Amber is now all alone in the chicken coop built for three. Daniel says he thinks she's lonely, but it's too risky to introduce another chicken just in case Amber is carrying the disease, whatever it is. I haven't seen her recently, but Daniel says she isn't in the best of shape either. In honor of our two dearly departed friends, I thought it would be nice to show the Fuzzy-Bottom Gals in their prime and tell a few stories about my family's visits with the Gals.
This post is dedicated to the Fuzzy-Bottom Gals.
|Daniel water-proofs the Gals' home, Sept. 12, 2010.|
|Grandma Lutz's columbine thrives in Daniel's wheelbarrow-planter, Sept. 12, 2010.|
It was especially nice to take my father back to Daniel's house a few days later to see my grandmother's columbine growing in Daniel's wheelbarrow. My father agreed that this was exactly the kind of thing his mother would have done. Practical, quirky, and pretty in it's own odd way. Daniel knew my parents were visiting and had called to see if he could request a housecall from my father, the jackleg veterinarian, to clip The Gals wings. My father is a pediatrician by training, but he spent the first twenty years of his life on the family farm, so when Daniel heard he was visiting from Virginia, he knew that my father could help him with a problem that had plagued him for some time.
|Daniel and Dad clip The Gal's wings, Sept. 19, 2010.|
The Gals were growing up and Daniel knew it was a matter of time before they would literally fly the coop. Daniel's neighborhood is full of wildlife, including hawks, so I was worried for The Gals, and somewhat relieved that Daniel was ready to clip their wings. Not to mention the fact that I always enjoy watching my father perform any kind of farm task, especially one he hasn't tried in 20 or 30 years. It's remarkable how muscle memory for much-repeated manual labor survives, even when the skills remain unused for decades. I got the feeling that my father enjoyed flexing this farm-boy muscles and that he was pleased at how easily it all came back to him.
I had the same feeling ten years ago when I watched my father butcher a hog for the first time in twenty-five years. He was surrounded by a number of people who did it every year in my hometown, but they were all very old or very young and when the time came to take out the hog's intestines, which is the trickiest part of butchering a hog, the job fell to my father. At the time I remember thinking that he seemed a little nervous about it. But when it was over he told me he was surprised at how it all came back to him. Clipping the chickens' wings must have felt much the same to him. He thought nothing of it. Such a simple task, hardly worth mentioning. Except this "simple" task was something that neither Daniel or I had ever seen or had any idea how to perform. When Daniel asked my father to do it, he'd said, "There's not much to clipping a chicken's wings. You just whack off the tips. I can't make it pretty, but I can get it done." And it was true. The wings of all three chickens were clipped within a few minutes and the chickens hardly seemed to notice it. Nothing to it. If you know what you're doing.
|Ginger's wings are clipped, Sept. 19, 2010.|