Well, if what we have remaining can be called a farmyard, anyway.

On Sunday we took a drive about an hour away and bought two close-to-laying pullets. They and I are going to race: to see which comes first, the baby or the eggs. One is a Black Star, “Roses,” according to Little Monkey. The other is a beautiful Buff Orpington called “Goldie” by Big Sister. It should be Goldie III actually. The first Goldie was one of our chicks. It stood out as more curious and less frightened than any others, and it’s chick-fuzz was a lighter hue than it’s compadres. As s/he aged, we could no longer distinguish Goldie from the rest. I suspect Goldie was a rooster that ended up on the table or even morphed into Red. The next Goldie was the only distinguishable hen of our flock. She was officially a Rhode Island Red, but instead of the pure rust-colored feathers, hers sported a beautiful pattern on each feather, giving her a speckled/fish-scales appearance, like a wyandotte. She of course was one of the casualties of last week’s raid. Now we have a third Goldie, who in fact is gold in color. The healthy, existing hens (one RIR and one Barred Rock) have taken up with Aflac (whom they could not stand before) and they run as a trio. Roses is living in the raspberry bushes, and the tamer Goldie has been put in the chicken pen with the injured hen. She does not know the ways of the older hens and hasn’t gotten out. In any case, the old hens are not particularly friendly to the newcomers, and but I think their attitudes might be only the beginning.

When Hubby left for work this morning around 7:00 a.m., Buni was politely sitting on the porch. The last couple days she hasn’t needed tied up to keep from following after his work truck. Shortly after 9:00 a.m. the girls went out to play, and at 11:00 we got in the car to run to the post office. I asked where Buni was, and they had not seen her. At all. All day. I was concerned, as it’s been cooler and she hasn’t needed to hide out under the porch as much. We couldn’t find her anywhere, and stopped at a few neighbors’ houses to ask if they’d seen her. None had, but they promised to keep an eye out. We did our errand, and returned, and still no Buni. I searched the driveway for puppy prints in the dust. I searched by the ditch for puppy prints, or evidence she might’ve wanted a swim. I searched where Hubby buried the victims of last week. No puppy prints in the dust anywhere. By 2:00 I was pretty upset. I don’t even want a dog, but after last week’s poultry episode I was in no condition to deal with more losses around here. Darn these pregnancy hormones! I called the animal shelter, and they said a 10-week-old pup, if found, was as likely to be snatched away as brought in. I started making up a flyer, and though my nifty printer is only black and white, it did a very nice print of Buni’s face. I printed out 20 copies (and didn’t feel bad, as it’s so economical), and after selling some Mary Kay to a customer who dropped by, we set out in the car. I stapled flyers on both sides of about a mile’s worth of road before stopping at a nearby vet clinic (yes, the same one where last week I stopped in much distress to ask about Evil Rampaging Dogs) to show the flyer and asked if perhaps she’d been hit and brought in. I spoke to a vet tech (yes, the same one with whom I spoke in much distress last week – I’m surprised the door wasn’t barred), and she asked about a red collar (yep – even written on the flyer) and that they might know where she was. I asked if she was ok, and she replied that she was. That her mother had found a sopping wet brown puppy with a red collar along the road that morning. And her mother lives almost across the road from me. I was so relieved! And annoyed that I have yet another thing to care for and worry about! We drove over there, and sure enough, she came out from their patio wagging her tail. She even licked my face (ew!). The gentlemanly old fellow at home was glad to have found her owner, and we were delighted to call Daddy and let him know his pup was safe. She had apparently traversed the 1/4 mile-long pasture up to the road, jumped into and out of the ditch without being killed, and was in that area when the gal found her.

We brought her home, loved and played with her, and tied her up. I looked out the window a few moments later to see her at the end of her cable, and Aflac and the two hens about 6 feet beyond her. They were lined up side-by-side and facing her with disgusted looks that said, “Didn’t we deal with you already?”

And of course, this dog who “isn’t my responsibility,” and who wore me out affixing flyers to telephone poles surrounded by thistles, now requires me to remove said flyers from said poles in said thistle-patches.

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