I didn’t expect to like our chickens as much as I do.

That’s a weird thing to hear from someone who loves animals as much as I do. But I hadn’t been around chickens much, and I didn’t realize how frankly hilarious they can be! They really are little, feathered dinosaurs. Ours are on the friendly side of skittish, though they can be quite chummy if you have a can of sweet corn for them.

I wrote this story shortly after we got our first chickens, when we still lived at Resurrection Mule Farm (I’ll tell you the story of that name some day). I was delighted at getting different colored eggs from our variety of hens. I still am, to be honest.

And there’s nothing quite like a laid-that-morning egg from a free-range hen.

But, when you have free-range chickens, and you live near a national forest like we do at Underhill, you have predation. For us, it’s coyotes mostly. Maybe a fox sometimes. And there’s a bobcat in the neighborhood. I’ve not seen her, but she might like chicken, too.

I didn’t actually have a Wyandotte when I wrote this story. I am always on the lookout for them, though, because they are so pretty. We aren’t set up for chicks, so when we need to replace chickens, we get pullets – half-grown hens. I really loved the Wyandottes we had this past fall and through the summer. Alas, we’ve lost the lot of them to coyotes—several in one day. So our chickens are sometimes in their yard now. I’ve been hearing coyotes nearly every night as we near Halloween. And one very near the house last week that might have been a fox.

I love coyotes. I really love foxes. I do wish they’d lay off the hens, though.

In this story, the Coyote is a man. I hope you enjoy.

The story first appeared in Third Point Press.

Bonus video is one of my favorite Wyandottes.

One of my favorite things to do, when I have a free day, is to have a general idea where to go and what to do, but to take the most scenic or circuitous route to get there. Tim and I call it ‘sploring.

Last weekend I got to do some ‘sploring with my friend Lindy. Along the way, we stopped to admire the decaying beauty of several abandoned barns. And also some old barns that weren’t necessarily abandoned. The light was great, and Lindy got some good shots.

We drove past a few old car graveyards too. There’s something melancholic about seeing what was once someone’s pride and joy rusting gracefully into the the wildflowers.

Anyway, here’s a closeup of an old tractor’s front grill.

And a Gene Simmons poster in the bathroom hallway at Mase’s Place, where we stopped for a quick bite. Good food, we recommend.