This is actually two tales. But since they both happened in the one day I am plopping them together in one post.
The first ones started with the ‘lawn guys.’
The last time the ‘lawn guys’ were here, one of my thriving tomato plants suddenly and mysteriously dropped dead. Hmm. Then they were back yesterday mowing and weed-whacking and all seemed well. But shortly after they left, and I was seeing my visiting mother to her car, my next door neighbor came over.
“Hey, did you get your chicken back?” he asked. I just looked at him puzzled.
“Didn’t they tell you? I saw your brownish-yellow chicken running back and forth in the front yard and I told them they better tell you about it.” Oh sheesh! I thanked him, said no, they didn’t tell me and mom and I went back to count combs n waddles. Sure enough, one was missing. Now she cold have been laying low somewhere, hiding in a dirt bath hole, or laying an egg in some hideaway place. But after what Mr. Chavez said, I thought it unlikely. It was Lefty.
I saw mom off again and promised I would let her know when, and if, she turned up. I walked down the block looking for small skittish movements, but no luck. The Mister and I drove up and down looking for her on the way to run errands. No Lefty.
“Celina’s going to be pretty upset if she doesn’t turn up,” he says.
“So will Phil” I said. Those two raised Lefty and Lana from chickhood. (Actually Lefty is my nickname for her ever since we realized her tail was never going to straighten out. It bends out 90 degrees to the left of her body. Her real name was Gretel. But really, Lefty fits. I picture her with a baseball glove, tossing a ball and chewing gum.)
When we got home, I put on my walking shoes. Chickens aren’t wanderers like dogs. They won’t even go as far as a cat would, at least I don’t think so. They are homebodies. Lets start close to home. I looked through our surrounding bushes and over the side fence.Then I heard it. I slight rustle in the bushes right next to me. Right in the front yard where she was being chased earlier.
“Chick-chick-chick” I cooed. And there she was, she ran right out of the bush with relief written all over her beaky face. But that doesn’t mean she let me pick her up. She is a brown Leghorn and they are freakishly skittish at the best of times, let alone after being chased by lawn mowers in an unfamiliar front yard. I got my back up from number 2 son and a broom. We chased her down one way, then she would suddenly do a 180 and be running through the herb garden. Together, and after a few switchbacks, we corralled her into the back yard where she ran to Lana and started in on her “sky is falling” stories, I am sure. I am so relieved. It would be very upsetting to all of us to lose a pet, let alone such a beautiful and unique one. And might I mention, one of our best layers, when she isn’t hiding the eggs. (Like she used to in the dog house. This pleased Jack the dog to no end. Home delivery snackems.)
Not an hour later, after being back in the house, we hear a loud, weird mewing. We are owned by two cats. One is a large black and white door stopper that likes to lurk in dark hallways, blending in and tripping people going to the bathrooms. The other is a “cat-about-town” orange tabby.
“Mom, Hobbes caught a bird again!” Paul says.
I gasped “What?” It hasn’t been an hour since we resecured Lefty into the hen confines and here was another pet issue. I watched as Hobbes ran under the table with a sparrow in his mouth. This is the second time this spring that this has happened so Paul and I didn’t panic as much as the first time. (“You have to pick it up! No, you pick it up!)
“Lets get him outside” I said and Paul opened the back screen. Hobbes slunk out with his catch and this time I grabbed a camera.
He proudly brought it to my feet, as a gift from the mighty hunter. Bird warrior extraordinaire! Ferocious Feline-terror of the seven streets!
He laid it at my feet. The bird, in a flash, flew off. It was such a Sylvester/Tweety moment. It would appear that possums aren’t the only ones that play…well, possum. Big cat sigh. Off to find another. Honestly, I don’t know if he would want to eat it. It’s the fun of the catch that he is interested in. But enough is enough already guys and gals. Lets call it a day, huh?