Saturday, September 7:


   I hate ‘em.

   Okay, sometimes I hate them.  Like when they keep getting and keep getting into the garden.  Danged birds.  The half-grown Australorps – good foragers?  good marauders! – can slip through the smallest gap in the fence, and will search assiduously to find it.  They can slip through three gaps, where we have layered woven wire over broken spots, and find each break in succession, like overcurious Greek youth tiptoeing through the Labyrinth.  If only I had a Minotaur to frighten the feathers off the – blessed – birds when they did get through.

    Sunday I sat down on the dry, packed garden path – no real rain in weeks – and just howled.  Sobbed.  And threw rocks.  Because on Saturday I built three of the most beautiful, symmetrical, richly-composted, smoothly-raked, painstakingly-seeded beds of carrots, a total of nine hundred row feet of Nantes-type, and, not being unaware of the diabolical cunning of those Australorps, carefully laid short lengths of chicken wire over each bed to foil any invaders.  And on Sunday, yards and yards of those beds had been scratched out from underneath the wire and strewn hither and yon.

   No.  We did not kill all the chicken.

   My loving husband came down and patched the fence for two hours.  And when the chickens continued to get in – curse the cunning of those black chickens! – he bought me three hundred feet of woven horse fence (bust the budget – price it), and over the rest of the week the boys pulled down the old wire and put up the new, resetting loose posts, replacing broken rails, and covering all the gates.

   And the small people are threatened with dismemberment if they so much as think about entering the garden without leave.

   Next year Shawn wants me to think about Leghorns.