In addition to all the usual tasks of the season, I have had a companion the last week. A young friend of ours from church was out of school on spring break and we invited her to come stay with us. She was a great help, and it certainly shook up the normal routine. Jeff was at a professional conference most of the week, so she and I dove into some pretty intense projects. Stripping wallpaper, painting, hanging blinds, assembling IKEA items, gardening, etc. I'm here to tell you twelve years old is a perfect age to learn how to handle a wallpaper steamer and power tools! We also made some time for fun at the botanical garden, dinner out, movies, horseback riding, tennis, and a few other age appropriate entertainments.
Stripping a room full of wallpaper
Hurray for power tools!
Rainbow of tulips at the Botanical Garden
In addition to all the good times, she was here to share one of our tragedies (I have to admit, my life is pretty good if the following can be called a tragedy, but it was sad none-the-less). Attila the Hen died. I'm thankful I found Attila's little body in the coop in the middle of the day or we might never have known what happened to her (since the girls free-range all around the farm during the day).
She was just dead, no signs or symptoms. I called my vet and was eventually referred to a regional poultry diagnostic lab. We drove her down for a necropsy (chicken autopsy), since we were concerned cause of death might affect Atomic Cluck or any future chicks we introduce. We only have the preliminary report so far, but she had liver damage and died of a hemorrhage, so we're waiting to find out why. The lab deals primarily with commercial birds, so I'm sure the microbiologist was a little taken aback by my teary goodbye to a chicken, but she was very gentle and understanding (she even got a chuckle out of Attila's name).
Attila was my favorite, but Jeff reminded me that perhaps chickens are a bit too fragile and short-lived to be good pets. I can't help but be attached, so I'll just have to steel myself for the losses when they come. I'm busy researching fun and interesting breeds like Silkies and Frizzles. And maybe we'll add a few ducks and geese, too, since the ponds look so full and inviting with all the spring rains! Lots to keep us busy in the next few weeks and months.