One might think this scene illustrates a tragedy. On most any other day, one would be correct, but not this day. On this day, tragedy left empty handed, leaving instead a bit of humor and a nekked chicken bottom.
More on that in a tiny while.
I purchased a book over the winter. It was titled “Gardening with Chickens” and had a catchy little subtitle like “How to Raise Happy Chickens AND a Garden the Size of Vermont!” I was intrigued, because everyone knows Vermont is the “Green” Mountain State (and the book was taped shut, disallowing any preview.)
I read it cover to cover. Planted my happy-chicken-garden, starting with organic (and expensive) potato seed, five 15′ rows, enough future potatoes to secure a french fry-supplier contract for the Golden Arches. Then six rows of bush beans, eight inches apart, 1 inch deep. I was out of garden space, but not out of vegetable seeds. I put the tiny greenhouse up and planted the rest of the seeds in there, in the little cow-poop pots that are guaranteed not to stink. It was awesome.
And the project was off to a good start. Happy chickens? Check. Awesome garden? Check.
I loved the little mounded rows for the spuds. It looked so tidy, orderly, and perfect, there was no way we wouldn’t be harvesting 6000 pounds of future french fries in a few months’ time. I left the strings stretched for the bean rows so I could check on the progress of baby beans when they started coming up. The chickens were very, very, impressed as well, I just knew it. My little feathered friends and I were going to have a great garden together.
And then they found it. The rich treasure trove of earthworms I had carefully and lovingly nurtured in the compost pile throughout the winter months, and placed throughout the garden rows, encouraging the tiny slimeys to go forth and procreate. I had whispered in their diminutive ears, welcoming one and all to my little patch of organic paradise.
In two days, the potato rows were leveled. Each day I would return from work and re-rake the mounded rows, chastise the chicken girls for their zeal and hope for the best. I checked the list of chapters in my happychickenandgarden book. No chapter titled “When Bad Things Happen to Good Gardens.” I secretly grieved for the earthworms.
But then I had a seed of an idea.
I searched my memory for the last place I had seen “FlatSam.” The camper under seat storage! I went to the barn where the camper was still waiting safely for warm early summer days, and there it was, as my memory had promised. FlatSam had served his purpose well for a year or two as a funny novelty, giving us many giggles as he stood guard over the camper kingdom last summer, and the summer previous as a photo-shoot prop in the pasture, silently scaring the eggs out of a few hens at the time and spooking the goats, too. It had been great fun, but now he really had a purpose. To the garden we went.
Our little pack of corgis have always co-existed pretty peacefully with the chickens..even on those rare occasions when one of the more foolish birds would visit the wrong yard. We’ve lost a few birds over the years, but always due to our lapse of awareness, and never due to a corgi. In short, the chickens knew to leave the corgis alone, and the corgis knew to leave the chickens alone. A FlatSam scarecrow would be just the ticket.
But it happened. Favorite hen flies into yard. Foster dog sees favorite hen, trots over to check it out, hen panics and runs, foster dog takes chase, resident dogs follow suit, feathers fly. All this while I was proudly planting FlatSam in the garden, knowing (just knowing!!) that a life-size cardboard cutout of Sammi Dean Martin da Corgi would fersure bevel those cheeky, beaky birds and save my potatoes. Then I heard the commotion and my little hen squawking for dear life. Only baby chickens are supposed to know how many feathers are in a bird’s behind.
And so, tragedy, as promised, was averted. Amelia Bones, however is certain that someone, somehow, brought an Easter Chicken into HER yard and scared the feathers off it. She has been to the crime scene, and she has proof.