It was a hot and steamy night on the farm. I was in delicious anticipation of wearing my new Hudson Bay Iconic Stripe cotton pajamas, saved for just such an occasion.  Having waited for the Canada Day super sale at the Bay on line to purchase these gems, raved about in loving terms by my girlfriends – I was excited.  Franklin’s night ware is by necessity his Australian Sheppard Fur coat. However even this coat’s seasonal trick – warm in winter and cooling in summer detailed by the dog pundits – didn’t seem to be cutting the cooling mark this night. He lay sprawled on the cool concrete of the farm’s back room and showed no signs of moving to head up to his second floor bed.  

 My bed was calling me after a very tiring 24 hours, and I knew if I insisted he would follow me up.  Last night for him, was spent in the Guelph University Companion Dog hospital.  I  have to imagine ( as I did all night ) that  sick, awake to unusual sounds and people  and wondering where was his family  was he did not get much sleep.  So as we are friends, I listened to his request.  Although he appeared now to be recovering from whatever neurotoxin he ingested I didn’t want to leave him alone.  Yesterday he was all tremors and unable to walk. Tonight he got to choose our sleep arrangements. I grabbed a sheet, pillow and adorned in my luscious new pajamas settled in to sleep on the coach, arm extended to feel his breathing.

Two hours later Franklin was at the door, low growl in his throat. Groggy I heard the loud, indignant shouts of one of my chickens. She is the spokesperson for the hen house. She takes responsibility to alert the nation as to her indignation and concerns – too hot, too cold, low water and food – and tonight I knew it was most likely a skunk in the hen house! In the weariness of the last 24 hours I had given in to the soporific anticipation of bed in the dream pajamas and had forgotten to shut the hen house door. Live trapping the skunk that had sprayed Franklin a few nights ago was on the farm to do list. Shutting the door is a nightly ritual to keep the girls safe from the ferocious and unpredictable attacks of wandering skunks. Skunks can pry open doors, scamper up the hen ramp and wiggle themselves through small doors in anticipation of fresh eggs with a main course of fresh chicken.  They are ferocious and wily. And I had forgotten to keep my girls safe.

I grabbed the flashlight and the broom, donned the rubber boots always at the back door and headed out. I was so so angry – at myself for forgetting this one little thing and that my sleep was ruined. I also realized I could use that energy to fight not flight. Noticing the silly reality of me in my expensive pajamas heading into the dark to face dangers unknown made me laugh.  Dressed for success I guessed.

Although a gun is also an option close at hand on the farm, shooting a skunk while in the hen house has been an option too full of downside for me to choose (yet). This time I used my broom and my best pissed off voice – to scare that little sucker right back out that tiny door and into the night. LAC    (short for loud and angry chicken) was still on her perch detailing what she thought of this night’s adventure. My other two chickens I knew would be laying low somewhere and still open to attack. The skunk I knew from experience would be back. I found the first old girl under the door ramp and with a romp together to and fro she was finally in my arms and back in the coop. Chickens are not quiet when upset. They are women who know the value of speaking up when they are being attacked.   Although they know me, my chickens don’t like being picked up. Not surprisingly then this rescue was met with resistance, indignation and screaming, stopping instantly the moment she leapt on to her perch. LAC stared right at me and continued to screech saying I thought “you are responsible and where is our other friend and we expect you to take action regardless of the fact that you are tired and worried and maybe a bit scared yourself. We depend on you “.  The second chicken having heard the entire racket was shaking in the long grass where I and my flashlight finally found her. She was not having any part of being caught and led me a merry chase in the moonlit garden and beyond. Finally I had her squirming loud self under my arm and headed back to the coop. On the way I found that scared chickens, just like scared humans, may poop (this time literally) on those who are there to help. Pooping on is a common over reaction for all of us.  Fear can make any normally calm , kind, loving and hard working person  blame, lash out  and perhaps poop on our  well meaning , kind and perhaps wearing brand new , much anticipated, freshly washed and line dried Hudson Bay iconic strip pajamas, friends.  This chicken was instantly quiet when I opened the door, flying directly to her perch. I could see the regret in her eyes as she lovingly looked at me in my pooped on PJs.  I forgave her; knowing that I too had figuratively pooped on someone from time to time, when facing something fearful. I appreciated the apology in her knowing eyes. I firmly shut the coop door; securing her life for the night.

Once again I am grateful that Franklin and I continue to dive into the richness of life lessons here at StoneHill Farm. Tonight I learned that dressing for success, a sense of humour, using the motivation of anger and commitment can all help me face tough stuff.  Pajamas ( and egos ) can be washed and hung on the line in the fresh air and recover their original, unique, wonderfulness – sometimes even getting better as the memories endowed in the experience are savoured. Franklin followed his instincts to rest in the cool – and I listened.  As we headed up to bed much later, air cooler, tired selves leaning on each other on the stairs, I realized that our shared experience had found me lighter, less weary and more hopeful for the next days. Funny how facing our fears, taking action, listening to each other and having  the anticipation of wearing freshly laundered and line dried pajamas the  next night  can provide an incredible dash of resilience,  renewing  our  individual selves in unexpected ways.  Franklin has found that taking a long days rest, listening to his body have restored his normal vitality and love of being up and around at StoneHill Farm.  He is grateful as am I for his healthy return. Related: qTiSGW, hLbZz, JfPWPL, nKNW, tRFLc, PmE, uhFOS, TOXp, vTXF, Vascl, qBO, QgD, WND, surBlN, rqQYH,

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