Fox in the Henhouse

…two bits. I woke up to relieve my ‘aging runner mama’ bladder last night. Our bedroom window is like a gigantic picture frame into the lives of some beloved ponderosas, an 18 year old cherry tree, chickens, bees, Mount Jumbo and half of our garden. When I wake to pee I find myself staring out into that darkness. I’ve seen countless black bears through this frame, enormous bald eagles, and recently had an early morning encounter with a chicken-hunting owl.

This morning, by the light of the moon, on a fresh blanket of spring snow, I saw a shadow flash across the backyard. We lost a hen a few nights ago, so I’ve been on high alert. I wasn’t sure what took her, but I was thankful it took her. If a critter is killing chickens, I always just hope they’re filling bellies. I woke up early the morning of the first lost hen, after a full moon-filled, energy tugging, restless night. My yard was littered with blood-speckled feathers. In the wee hours of the next morning, I heard a disconcerting noise and ended up sleeping with my head at the foot of our bed to have a better vantage through the frame. In hind sight, I should’ve locked our chickens up when they tucked themselves in. That flash across our yard this morning was a fox.

I always feel lucky when I see a fox, like I’m receiving a deeper message into my life. I saw a fox a couple of weeks ago in central Montana, but it wasn’t alive. It had been hit by something on the road. Was it a message? I once saw a bear that had just been hit by a car, on a trip to look at a piece of land we were considering purchasing, that felt like a bad omen. We didn’t buy that land. The fox on the road didn’t really feel like an omen, but it made me feel like things were unsettled. This moonlight morning fox made me feel like the universe was balancing itself out.

I had a funeral this morning because this time, unlike the last, the fox didn’t tote the chicken over the fence. A hen funeral, in the morning, looks like this at the Rainbow homestead.

chicken funeral coming up rainbows

Our sweet neighbors heard about our loss and delivered eggs, which we have plenty of, but the gesture was endearing.

The ladies have been spending most of their awake hours right here.

And then there were five. xo

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