Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Circle of Life

        "Oh no! Oh no!" I heard from Julius's mouth as we were pulling up to our house after church on Sunday. I looked up expecting to see our house on fire. Three weeks prior pulling down our street after church we saw our neighbors house on fire. That day I immediately called 911 and Julius ran out back and pulled a boy out of the burning building. By that I mean he went to the back of the house, beat on the door and made him get out. So I guess you could say there was no real physical contact but it makes for a better story. The lad's family was gone and he had no idea the front of his house was burning. When I think back to that day I am embarrassed thinking about the message I must have left on his dads voicemail with adrenaline pumping through me but trying not to scare him while telling him his house was on fire but that we had his son and help was on the way. After that day I decided to go get some type of training/certification for a help and rescue first responder type job. My dream was shot down by my better half as soon as it spewed out of my mouth. Semi-long story made short but you get the gist of it. This day though we drove up to see a massive hawk eating one of our beloved chickens. It was a gory scene. My 6 year old son and I started crying immediately.
      A few years ago we had chickens as well. All 10 at different times were slaughtered by raccoons. The first slaughtering massacre was the most frightening to me. Julius was out of town and I went down in the morning to feed them. It looked like the work of a psychopath. It was during my dark days of PPD and I was unstable and everything was a bigger deal than it really was, but I thought it was done by a human stalker who was trying to send me a message and would soon kill me. Maybe I had consumed too many Dexter and Criminal Minds episodes. Needless to say it wasn't, it was raccoons. We set up a raccoon trap. The only thing we ever caught was our neighbors cat. May he rest in peace. I'm kidding, it didn't kill him, just scared the crap out of him. And fur.

      I didn't really care about our poultry flock back then. Now though, I love our stupid birds. And actually they are quite smart. I think I like them because we have 3 kids who love them and they really feel like part of our family, like a beloved pet. They are actually excited to see me when I step outside. They run up to me like a loyal comrade, they all have different personalities , they perch on the window sill to check up on us inside, none of my food ever goes wasted because they'll eat it,  my boys will hang out with them for hours, they help teach my kids where their food comes from, the eggs yolks are orange from eating worms and bugs and things nature intended for them,  they'll follow the car as I drive away to wish me farewell and the list could go on. My oldest son one day told me not to tell his little sister because it would hurt her feelings but that he thought the chickens were cuter than her.

A doting Father to say the least.

So things are different this time you could say. Which brings me back to the scene of the murder. The four of us stayed in the car as Julius went to investigate. Slowly we all exited the car. The next question we all wanted answered was "Who was it?". When we found out it was Julius' chicken Eagle Bones Falcon Hawk, Jet stopped crying a little relieved it was his not his "little girl" as he calls her, Lucy. Our next mission was to find the others. We went and found 3 up in their coop scared out of their minds. What we didn't find was Lucy. Did she run away? Did she get carried off by a large predator? We had questions and no answers.
Where we lock our children when they misbehave. 
Joking, that would not be punishment for them.

We went in shifts searching the grounds for our lost chicken. For a while Jet stared out the window at the remains of our dear friend trying to hold back his tears but not always being successful. He came and sat next to me and cried and told me through tears and quivering lips that he wants that Hawk, who was now circling above waiting for clearance to come back down, to land so he could take a sword and stab in through the belly. "Trust me buddy, Daddy would shoot it with a cross bow if it were not illegal." Which really means if this scene didn't have to take place in the front yard in front of a potential passerby, this might happen. As our family was all gathered together in silence, I took the opportunity to pray aloud asking God to bring Lucy back to us if she was still alive. If you ask my husband he'll tell you that's one of the only things I am good at, stopping to ask God for guidance and direction on finding something, no matter how insignificant it may seem. This though, this was my son's little girl and we needed to find her.

The day we brought Lucy home

When all hope was almost lost and preparations were being made for the funeral ceremony and burial I wanted to take a walk outside to gather my thoughts for the eulogy. I felt a tug on my heart to leave our yard and go walking into a wooded area beyond the fence of my yard. I thought this was pointless as we had already looked everywhere. I left and looked where I thought I was being led to look. I found nothing, until that is I stepped back into my yard and found Lucy right at my feet. I thought at first I was hallucinating. For once, I wasn't. Lucy was reunited with her sisters and her "dad" and a bit of the days sorrow was replaced with joy.

 So I can't help but bring up some Scripture here. Luke 15:4-6 says "Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders rejoicing. Returning home, he calls his friends and neighbors, telling them, 'Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost'. I think maybe that's why I wrote this post. Not only because I had too much caffeine this morning and I had to put my excess energy to use, but also because I can't help but rejoice in our prodigal son/lost sheep  green egg laying Ameraucana chicken returning. It's a reminder to me of the celebration in heaven over one sinner who repents, keep reading in Luke 15.

We gathered round for the procession and laid that bird in the ground thanking her for the nourishment from her eggs, entertainment, company and sacrifice, that she died so that the other hens could have an escape route and live. She was named after a character on a horribly obnoxious children's show but how fitting that her name included "hawk", for one day that is what would take her out. I sang "Danny Boy" but changed the lyrics a bit to fit the scenario as the boys filled the hole she was laid in with dirt. It was a sweet time for our family and a chance to share with our kids that even though we may have sorrow, God in the end will always give us joy and hope. Lucy's return was the hope those kiddos needed that day and the wink I could feel from above. Also to let them know that death is real and that if they keep running around the house with marbles in their mouth they also may experience it soon.


Would this be a good time to promote our free range organic eggs for sale? Maybe not? You can at least sing the 'Circle of Life' lyrics as you are on your way, from your favorite 1994 animated movie as you scroll for a few last pics.
Eagle bones falcon hawk as a wee one

Welcoming the girls to their new home


How the hen Benny is holding in the 2 above pics from hatch until now never got brain damage is beyond me. She has become the alpha and the most friendliest. She has chosen not to be a product of her circumstances

Chicken watching would help me could cook in peace

Hottie McHottie doing his thing

The night the hens moved into their permanent residence

The day their outside home addition was finished and they could finally live outdoors. 

The last documentation of our sacrificial hen, front row left. I've had to stop the boys many a time from lassoing them while free ranging

Jet holding Madea next to our metal rooster MacGyver

And now the aftermath of the event. Until the sting is over we are keeping them from roaming free for awhile. They are dying to roam the open land

Disclaimer: I haven't written in almost 2 years but for someone who doesn't like animals my last 2 posts have been about my pets. Forgive me. Now go in peace and may the force be with you now and always.