Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mother Nature

While Addison and I were transferring 28 little plants to our patio flower pots this past Friday, we had a little taste of the blood thirsty side to Mother Nature.

After weeks of torrential rains and wind, we (okI) had to have some color. I don’t care if they all get taken out by this grim weather - I didn’t want to wait another week before filling the flower pots with blooming plants. Lately, it’s been like we’re living in “Twilight,” or another movie set in or around Seattle. Usually the movies are too dramatic and they make our weather seem so much more dour than it really is. Not this year. This year, the movies have it right. Our land is past the saturation point. The yard is a puddle, the tree roots are in ground so sodden with precipitation that they periodically fall over, blocking roads and making a mess of branches to clean up. Class is interrupted as my students pause and look up every time the wind violently gusts and the pounding rains seem to shake the ceiling with sheer volume.
If you’re going to have rain, though, I’ve always preferred it to be dramatic rain. I mean, if you’re going to get wet and cold – you might as well get the whole shebang = thunder, lightning, and all.

Anyways, Addison and I were out in the rain, planting some flowers. I was hurrying, because for once it was merely sprinkling rain – not pouring. My hands were covered in potting soil and I was rushing around with my little “helper” when we heard a horrible screaming from one of our neighbor chickens. After observing my lovely hens wandering through the property, my neighbors (the vampires mentioned previously) had gotten jealous and purchased 25 of their own. (a little competitive, don’t ya think?) My hens and their hens were running about, free-ranging, when this horrible scream made me jump. This wasn’t your usual chicken scream. This was a death scream. So, I took off running to the neighbor’s property with Addison jogging along behind me. I made it in the nick of time. A beautiful, beastly hawk had some hens pinned in a corner of a small lean-to on my neighbor’s property. She was jabbing at them as they tried to burrow themselves under an old rototiller. It was awful. I thought they were dead. As I ran towards them, the hawk finally flew away. I saw all these feathers and bodies under the blades of the rototiller, so I lifted it up, propped the handle on my shoulder and leaned down to pick up the first chicken I saw. She was one of the neighbor’s pretty white hens. When I touched her, she started to scream in fear until she turned her head and saw it was me. She then seemed to go limp with relief and snuggled closer to my body and I ran and put her safely in her coop. This is when the neighbor’s teenage daughter arrived to help. As she tried to gather the other scared hens, I went back to find my own two hens under the rototiller as well. The poor things were crammed under the blades with their bodies half buried in dirt. They were alive and unhurt.
The hawk then came back for more! With me standing right there! To make a long story short, that darn hawk came back over and over again and would sit and stare at me from the roof of the shed, or from a low tree branch as I scrambled to save the scared chickens. I had potting soil all over my hands, galoshes, frizzy, wet hair, and I was running around, waving my arms like a crazy lady to fend off the hawk. I found chickens who had crammed themselves in the most unlikely of places, but…. we didn’t lose a single one.
Ranger was let out to go on hawk duty, in the hopes that his running around the yard would prevent the hawk from doing any more dives at the chickens as I walked around looking for them.

It was a real drama-rama. For the rest of the night, Addison kept asking, “Why do hogs want to eat my chickens?”

As I watched the news coverage on the events in Japan, I realized that my own little brushes with Mother Nature have been so mild and inconsequential. If Seattle ever has the "Big One" that we're warned of, I can't imagine how tragic and terrifying it would be to try and locate family scattered by school and work during the business day. If I take my own panicked search for injured chickens, and apply it to a scenario involving my children ------ It becomes a scenario so grotesque that it's hard to even think about.
My heart hurts for all the parents frantically looking for their children.


foxy said...

That does sound like some serious drama! And the guts of that hawk! Wowzer.

I know.... I can't even begin to imagine what the families in Japan are feeling right now. My heart aches for them too.