for 10 years…some of the very best memories of my life happened there. I have this crazy love of cows and on the day we returned home to find one of ours drowned in the mud of our then vacant pigpen, I was devastated. The farm brought me to a place of a better understanding of life and death, all quite natural events there. BUT I didn’t have to like it and I didn’t! I miss the farm. Blessings to you all as you heal from this attack.

    Like

    1. PS…I love your sense of humor! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. A cow in a pig pen? How sad. I love cows, too, but wanted to keep smaller animals. My dream is to save a little boy calf and grow him into a ox to ride, but my husband isn’t convinced. 🙂

      Like

      1. Hah! I never got to the point that I tamed any of our cows; we were ill-equipped as we did everything by hand and on foot. You’re stirring that pot; I may have to write about this time in my life! Love it. God bless your day…

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s