Unbeknownst to me, the perceived placidity of the first winter months was merely a delay in the formation of the adjoining link in this chain reaction that had been set off from the moment we had made up our minds to open our hearts and home to these fowl friends. I had allowed myself to be lulled by the thought of eight quiet weeks before the next string of guests would make their way into our home, only to have been brutally awakened one February afternoon by signs of another missing chicken.
Once again, I found nothing but a trail of feathers. The predator had attacked in broad daylight, leading me to believe it must have been a hearty neighborhood cat playing chase with our chickens. Upset as we all were, we chalked it up to the fate of any prey in a predatory territory. Only a couple of weeks later, the chain of events seemed to be building itself into a full set of shackles. Instead of a peaceful evening of cooking and getting ready for the symphony, I was greeted with a “two down” at the door.
There was no urgency in my steps as my feet dragged down the customary path in disbelief, defeated. Again the same signs, again no chickens and again I seemed delusional for discerning the muddled calls of Teri and Clio in the distance.
“No more. No more chickens”, I let my husband know in no uncertain terms. I could not possibly put up with tending to living things only to see them disappear without notice and in spite of so much effort in arranging for their safety. This time, it was really over. My oldest had gone down to check for eggs and close shop, but somehow got sidetracked and not only forgot to lock down, but had propped up the back door of the coop so as to have it appear an open invitation to all passersby. That degree of carelessness was beyond anything I could handle in that particular moment. My husband’s repeated reminders that these were “just birds” left me exasperated.
In what may not be my proudest parenting moment, I grabbed an old IKEA frame that happened to be standing next to the washer, removed the paper liner and wrote in colored whiteboard markers “CONGRATS! TODAY YOU KILLED TERI AND CLIO”, fitted it back into the frame and propped it up on the easel, which I placed strategically in the center of the hallway. This would ensure that the children would be greeted by this sign as they walked in from their evening activities.
Interestingly enough, I seem to have hidden this signage behind the easel for nearly a year now, which allows for a staging of the above described and the picture below.