* We had a mean little chicken. She was very little. She looked like a little brown dove, but so mean. Every day, when I went out to feed her, she would peck at me. She jumped up and pecked my legs over my boots. I couldn't stand it. Every day! Pain! Finally, Thursday morning, I grabbed that little chicken by the neck and put her in a cage. I had things to do. I left her there. Later in the day, I got my big knife, the one Grandpa Alvin gave me (he was a chef at Mel's drive in in San Francisco.) I asked Z (age 8), "would you like to witness a brutal murder?"
"Well," she said, "Yes. Yes, I would."
And so she did.
We went out to the killing tree. The day was warm. The cone was ready. I had to pick my way through the poison parsnip through to the cone. I had the chicken by the legs. I put her in the cone, but she was too small. I apologized before I slit her throat. As I returned her to the karmic cycle, head thrown to the bushes, she slipped through the cone, and headlessly bounced around the grass. Cloudy the sheep came to take a look. Cloudy has four giant horns. Cloudy said,
"Bah." (What else would he say?)
"Can I touch the dead chicken?"
"Yes," I said, "But I think it might move."
She walked up to it, and it did move, headless though it was.
"Wow," she said.
"You know," I said, "there is a saying, 'don't bite the hand that feeds you.' That chicken won't be biting me, any more."
* Z (age 8) will be showing our sheep, Candy Darling, at the county fair. Every day, we walk out and catch that silly little sheep, and Z puts it on a leash and walks it around the pasture, practicing for her fair presentation. I have never even watched a sheep at a county fair, but every day, Z asks me questions, and I have no answers. I do have some faith, however, in the goodness of a girl and her favorite sheep. Are blue ribbons in order? Perhaps not. But, you know, you have to spend your time doing something. Why not walk a sweet little sheep around in circles? Our sheep are so rare, we have to be in the "exotic animals" category.