we lost Washington, our silver aracauna hen, today. i’m fairly certain a coyote got her. the birds were free-ranging during the day–i let them out about 10, and we went to put them back in the coop around 7pm and found 6 birds, not 7, and a feather-trail leading towards the west of the property. there were no untoward noises during the day–no squawking or anything–i was working on increasing the weatherproofing on the yurt all afternoon, and didn’t hear anything unusual. we cooped up the visible birds and followed the trail to where something had dragged her through a hole in the fence and onto Gherardi Farm property next door. we didn’t follow it further; it was clear that those were her feathers, and equally clear that we were not going to find anything we wanted to see at the end of that trail.

Washington may have been the stupidest chicken in our flock, but she was also one of the most engaging and amusing, with the most defined personality, and she will be much missed.

i couldn’t bring myself to cook her last egg this evening. she laid distinctive olive-green eggs with freckles of excess calcium, and occasionally, the funniest-looking eggs i’ve ever seen, which termed “bokok-owch!”

Washington

Simultaneous to this, we discovered that another rabbit had kits today. it’s the new zealand white this time; there was clear evidence that she’s the new dam. we went out tonight to separate the new mother and kits, and put them in their own hutch; it feels like four other does in the same hutch, one of them also currently nursing (and exhibiting dominant behaviors to the other adults), would endanger the new ones. there are five new kits (aside from the three in the older litter). this more-than-doubles our count of bunnies, all told. we then caught every doe in that pen and verified that they are, in fact, does. this seemed prudent. they are. we also verified that at least one more of them, and possibly two, (of a total of 5) are pregnant. this means that possibly every one of these creatures was pregnant when we received them. we had one stillborn litter a couple weeks ago, the now-getting-cute litter a bit over one week ago, and this today. rabbits have a 28-30 day gestation period, and we have owned them for 25 days. their pregnancy was either not known to the person who was giving them to us (quite possible) or not disclosed in the interest of shuffling the problem off on somebody else. i hope not.

here’s all our moms, eating kosha:

we just had a lengthy conversation this morning about how we are going to improve the hutches & runs before doing any more breeding. we even scheduled the purchase of supplies, and a day to borrow Lydia (‘s resident teenager, a capable and intelligent young woman who is interested in doing volunteer work on the farm) next week, to do the work on the run. and then this. i’m inclined to regard an increase in baby bunnies as mixed news anyhow–i’m not entirely pleased by this–and to lose a hen on the same day is just too dismaying.

just to complete the triad (doesn’t everything move in threes?) and i are getting handfasted tomorrow. a birth, a death, and a wedding–apparently in that order. we are doing our year-and-a-day ceremony–a very small, private ceremony here on the land. then we’re splitting to the Ojito Wilderness for the rest of the weekend. next year around this time we’ll do our as-long-as-the-love-shall-last ceremony, and make a big public deal out of it.

and that should be our focus. we’re already married to the farm, after all. we made our broom (to jump over) and garlands to wear earlier this week, and got the cords for the handfasting. Anita finished my dress last week, and we found suitably beautiful clothes for . Brittany came over and decorated me lavishly with henna last night, which was lots of fun, and is darkening prettily. Jesse Coyote made splendid rings for us (on commission, like the dress & the henna, and, like both, quite inexpensive for their beauty and worth). today spent the day in the kitchen, cooking camping food for our post-ceremonial outing, while i further waterproofed the yurt and did some packing, after which we canned the last 8 pounds of cherries we harvested last week. 13 jars of sweet-tart cherry jam are cooling on the counter now. All is in readiness. including cosmic omens, apparently.