Yesterday we purchased four new brown chickens to fill the gaping hole and quietness that losing so many leaves behind. I still can’t believe Rasputin the rooster is gone. The evidence is piling up though. His beautiful green feathers blowing around in the secret garden mean that there is little doubt about the place of his demise.

At dusk last night I thought I heard a fox-like animal crashing through the sheoaks. The ducks refused to come off the dam as though they knew something was out there. I couldn’t find anything though and started to doubt myself and suspect fox paranoia. At 1.30am I got up to the dogs barking and checked on the ducks (still safe on the dam) but didn’t see any clever eyes shining back at me in the torchlight.

This morning at 8.30am, Elf started growling at the lounge window. I went over and looked along her line of sight which led to the sheoaks and sure enough, there was a rusty smudge in the trees. I ran to get my glasses which translated the rusty smudge into a fox. Seconds later and we were out there with wooden spoons and pan lids chasing it away. It’s an age old tradition – wooden spoons and pan lids to scare foxes. I’m certain for centuries women like me have been grabbing their kitchen utensils and running around their houses in their pajamas chasing foxes. It’s some sort of primeval instinct – it must be, I don’t remember planning my weapon grab. The only problem is that I didn’t adapt the technique for the 21st century and my stainless steel lid broke the wooden spoon.

Richard has set a cage (live) trap to see if we can capture the fox. I don’t want to think about what will happen if we catch it. I’ll be in love with it, I know that much.

Today we spent a lot of time in the chicken coop making small inroads into making it secure, tidying it up, and generally just making our new chickens feel welcome. We’ve sectioned off some of the yards and I’ve put some of my chicken/cow manure compost brew down and some radish and pak choi seeds to see if I can grow the new girls a little food forest. This is because for the time being they will have to spend a lot of time ‘behind the wire’, except on weekends when we are there to watch over them.

Next week at the auction I’ll be looking out for a new handsome rooster to look after our new ladies.


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