Friday, January 6, 2012

Tribute to a Chicken

Dear Liza passed away in the night. I am relieved that her suffering is over, and I will miss our daily conversations. Liza always got in the last word. Always.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Little Liza Update

Who knew that chickens can actually puke? I would expect a chicken to maybe cough something up occasionally, but really vomit? Like a person? I now know that they can and do, because I was just thrown up on by a chicken when I was spraying her poopy chicken butt and scrubbing her botto with Dawn dish seen on TV- you know sea life covered with oil slick. Well the long and short of it is that although my vet said that this chicken would probably not make it through last night, she did, so I really pumped up the nutrient dense cat food the vet gave me, and probably gave her too much water as well. In retrospect, I think it might not have been a good idea to plop her into the sink right after she ate. I actually acted this out for Jim because what happened was she set herself up to upchuck just like a person does, (except with no hands to hold her belly,)  gagged a couple of times with her little chicken tongue out, and then absolutely ejected her dinner across my sweatshirt and on to the kitchen counter. (This little charade made Jim shake like Jello - a good one on the Jim laugh-o-meter.) As I stood there with one hand frozen on her dreadful fanny and the other arm outstretched to examine the considerable amount of vomit, the smell hit. And that is what amazed me the most. I'm a science lover, and even as I stood there with chicken feces in my right hand and puke on my left, I marveled that this chicken had just produced the same awful vomit smell that humans make. How can this be? She is a bird. Who would expect this at all? The smell brought back memories of cleaning up after my own sick children when they were little, but mostly you know where this smell takes me? To grade school with the weary janitor coming down the hall with his sullied grey string mop and disinfectant to clean up the kid puke that some other kid just slipped in as they innocently walked down the waxed brown tile. Then of course that kid heaved too.

O.K. so Liza is up, down, all around and I don't know if she will live, but I've given it my best shot. And right now she is lying on a clean white towel, she's Dawn fresh, while I have puky laundry, and my entire downstairs smells like the fourth grader who couldn't handle the corned beef hash. Gosh I hope no one drops in this evening. I don't think even Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator can handle chicken. Where's the janitor when you need him?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why Do I?

Why do I do these things? Over two weeks ago I heard a chicken cacophony from the back yard, and it wasn't the usual scuffle over a bug, or heady announcement, "I'M GOING TO LAY AN EGG!" or "I AM LAYING AN EGG!" or "I JUST LAYED AN EGG!" No it was frightful noise, and I could see hens flying in every direction, and the rooster, Toulouse, trying to corral the girls. My adrenaline kicked in and I ran outside, couldn't see what the matter was, but then I heard. One does not usually hear a red-tail hawk lift off, but I heard arduous flapping - and I knew - he had a hen. I didn't know at the time, but he was behind a tall fence working at killing our oldest and dearest Light Brahma hen Liza Jane. This is crazy because she is huge and heavy. Anyway when I heard this obvious sound of air resistance to his wings I yelled as loudly as I could, "Hey!" Then he dropped her - hard - to the sidewalk, and flew away. I love red-tails, but not when they are killing my girls! I found her, unconscious with a drizzle of blood running from her beak, scooped her up and revived her. Over the next few days, although disoriented, she seemed to be recovering. She took small pecks of food, and drank a little water. (And here's a note for anyone who thinks chickens are not sentient beings. I found her sister, Turnipseed, the first night, nestled over her in the nest box - and my hens never share nest boxes. To me that is love.) But over the last 10 days she has been declining - almost as if she has forgotten how to eat and drink and walk. So I thought, "Just let nature take it's course." Today, however, I just couldn't take watching her starve to death anymore, so I called my vet. (They are used to me, it's O.K.) They do not do chickens but they told me to come on in. Gordon took one look at her and said, "You know she is 3/4 dead." I told him I knew that and if he thought we should euthanize her, O.K. But then he lifted her emaciated body and she flapped her wings. He said, "I wondered if she could do that." Then he rolled his eyes at me and said, "I'm not promising you anything." He then picked her up and took her to the back and administered IV fluids and gave her a shot of steroids. When he brought her back in he had too vet techs with him. They were carrying a can of nutrient dense cat food. They admitted they had fed her a few bites by force-feeding. They said that they'd be amazed if she is alive tomorrow, but if so, bring her back in for more fluids. They gave me the food and an eyedropper with which to feed her, and instructed me to feed her often. They are big softies just like me. They charged me twenty dollars, and I know what vet visits usually cost...
Oh Little Liza, Little Liza Jane

The Hopelessly Devoted Turnipseed

So here I am, feeding a half-dead chicken in my studio that already smells like a barnyard. The boston terrier, Jasper, is adding to the ambience with his steady stream of gaseous output. If Liza Jane lives she will not be able to free range anymore. That hawk was back today, circling beautifully in a clear sky, looking for sustenance.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Have a New Year

Didn't say Happy New Year because in my mind Americans have taken "happy" to a level of superficiality that makes me gag. If you are perfectly happy all the time you are either moronic or extremely deluded. Also shallow. C'mon, we need hardship in order to evolve as human beings. So I'm going to wish you a real New Year, and of course I hope you have good luck and good health, plenty of personal growth, some joy and some peace. And here are two New Year's gifts to share with you.

This poem was sent by a new friend whom I love dearly. Our universe sometimes puts you in touch with your people. She is one of them. Thanks Sherry.

New Year's Eve

Play a thin tune
on a paper horn
Old is dying
New is born

Scatter confetti
over the floor
Sweep an old year
Out the door

Blow up a wish
in a bright balloon
Whisper dreams
To a midnight moon

Play a loud tune
on a paper horn
Old is dying
New is born


Here's a wonderful list  that we should all stick to our refrigerators this year so that we can remember some important priorities. It was sent to me by my oldest beloved friend Marybeth. (Friends for 51 years!! We are soulmates.) 

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old. This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!! 
"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. Release your children when they become adults, its their life now

9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come...
 (Can’t wait to find out what! )

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield..

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Its estimated 93% won't forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title '7%'. I'm in the 7%. Friends are the family that we choose.