There was a chicken attack. Last night, just before dusk.
I am standing in the kitchen with a glass of wine and tub of hummus. Andrew is in class. Suddenly, panicked squawks. A noise surely of chicken, but not one I recognize. I’m busting through the back door, the white dog… those frantic wings… I’m screaming in my angriest, most deep and serious scream, “YOU BETTER GET YOUR DOG.”
The owner is chasing it, the chicken in it’s mouth. In circles. I’m so angry and I’m starting to cry. Andrew is not here. Troy, the neighbor two doors down, has the other dogs, he’s petting them and for one second I wish he would stop because I’m afraid he’s sympathizing with the dog owner. Jake comes around the right side of the house, from across the street.
“Are you okay?” I’m embarrassed that I’m crying, but I’m so angry. I’m glad he came over. He tells me to calm down and I try. I feel helpless and truly don’t know what to do. “Isn’t there a leash law in this state?” “No,” says Jake, “Not in this county.” Damn, I really thought I had it figured out.
They’re running in circles near the treeline, I can barely see them. Then the owner is carrying his dog, almost as if the dog is the hurt one. He yells at me from next door that he’ll be back. Jake says he’ll go after the chicken. The neighbor, Troy, is moving toward the treeline also.
The dog owner introduces himself as Jeff. I’ve calmed down, I know he didn’t want his dog to attack my sweet hen. He’s very sorry, I’m trying to be nice. The three men attempt a search. I wait on the porch, but they can’t find her, only a trail of feathers. I am sad, but not as sad as I thought I’d be. I’ve been waiting for this, the first death, knowing it would come and probably sooner than later. I think I’d rather the carcass keep in the woods, what will I do with it anyway? Better to let it fill the empty, wild bellies.
Jake offers me a beer and I ask if his wife is home. They eat taco salads, and the three of us resolve to search again after dinner. Jake says he knew he needed to come when he heard me, because there isn’t much screaming from our side of the street.
We cross the road, I close up the pin where the other chickens are already in the coop for bed. It is almost dark, I see Troy’s red shirt near the treeline. Was he out here all this time? I think he’s carrying something. “You have a shovel, right?” asks Jake.
He is definitely carrying something, tucked under his arm and not hanging by the feet.
“Is she wounded?” Troy prods her a bit, no wounds showing. No blood I can see. Jeff is back with a woman who is smoking. We’re all in the driveway, and he’s still so sorry. I’m happy it’s alive, but Jeff is pretty sure the dog got her in the backside. Troy sets her down at the gate of the pin. She stands still, maybe in shock, and I see an unnatural empty space on the left underside of her tail. A few normal-seeming steps, and after a minute, the waddle to the coop.
CRUSTLESS SQUASH QUICHE
Serves 6 heartily.
Grease a 9” pie dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sauté squash, onion and parsley in coconut oil until the squash begins to soften.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and squash mixture, and stir until fully combined.
Transfer mixture to the pie dish and bake 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
She is slow this morning, but eating with the other hens. This evening our farmer friend will come to check her out.
Of course I am thankful she’s living, but mostly I am thankful for the sweet kindness and easy generosity of these great neighbors.