Having spent the last of daylight hours the day before hunting for MIAs, I had not restocked the firewood on the porch. One thing I will not do is go to the woodpile after dark. I am not afraid of spiders and snakes, but if there are awake or hibernating slithery or eight-legged things, I want to see them first. Consequently, the woodstove had gone out and yesterday was spent trying to get the house warm with damp wood and a cranky stove.
Bess and I were hypervigilant all day, running to look for the chickens if we heard any sounds at all. Fortunately, only Rover and one other red hen ventured out of the pen. The rest, traumatized, stayed inside. I was glad they were staying safe, but a spark of joy went out of the day because my little girls weren't outside playing. The two casualties turned out to be Flopsy and Mopsy, named because of their funky little combs, worn cocked jauntily over one eye like red berets. Of course it would be them. Inspecting the flock more closely, I could see that several more hens, and Frederick, had been savaged...back feathers pulled out and tail feathers missing, but thankfully no serious injuries. That, plus the fact that the dead chickens had been left to lie there with no attempts to eat them, indicates it was probably dogs. This isn't the first time, but since I did not witness the attack, I can't point a finger to place blame. It does leave me feeling very, very angry.
There is always a bright spot or two on gray days, and yesterday the first forsythia blossom burst forth and I found the peonies were sending up slender shoots. Kathryn said that in Ohio it will snow three more times after the forsythia blooms...I'm still looking for the dogwoods for the last snow here.
Mark makes me laugh with his "dime-store version" of Heidi and her grandfather in his comment from yesterday. I read that story when I was a little girl, and then there was the movie with Shirley Temple. I think of it so often when the warm milk is frothing in the bucket. It's light enough at six o'clock to see silhouettes now, so my day will soon start earlier. Time to go play Heidi!