learning to let go

backyard hen

I said good-bye to my favourite hen a week ago. My lovely Lyall Lovette.

The poor thing. My first hen and we couldn’t even give her a girl’s name. She had fantastic “hair” though, and was grey, and no one could look at her without thinking of Lyall Lovette. And so it stuck.

Lyall was who knows how old when we got her from the sale barn. It was our first go-round and we had no idea what we were doing. There were eggs in her cage, and she was pretty. I was sold.

Since then Lyall gave us many sweet, tiny, pale pink eggs and lots of entertainment. She would wander quietly around the garden and gave me an audience for my constant mindless nattering. A lady who talks to herself needs chickens. It’s good for the self-esteem.

She set eggs like a champ, and reared a clutch or two, but in her old age her tendency to go broody combined with her ornery attitude to our other girls made the decision necessary. We had to let her go.

Unlike most animals on a farm, that didn’t mean letting her go to the nest box in the sky. I couldn’t bear it.

The boy at the sale barn who holds up the birds to view during auction bought her. Five dollars. I couldn’t watch.

I didn’t cry though, as I always promised I would.

Keeping a garden and running a farm, no matter how small, teaches you the true value of life and forces you to reassess your illusions.

The garden is full of beginnings, middles and ends. With so many beginnings – new eggs in the brooder, chicks in the barn, seeds in the kitchen . . . It’s easier to accept the odd end.

Happy trails to you . . . 

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