Stormy Weather

“Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky, stormy weather….”

I realize that Miss Lena was singing about a summer storm, but the words are certainly apropos to the scene outside my window.  The sky is grey and powder fine snow is falling on a nice layer of sleet from last night.  I waited until 10 AM before going out to feed the chickens so that I could make a better, um, well-fed, decision on whether to let them out of the coop.

I hate carrying buckets of water down questionable snow and ice covered steps.  Since the tree fell on the back stairs last year I have not rebuilt them well and there is no handrail and the last step tends to move when you step on it.  Thus I descend the steps like a toddler, one step at a time, gingerly, dreading some back-breaking fall.  I made it down safely, Chloe dancing around in front of me, asking in her little doggy brain why I am sooooo slow.  I happen to know that she is just too stupid to care if she falls–I have seen her go charging out the door and slip and slide all the way across the deck and down the stairs, OOF!, without a care in her pea sized encephalon, and repeat the process each time she goes outside.  Not a lot of learning going on in there, folks.

I had enough confidence in myself by the time I got to the gate to use one foot to kick the frozen gate latch, breaking the ice, so I could get through the gate and repeat this fabulous Ninja move on the coop door bolts and the feed bin lid.  Yes, you should be picturing me as a Ninja with slow motion photography and awesome music.  I check the big chickens first–water good, but here’s some more, food good, shut the door.  Behind the next door, (for newer readers, my coop is a duplex so I can separate baby chicks from the big girls), the fat broilers squawk and grunt rather unpleasantly.  They are sitting around the feeder, just waiting.  The wonky-legged girl has positioned herself half way between the waterer and the feeder so she only has to lurch one step in either direction.  Pouring two good scoops into the feeder is akin to dropping a goat in a raptor cage–Watch out!  Keep your arms and legs inside the ride vehicle at all times!  Park will not be responsible for injuries!

I do wonder, in the sense of marveling or being amazed over, at the non-broilers in that group.  That they manage to get any food at all is a miracle. But I see how creative they are:  Sometimes they stand on the backs of the broilers and peck away at the food from the safety of their sturdy perch.  They might get a spot crouched beneath the feeder and peck at the pellets that rain down as the broilers gorge themselves.  I’ve even seen an adventurous one attempt to shoulder the broilers out of the way to gain a spot around the red rim of the feeder.  They are, no pun intended, plucky little guys.

If it had not snowed today, I think it would have been butchering day for the broilers.  They are like sumo wrestlers, stomping around in soiled mawashi.  But, alas, I will not butcher in the snow.  Naked ground will absorb blood and erase the stain of the taking of life, but snow is unforgiving and will only reproach me repeatedly as I walk by the splash of red on white.  No, it will have to wait another day or two.  Then I will have the ‘fun’ of slaughtering, plucking and eviscerating, by myself most likely, nine obese birds who will then go to ‘live’ in my dangerously empty freezer.

I warn you, it will not be pretty, but it will one day be delicious, and that is what makes it worth while.  :O)

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