Henna in the Sun ... Pretty Bird & the Soapmaker's Favorite.
She is a tiny thing. But she produces the LARGEST eggs! They look like potatoes next to the other eggs. These mega eggs are usually double yolks!
Ahhhh ... the days are full ... but with such a higher percentage of things I so love when it is spring/summer versus winter! I do die every winter and come alive in the spring. Every sensation is heightened ... there is an intense communication between the Earth and my soul. I find myself doing the uncharacteristic and wandering this life labyrinth.
Often, I don't give myself permission to do this ... always making sure I have an errand to run that is incorporated into my walk. Efficient exercise, you know? I can deliver soap, return a library book, collect aluminum cans, go to the post office, surprise a neighbor, or search for Jewelweed (forever on this search right now). At the very least I wander at the end of a 40 hour weekend, shedding the trauma of spinal cord injury rehab and doing a bit of rehab on myself. But that wandering is quite purposeful - it is nursing therapy at its best.
I think Henna was responding to her inner wanderer, too. She took off first thing in the am ... before I even collected an egg. (I still think I am going to find that egg ... I'll keep you updated.)
There was no evidence of any abduction or worse, murder. (A Jack Russel Terrier killed two of my chickens last month - I just noticed that "Terror" is in his name. Appropriate.)
There were no feathers. I could not see any escape route. Henna is not the escape artist anyhow, that is Shanti.
Henna is my favorite. I am not allowed to have favorite children & I don't. They are all amazing & infuriating in their own unique ways! I am not supposed to have favorite patients - they all get treated awesomely. I do have a favorite chicken. I chose her. My daughter, Tullia, likes to tell me that she and Henna are special because I "CHOSE" them. Where are the perfect people who choose when they are going to have children? Admittedly, my boys just came. Thank goodness. But I chose to have Tullia.
And Henna ... I picked her. You see, we ordered two Red Sex Links after selecting the Buffs on their personality. I didn't want to be afraid of my own chickens. We read and heard from so many sources that Buff Orpington's are the perfect backyard hen. And, yes, they are quirky & gentle and more fun than any old television show. But the Red's were picked on egg production. (Their adorable personalities are a total plus!) The only place local that I could find them only sold them at 5 mos. old. Oh my. And their beaks were culled! I was horrified! Ariel and I got all the way to the end of the driveway when picking them up (it was a long driveway) and I said, "We have to go back." One of the chickens' beaks was so twisted and defunct, I couldn't stand it. And yes, I will always feel bad for giving her back. But the sweet farmer lady (I really liked her) had no problem tossing her back and letting me pick another. And that "other" was Henna. I was in love from first sight. She is the color of Henna ... and right before she left on her day's adventure, I had snapped a shot of her with my fresh "Henna'd" hand (by Tullia).
I was so hoping that it was not my last picture of her.
All day, I never once thought she was dead. I had to make myself come inside because I was going a bit crazy outside, thinking that every sound was her. I had already searched high and low. I found it interesting that each family member, though they know me and my ability to find lost things & even depend on that knack, had to go looking for her just the same. (I am so pleased they love my chickens, too!). I would be doing dishes and looking out the window and up the street, as if I thought she would come walking down the road. (Yes, I tried to explain to my foreign-born husband the "why did the chicken cross the road" history - he didn't get it. I still don't get many Spanish jokes. Jokes and metaphors in another language are slow-coming. The point is that we keep trying.)
[(Susan says that she has chicken friends (friends who have chickens!) and they talk about losing chickens like it is just a natural part of raising chickens. I haven't reached that point. I am only 2 years in and I am fiercely appreciative of each chicken. And ... this is my family's food! Just like I care for and water our tomatoes from the rain barrels, the chickens are going to get great care! (And they beat the tomatoes in "cute" by a mile!)]
She was gone from early morning on and I finally heard her voice c. 1930 (circa 7:30 pm). She has a small laceration on her L thumb (does a chicken have a thumb?) and she was treated with raw honey and herbs left over from mommy's scooter injuries. (Without going into too many details, I have my first scooter wreck under my belt. It was a freak thing with a car pulling out in front of me and railroad tracks on the other side. Yes, I was delivering soap. No, I won't take my scooter to that part of the city anymore. My scooter got about the same amount of abrasions as I did. We are both alright. RAW HONEY is amazing - and yes, I am reading "Beekeeping for Dummies" right now! Bees are the next big project!)
When I told my friend Lara that I found Henna, she said, without skipping a beat, "She was looking for an Enchilada." ... 'cause in the end, I found her in the Mexicans' garden! A one-eyed little man was threatening to put my chicken on the grill (in Spanish it sounded horrendous. It sounds equally horrendous just typing it in English). But he hadn't caught her yet. She did the traditional hen squat for me and I scooped her up and she shut her eyes and purred.
A week later she is fine, and even more attached to me. She comes by name and follows me around like we are attracting magnets. Her limp is barely noticeable, but we still are trying to keep that leg clean (exactly how do you keep a chicken foot out of chicken sh*&^*&(^&*?)
And I rolled chick weed & oats up in a tortilla, Enchilada-style and asked Henna to please let me know when she has a craving for an Enchilada (before she becomes one). Just like my teenagers, the answer is probably "yes" if you first don't make Mami worry. I need to know where you guys are.
Many thanks to all of you for your responses to last week's blog on the Southern Soapmaker.
I wish you a week of peace and health.