Watching the mice clans play at my feet in the barn the other day, I realized I am living in a real-life Beatrix Potter tale. One of my mother mice could easily be Mrs. Tittlemouse and, although my rabbits tend to be jackrabbits, Peter Cottontail could be out there somewhere in the south pasture. Jemima Puddleduck (wild, in my version) flies overhead, quacking out the five o'clock news. I suppose I play the part of Mr. MacGregor, or I would...if I ever get the garden planted.
That which I feared might happen...has happened. I picked up only six eggs last night. That means the free-rangers have gone rogue and have found new nesting spots and now I must start a nightly egg hunt. Since I wait until almost dusk to put the girls to bed, I'm thinking an egg hunt in the dark is not my idea of fun. The little girls drift down as far as the edge of the woods during the day. I haven't gone into the woods for years. It's not the walk down, it's the hike back up the hill that gets to me. I prefer to enjoy the view from a distance. I don't need the eggs; there are buckets of eggs stacked up in the refrigerator. However, eggs on the ground will draw raccoons and foxes, both of which are a danger to the hens. There's nothing for it but to pull on my hiking boots and get out there and hunt.