Sunday, November 29, 2009
A Shepherd's Tears...
I'm sorry for not writing for so long.
If you also check my chicken blog, you've got somewhat of an idea of what's been going on.
Last Tuesday, I lost my job.
I thought I handled that pretty well, emotionally.
I was even thinking that it was a blessing in disguise as I really was wasting my talents there. (I was a customer service rep for a mail-order catalog company) But, I enjoyed the work and was able to KNIT during slow times so it had some advantages that made me lax about looking for something better. Now, I will have to.
When I got home, I tucked the chickens in for the night. First the group that are staying in the garage for the winter. These are my beautiful, "Calico Cochins" (the ones I used to refer to as "Candy Corn Cochins" ~ we've chosen an official name for them). Each evening, I lift Opal and Crystal and Scarlet and Red (the rooster) off of the fence and place them on the sawhorse that they are supposed to roost on at night. Candy has been brooding a clutch of eggs for almost three weeks so she stays in the covered cat litter box that I use for nest boxes.
After putting the Calicos on their roost, I went out and closed the doors to the barn and tucked in all the Mille fleur cochins and my Backyard chickens. It wasn't until I went back into the garage (which is attatched and has an entry door to my kitchen) that I saw it.
The covered nest box that Candy and her soon to hatch eggs were in was flipped upside down and broken apart. There was no sign of Candy or her eggs.
NOW I sobbed! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My first thought was that Sadie (my treeing walker coon hound, that I had left "in charge" of the chickens) had attacked Candy in her nest box. This was unfathomable because Sadie has shown NO aggressiveness towards the chickens at all! I had left the gate to the Calico cochin pen open and the garage door to the back yard open because I left Sadie in the yard to watch over the chickens while I was gone. That way my Calicos could get out and get some sunshine and free range. I remembered that when I got home, Sadie was no where around. She had figured out another way to escape from the back yard.
I frantically dug through the shavings in the Calico's pen, looking for eggs. None. All gone. As was Candy. At first, I was hoping and praying that she had somehow escaped and was hiding somewhere in the garage. I crawled around on my hands and knees, holding a flashlight and pleading and sobbing, for her to be safe. I searched the back yard and pastures. No sign. I searched for perhaps an hour and then went into the house and just cried.
Later that evening, Sadie came home. She barked at the front door, as she always does, to be let in. I lost it! I ran out the door screaming at her. I chased her down the driveway and when she followed me back up as I turned to go back into the house I chased her again. Screeming and sobbing, I told to to go away and never come back. I screamed that I hated her. Sadie turned and left.
A nagging little voice said "what if it wasn't her?" but I pushed it away.
The next morning ~ after a sleepless night, I searched again for Candy. There was no sign. Then it dawned on me. No sign! If Sadie had indeed been the one to attack Candy and her eggs, there would have been a body. There would have been feathers all over the place. But there was nothing. A little bit of rational thought began to creep into my grief dulled mind: perhaps Sadie got out of the yard BEFORE Candy was attacked and something else (a coon?) took advantage of the unprotected yard and took my beautiful Candy bird. It still makes me sick to even think about it.
Now, I felt terrible for having screamed at Sadie and driven her away. She didn't come home for two days! I could hear her barking up in the woods. I called her but she wouldn't come. Finally, Thanksgiving night, she came home. She was wet and cold and shaking. I dried her with a towel and covered her with a blanket and laid next to her and petted her and told her how much I love her and how sorry I am for saying that I hated her. I think she forgives me.
Although, I'm still mad at Sadie for leaving the yard unprotected, I can't really blame her for Candy's loss. Any more that I can blame myself (and believe me I DID!) for not having brought Candy and her nest box into the house like I had thought about, earlier on the morning that she was taken. But I had decided to wait a day or two until I had a day off. Now I have plenty of time off but no Candy.
I am always amazed by the amount of physical pain that results from a broken heart.
So, for days I spoke with no one. I couldn't. Every time I even thought about my beautiful Candy bird I just sobbed. I didn't want to put anyone else through that. Even the people that I knew would understand. And I didn't want to cry anymore. It HURT!
Little by little, I'm getting better. On the same day that Candy was taken from me, my very first Mille Fleur Cochin egg hatched. I've got a beautiful, little, fluffy chick that makes me smile and reminds me that life does go on.
I believe that she was born on the same day that I lost my job and my very special Candy for a reason. To reassure me that God had not forgotten me and that he does still love me and that I will be happy again.
I've named her "HOPE"
I am doing daily updates of Hope's transformation as she goes from a fuzzy chick to a fluffy Mille Fleur Cochin on my Backyard Chickens blog. If you don't see me here for a while, you can usually find me over there...
In the meantime: I've started a Yahoo Group for "Calico Cochin" fans. Candy is the "cover girl" and roll model for what we will be breeding for. She may be gone, but she will NEVER be forgotten!
P.S. this morning, I got an email from a member of the Mille Fleur Cochin Yahoo Group, offering to drive to Tennesee and pick up Sable and bring her home to me!
I am so deeply touched by the kindness of others. Sable would be VERY good for my heart.
"I don't like it when Mom's so sad that she doesn't even come out and sit with ME!"
I'm sorry Dreamer.
I'll be out soon...