I never knew how interesting and fun chickens could be until I inherited several from my son. The one who captured my heart was Goldie, an aging Auracana hen. Here’s a picture of Goldie, perched on the fence, about to make her escape from the coop. She always went back, but often during the day, she could be found exploring the yard. One summer we found a nest under a bush where she had stashed 11 of her eggs. I liked her company when I went out to weed in springtime. She would pluck worms out of the wet dirt before I even saw them. She followed me from place to place. If I stopped digging, she looked at me quizzically, questioning the pause. No sloughing off while she was around. I haven’t weeded as well since she died, the victim of a predator. I was heartbroken to find her body early one morning. This was almost 3 years ago and I can still feel the horror I felt. We buried her and, in my emotional state, I wrote her an epitaph:
EPITAPH FOR GOLDIE, died October 8, 2012
Goodbye wily adventurer,
Lightning worm snatcher,
Mistress of cracked corn.
You were a chicken like no other.
I can see you worm spotting
Your beak close to my trowel,
At my leg, demanding your corn hand fed,
Bustling and hustling and running to meet me.
You gave me great joy. Thank you, Goldie.