March 16 The girls enjoy a bright spring day pecking in the studio garden for a high protein bug lunch and taking their much needed dirt baths. . .with the chicken version of a purrrrr (muffled squeeks?) Who are those tweet tweet birds in the apple tree? I run for my umbrella for shade from this hot spring sun!
I haven’t written about my chickens for a long time now. I didn’t want to tell the sad story of the reduction of my flock by marauding night critters. I’m down to 3 hens now and I lock them into Fort Knox each night. And then let them out in the yard on occasion to hunt for worms and pose for me to sketch. Only they don’t. They’re too busy and i get dizzy just trying to track their movements. But i haven’t given up!
Nimbus is a gray bearded Silkie hen and lately she’s been particularly fluffy and cloud-like. Her bloomers puff out as she walks like an illustration for little Miss Muffett. After an eggless winter they are now laying an egg a day among them – good for such old hens – at least three or four years old, I can’t remember. I threw out some bread hoping they would linger and POSE for me. Fat chance. As soon as I started sketching one view they’d change around next time I looked up. I’m practicing taking a quick memory picture to draw from.
My Sweet Gladys: A Gladys story. . . A few days after the last coop invasion which led to yet two more precious sisters being carried off in the dead of night, Gladys and her two remaining sisters were out in the yard during the day. Just before sundown I was sitting at my desk in the studio when I heard a repeated “thunk” against my door. It was Gladys hurling herself against my closed door! When I came out she just looked at me and I read her mind. Her sisters were nowhere to be seen, and she was alarmed and asking for help. Yes, in the most dramatic way a chicken has available to it (I guess). Finally we found her sisters, already returned to their boxes in the coop for the night [probably not wanting to tempt fate by lingering in the great wide open]. She settled in with them and I was left to ponder chicken intelligence – far greater than I suspected.