Recently, four wild turkeys walked into our yard dead set on feeding on our dwarf crabapple tree. The birds knew, somehow, that as back-to-back snow and freezing rain had elevated their reach by one foot, they could potentially snag the tree’s fruit.
But it didn’t prove so easy. Once to the tree, they circled, eyed the apples, calibrated the height and lunged upward for them…only to plunge outright through the snow to their bellies. The fact of their continuous shoo-shooing each other away from the tree didn’t help matters, either. I saw only one turkey score fruit.
Earlier, these same turkeys called at the chicken house, where, with crazy twists of their heads, they tried to see through the crack in the door. They were interested in the hens’ overfull feeder. But again, in-fighting made even a glimpse of the spilled feed almost impossible. As soon as one turkey gained position near the crack, one or two others would charge from behind and peck it away.
And the hens? What did the over-fed hens have to say about this commotion? (I heard it all loud and clear from over by the woodshed.) Bloody no! They shouted, some of them (as I imagined it) looking down from their cozy roosts, others gathered en masse on their side of the crack.
We lost a hen last week (no one knows why), so we’re down to eight now, eight red ones. But as only four of the eight are actually laying these days, that means we can realistically hope for two or three eggs each morning. Which means, in turn, that we are guaranteed but one—one egg. One warm egg to warm our cheeks by.
Our sheep, clueless as always about life and injustice generally, thrive. They are fat in their wool, and each morning they wait by the gate for their hay. The brown ram lords it over the black ewe, of course, but I should mention that the ewe always gets the choice spot in the sheep shed. I don’t understand how or why, but when I check on the sheep (with binoculars) from the house, it’s always the ewe that’s positioned by the shed’s one small opening. I can always see her nose. Only the ewe gets to lie on soiled straw and see January’s frozen sky. For the three of us watching from the house, at least, it’s a tenuous bit of poetic justice, a second gift of warmth to pass between us.