Monday, June 14, 2010


What a weekend.  It's hot like August right now and has been for almost a full week- high in the mid-to-upper 90s, high humidity.   Now I like, even love our humidity.  But at this temperature, the humidity means we have heat indices in the 100s.  I've been craving some time in a cool forest, in running water.  A respite.  We had a very busy weekend - I had my day at the farmers market and we hosted our bookclub that evening.  I'd planned to spend Sunday on the Mississippi River to have a day of cool and quiet. 

It turned out that we needed the respite as Sunday began rather traumatically.  I got up early, as I usually do, and let the chickens out as the coffee was brewing.  There were only three.  There were signs of a scuffle in the hen house.  There were feathers outside everwhere.  And then, to top it off, there was crowing.  Quite a lot of crowing.  Mary, a well-mannered black star hen, served as supper for the neighborhood raccoons.  They ripped out the screening in the back of the hen house and I can only imagine what followed.   And Petunia let us know for sure that she is not a she.  We were devastated at the loss of our hen and disappointed to learn for sure that we owned a rooster.  It was hot, it was humid, and we had a loud carnage scene to deal with.  Respite, we doubly needed you, even though we knew we'd return home to the task of re-building and reinforcing our hen house.

We are fortunate to have a great state park, locally known simply as Shelby Forest less than 20 miles from our front door.  It is so densely forested that a) the temperature is 10-15 degrees cooler there than in the city and b) our cell phones don't work in the park.  There are two lakes, miles of hiking trails, and when the river is low enough (and it wasn't this time), sandbars to play "beach" on.  Central to this artisan's interests, vast pockets of iron-rich sandy black clay line the sandbars and boat access ramps.  We played in the water for a bit, dug a bit of clay, picnicked in the shade near one of the lakes and rested for a good part of the day.  It was deep green, cool, breezy.  Full of wildflowers and vast glades of ferns.

I'm still so sad about our chickens (plural because Petunia will need to find a new home- crowing roosters aren't popular with city neighbors), but I am glad that we went to the river as we'd planned.  It was a beautiful, peaceful place. 

I hope your week is a good one.


pam said...

oh, I'm sorry to hear about the raccoon and your unexpected rooster. Our two turned out to be roosters. Very sad to see them go. It certainly explained the lack of eggs though. :)

Leila said...

I'm so sorry about your chickens! I hope that this week goes better for you.

Jessica said...

How sad! That would be the hardest part of urban homesteading for me. I hope this week has improved!!!

Natasha said...

Oh dear ....
Our municipality is thinking of allowing chickens in backyards, an idea that to me is frightening yet compelling! The sad tale of marauding raccoons may be more common than you think! They are incredibly crafty to get meal, and don't stand down easily. My mother had her screen door torn open by one of those despicable critters, and found the raccoon climbing stealthily up to her budgie cage! I have heard that there is more wildlife in the city
than in the rural areas. Hope things are more fortified now.

On another note, what is in that bag you are holding in the photo?

bridgmanpottery said...

hi, natasha, it's clay from the banks of the mississippi river. We're still dealing with the coons, but they can't break through 1/4" hardware cloth. Since poor Mary's demise they've only been after the feed, but that's bad enough. Now they've started digging under the fence for the yard. Bother.