Never thought a chicken could be so like a kid or a cat or a puppy. But one little Rhodie was – My Little, the runt of the Rhode Island Reds, laying tiny to normal eggs (one left in the kitchen, blown out) but she was always pecked by the bigger girls and started calling to me to take her to the chicken feed and then to carry her around, sometimes for a half-hour or more. I’d put her down; she’d call to be picked up again. She became friends with other people, too. Our daughter-in-law, Vero, took My Little up to the new house and she nestled into Vero’s arms, no prob.

Guess I’ll check into Alice Walker’s The Chicken Chronicles, wherein she relates her life with her feathered friends, conversations (two sided?) about womanism and literature in their presence. I find this works well, too! Walker named her chickens for Gertrude Stein, among others, and feels there is some magic in melting into a natural state with other creatures.

Been reading Phillip K. Dick Sci-Fi short stories out among the chickens. Each story scarier than the next; wait for the psychotic break (in each story), says Wayne! Also sitting and thinking about who our next Petaluma Grange speakers could be (I’m what’s called the Lecturer; person who schedules speakers.)

Back to My Little – could she return after death as a puppy, kitten or little girl? The idea doesn’t shock me; I’m an agnostic/sort of Buddhist and My Little certainly became a friend when she decided to roost on a kitchen chair or come in to ask for treats. She expected petting and conversation and got it and gave it. What else do we want from friends? That they clean up after themselves? Well, she was working on that – keeping her nest atop the washing machine clean just before her second encounter with the hungry bobcat which ended her. Electric fence coming soon…

The bobcat marauder first attacked her months earlier, though she recovered with lots of care, later to be killed trying to get back into the barn she had left for months as other chickens would now attack her.

Tried to trap the marauding bobcat a couple of times and it took the bait and ran. Catch and release is illegal anyhow, so a few weeks I sat with the flock while they ran around eating grass seeds and bugs and discovering worms and moths. Boy, do they love to catch an insect as it flies! Love their freedom – but it includes predators. We are never alone on this land.

Never thought chickens could respond to so many commands but they do to these: back to the barn; through the gate; time for roosting; stop asking for treats! Go find stuff for yourselves! More than forty pesky friends a lot like spoiled kids. Twenty-three babies testing their wings outside their first box home.

Never alone in a good way: counted 22 kinds of resident and visiting birds, 5 kinds of butterflies. Hoping the new cliff swallows decide to nest, also the barn owl if we can get the nest back up soon. Cooper’s Hawks get chased by the crows and the crows and mockingbirds have at it. Want to bring in the Pipevine Swallowtail available from Hallburton Butterfly Gardens up the road.

Seem to have just one regular crow, a sociable one and we’re starting to talk – but glad to say I got ahead of the crow convention that took our the sour cherries the first year. Sour cherry tart for July4th – Delish!