Miss Houdinis Close Call

| 12/31/2013 3:22:00 PM

Pam TinninI'm back after a long absence from blogging – extra responsibilities here at Laurelwood and in my other work. Then Christmas week arrived and most things were put on hold except absolutely necessary chores – feeding and watering stock and chickens, water problems, and bringing in wood. We had company most of the week, an old friend from San Diego for five days plus nine around the table for Christmas dinner. Now we feel like we're more behind than usual, but as an old farmer from Kentucky told me, "What don't get done today, will be waitin' there tomorrow."

Christmas cards

So yesterday we were back at it. Before leaving for errands in town, I cleaned the chicken coop and pruned the antique rose bush, the one supposedly a long ago gift from Luther Burbank himself. While I worked, I thought of how a few days before Christmas, one of our young hens managed to elude an early death. I've named her Miss Houdini because she, too, is an escape artist. Usually that's not a problem because when you find her wandering, she comes right to your feet and squats to be picked up.

On Monday before Christmas, I was inside making cookies when my visiting son asked what the chickens were fussing about. I blithely said, "Oh, one probably just laid an egg." Jubal wandered over to the kitchen sink for a drink and suddenly shouted, dropped the glass, and ran outside yelling, "Red tail hawk." I stumbled after him, also yelling. Miss Houdini was huddled under a tree in the midst of a tangle of limbs, holding tight to a branch, a large array of feathers scattered on the ground all around her.

The hawk was making another pass, trying to snatch the hen when Jubal threw a large wood chunk. The bird made a wide, sweeping circle about a foot above the yard, rose over the redwood trees and disappeared to the north. Except for looking a bit bedraggled with somewhat skimpy feathers, Miss Houdini seemed no worse for wear. Once back with her coop mates, she briskly fluffed up her remaining feathers and seemed to strut a bit with the excitement of her adventure.

Miss Houdini

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