December 13th, 2008

Walkabout

Working Still

Still trying to move text about. The shape is Shakespearean with a clear 5 acts. Which means it suits me, means it's as right as anything I've written because I have a strong Shakespearean influence. So now I have an outline. But when I go into the actual text, some of the large moves still have fuzzy edges.

Not much accomplished yesterday after the early morning. The Dude was home early instead of late.

Florida called to make sure it's ok to eat chicken mcnuggets two days in a row. Which it is, especially with the amount of exercise she seems to be getting. She made friends in the heated pool, too. They were off to Mickey's Christmas Party, an event at night you have to have tickets for. They're going to play mini golf in the morning. Some shopping has occurred. They've brunched with Tigger and Pooh.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, the night count was one chicken short. We found a body with flashlights and I hope it's one of the old girls, which means only 3 are left. Not that I want to lose one of them. But if it's a youngster, there's disease in the coop. So I think old age would be preferable. We'll try to figure it out in the light today.

Frog Out
Woodstove

More Notes

The fairy story was written in freewrite. My editor notes, with some amusement, the following:

1. It opened, originally, with a writer writing a story about a fairy. This was easily cut. The writer was clearly writing her way into the real story.

2. The current opening contains the dialog "You need to do something!" This would seem to be another authorial remark, i.e. the writer needs to start writing the actual story.

3. A third of the way into the story, the pov character is noticing character #2's appearance in detail. Finally. He's already had a couple of scenes with her, so the editorial note is that the writer is finally noticing some of character #2's physical characteristics and this must be placed earlier in the story because that's when the pov character would have actually noticed them. Duh.

The Dude used up all the wood in last night's fire. To start one this morning, wood must be hauled to the house from the distant woodpile since the one by the house has yet to be filled for the season. The Dude went back to bed an hour ago. I do not call this the proper care and feeding of a brilliant writer who also happens to be one's spouse. No, I don't.

As it is almost 7am and still no re-emergence of The Dude, I shall (sigh) have to go let the chickens out and haul the wood myself. In the cold. Coffee, also, did not magically appear at my elbow at 5am when I got up and buried myself under a down lap quilt for warmth. You are aghast. That he fed the cats is no excuse for these other examples of his neglect. I am put upon. I am long suffering. I am not editing.

Frog Out
Two New Girls

R. I. P.

All has been quite unfortunately made crystal to The Dude and I.

The squawking behavior and huddled masses yesterday afternoon. The lack of desire to leave the coop this morning. Squawking and huddled behavior again this afternoon.

Two dead chickens later, the culprit is not old age or disease, but an enterprising hawk.

I say this because the hawk is about 1/3 the size of our chickens. And because the hawk was cornered inside the coop today, yes INSIDE the coop. Which meant it entered through the hatch. And a carcass was on the floor with six extremely upset chickens in various corners. The other 10 were outside.

Our chickens do not have sufficiently distinct calls. Their HAWK! HAWK! KILLING US! HAWK! call is just about the same as their WOW, I LAID AN EGG, COME SEE! call. So we didn't take it too seriously when they started making a ruckus. But we decided to go down and make sure all was well. The Dude was ahead of me and I heard a huge commotion in the coop as I approached and I wondered why he was tossing chickens about. Which is what it sounded like. And when I got to the door, he said there were two chickens dead (turned out to be one) and the hawk was there, cornered under the rungs eyeing The Dude who was keeping his distance.

As per our adventure with the raccoon, The Dude was somewhat unprepared, dressed in jammies and house slippers while I had stopped to put on my farm boots, a down vest, a scarf and work gloves. The Dude promptly relieved me of the last so he could catch or shoo the hawk. I held the coop door open and watched it gently swoop by me and out the partially open barn door as if it did this every day.

The girls were much relieved by our appearance in their run. I saw Gimpy and identified Dick Deadeye on the rungs, so chances are these were young chickens. Dick Deadeye had a run-in with a hawk early in life, leaving one eye useless. She's now survived a minimum of 3 hawk attacks.

We now wait to see if the hawk's pea brain has registered that it can go indoors after the food. And it's now time for me to make sure I visit the chickens in the early afternoon, which seems to be prime hawk hunting time. We like hawks. A lot. Even more than the fox. However, we must protest when a hawk decides that we are providing fresh meat for his/her personal diet. We are not.

The Dude was wondering about how they are tamed, but I suspect it's done when they are chicks freshly hatched. I think he really wanted my gloves to catch the hawk, if only for a moment.

So mystery solved, but not in a light-hearted sort of way. In the debriefing session (still ongoing as we sit in front of the fire), The Dude and I agree that the hawk couldn't actually lift a chicken and fly. So he/she has to kill and eat right there. And it has made us wonder about other deaths, whether in fact they were from natural causes as we had previously surmised. It would be a relief to alter my earlier, gruesome conclusion that my chickens were also little cannibals.

Meanwhile, an image for Walkabout's story is coalescing in my brain.

Frog Out