Sunday afternoon the chickens were out on rec around 5 pm. Steve was in the kitchen making coffee and I was in the potting shed starting seeds. From the back window I saw the chickens scrounging around the asparagus patch along the fence. I turned my head back to the seeds. Suddenly there was a commotion - loud squawking. I turned my head to see the chickens turn suddenly like Catholic schoolchildren when the morning bell rings in the schoolyard - they just went single file and disappeared into the forsythia bush. Something was up.
Steve wasn't hearing this, so I walked back there and the one hen was squawking like crazy right next to the forsythia, and the other girls were nestled tightly together in the bush. I counted only five. One chicken was missing. I looked around for feathers.. Finally Steve came out and we both saw in the other corner of the yard that a large black bird had cornered our chicken. Steve poked the hawk with a pole and the bird flew into the neighbor's tree, keeping an eye. Bells jingled, and I thought I saw the bells around the bird's feet. The chicken rushed backed into the pen, which was right there.
A man appeared in the other yard. He had been chasing his bird all the way down here. Meanwhile Steve was in the back checking out the other chickens. I went back there - he said we got to get the chickens back in the pen. I took one in my arms and walked down the yard. Suddenly there was the hawk again flying right at me from a few yards away, wings spread. I ducked curling into my chicken. It felt like I went into a heavy wind. I got to the cage and opened the door and threw in the chicken. Steve was saying, "Annie go back into the potting shed!" I'm thinking what is this macho thing. I'm not going to hide in the shed. I haven't done any harm.
When I walked back over to the driveway, the man was there and he had caught his hawk in some kind of device around his finger. He was apologetic but we were thrilled to see the hawk. He said it was a Harris hawk and he had been up at the municipal golf course at the bottom of the lake, when the hawk took off - it must have seen the chickens. Now Steve suggested I get the camera. I got some pictures, but they're not developed yet. I still don't have a digital camera or a camera on my cellphone.
When I walked back to the potting shed, I noticed my hand was all bloody. I guess the chicken dug in when the hawk tried to convince me to drop her.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The chickens are beautiful Golden Comets - fairly quiet; good for our mixed-use semi-wild West End neighborhood. They're a little scrawny for meat, but they sure lay a lot of eggs, even all winter long. Here's a picture of them in the garden last summer. Now we let them range all over the yard a few times a day. (More pictures to come.)
I used to just eat one egg sandwich a week, but I've been working on increasing my egg consumption, and it's been very good! Now the burritos often include some scrambled eggs. I tucked some hard-boiled egg into the pita with felafel and tabouli today. For last Sunday brunch, tried Scandinavian-style and had sardines and hard-boiled egg on sour corn rye toast; couldn't help adding some of that Capricho with black pepper goat cheese that they sell at the GreenStar. I would love to barter with the cheesemakers for some eggs!
Meanwhile I'll barter with anyone through the genius of Ithaca Hours. We just need a few regular customers. Bonuses from the garden available during the harvest season! You can contact me at gardensfirst at gmail.com if you're interested in some eggs.