It's December 23rd and our friend Paul Hatt has dropped in on business but brought up another subject entirely before he left.
"You guys don't want another chicken, do you?"
"Heck, yeah!" I say without hesitation.
Since Chicker died, I've been worried about Ophelia (as much as a human can worry over a chicken, I guess). They are social animals and it is suggested that if you keep chickens, you have at least two. It's been six months since Ophelia has been alone so I jumped at the chance.
"OK, I'll be right back," he says and walks out to his truck.
"You brought it with you??"
He answers my question with a box that is promptly deposited on the front porch.
"I've been working on a house this past week and noticed this chicken hanging out up in the rafters. She never comes down to eat or drink and it doesn't appear that she belongs to anyone so I thought you guys might be interested in taking her in."
The boys will not believe this! I call out to them that I have a surprise and they come running. (BTW, thanks for padding their Christmas gifts, Paul).
All of us headed out to the henhouse to see how Ophelia would respond to her new roommate. This is risky since, when introducing a new chicken to an existing group, the pecking order can often leave it on the outs, pecked and plucked - sometimes dead. Chicker and Ophelia got along famously but they were raised together from chickhood so that was a given. We watched fo a while - so far so good. Did I detect a sudden perkiness in her demeanor?
The next night Eve turned up missing. It was Christmas Eve, for heaven sake, but the boys (all three) disappeared into the darkness on a recovery mission. I thought the odds of finding her were poor but to my amazement she was located in our neighbors yard roosting in the rafters of his garage. I hold her as Brooks clips the ends of her wings (it doesn't hurt the animal) to make sure it doesn't happen again. And yes, the day of the year played into the name she was given by one of the boys.
"Who named Eve?" I just yelled out to Brooks who's in the kitchen as I write.
"Adam named Eve," comes the obvious answer.
"I'm talking about the chicken."
"Oh, I think it was Brahm or Oliver."
OK, so there you go. And I can't believe I just finished a blog entry about pet barnyard fowl.