As I write this post (last night),
it is once again steadily raining outside.
Most of my hay hopes have been dashed...
with more rain coming today.
Since I am unable to commune with my critters and take fresh pictures,
I am going to compile a batch of photos taken previously.
I thought I would give you an update on our birds.
Happily, all 10 of the new ducks are still alive and thriving...
good news after a summer of duckling disappearances!
And a few of the new chickens that arrived April 1st have begun laying eggs.
It will be another month or so until they are all laying with regularity.
For now I find tiny "practice" eggs.
No talk of chickens can be complete without mentioning our dear old Ivanka.
You may remember when Ivanka was relocated to the barn...
seemingly headed for that great henhouse in the sky.
She was, at the time, housebound and in risk of being picked on by the other hens.
A move to the barn would help her last days to be peaceful.
That was a year ago.
Today, Ivanka is thriving.
She is friend to barn kitty Moll Flanders.
In fact, in the winter they share a heat lamp
and nightly sleep together.
Ivanka hangs out in the barn, visiting with dogs and humans alike.
I think she has even started to look forward to the shoulder rugs that I give her
when encountering her out of her stall.
She used to crouch down as low as she could...as if she was trying to get away from me.
However, now she stands tall as I gently rub her shoulders...
almost as if she values a good massage!
Like the rest of us, age is taking its toll on her...
her smooth slender legs are now stocky and scaly,
but they carry her weight and take her on strolls out of the barn,
where she seeks the shade of a nearby chair.
At bedtime, with these cold summer nights we have been having,
Ivanka buries her naked neck between the soft folds of an old sheepskin...
fashioning a comfortable muff to keep her warm as she sleeps.
And so it is, with retirement, on the farm.
Even if you have outlived your productive years,
you always get a warm and cozy place to lay your head...
until the day comes that you head off to that great henhouse in the sky!
My only hope is that one day when I am old and scaly like Ivanka,
I, too, have a heat lamp and a comfortable place to dwell...with plenty of company...
enjoying each day that comes with the security of knowing I am home.