Week 16: Phoenix Rising

You may remember a post a couple of weeks back about a hen named “Rabbi Gargoyle,” who was missing and presumed consumed for several days – before showing back up unharmed one fine day.

Well, she’s back in the news again.

Last Tuesday night, we heard her being murdered in the woods. A horrific chicken cacophony, crashing sounds through the brush down the hill toward the coop – where all the other birds were locked up safe – but where the Gargoyle had been sleeping on her eggs, unprotected in the woods.

I threw on a robe as I ran down the hill screaming “ANIMAL! GET OFF!” or something similarly ridiculous. But by the time I got there, her squawking had gone silent, and the nest still held eggs, but no Gargoyle.

scene of the crime

A few feathers were all I could find when I searched the surrounding woods, clucking and calling to no response. Sadly, I gathered up the remaining eggs – I knew the blue ones were her own, so I placed them under other broody hens in the coop, and told Kristin and Marty that the Gargoyle was dead.

But! In the morning she showed up for breakfast, clucking and clearly upset that her nest had been emptied. My best guess is that a deer came through and almost stepped on her, or perhaps a possum came nosing around – and the crazy racket had been her on the attack, chasing something away through the dark undergrowth. So I put her eggs back, showed them to her, and left her to settle down.

The next day I went to check on her – and found two fluffy baby chicks peeping and stumbling around her! Figuring there would be more hatching still, I left her in peace for one last night in the woods, before I’d move the brood down into the truck topper nursery coop.

Or so I thought. When I went to check on them the next day, I was horrified to discover an empty nest. Even the eggs were gone … some eggshells, and one dead chick flattened in the nest. No sign of the Gargoyle, or any chicks. I searched the surrounding woods, the chicken yard, all over. Nothing.

So I brought the bad news back to the crew – it was heartbreaking to lose the whole group, after the scare we’d just had, knowing that I could have moved them to safety sooner, that I had cost a family of our birds their lives by waiting for one more night and believing that “what will be will be” would be a happy ending.

Late in the afternoon, I had a sudden urge to go down and check on the flock, feeling edgy about the presumed predator lurking nearby.

In the chicken yard, inside the fencing we use to segregate the babies from the adults, waiting outside the door to the nursery coop, sat Rabbi Gargoyle, surrounded by six peeping fluffballs.

For the third time, she had shown up happy and healthy after having been written off as certainly dead. And thus the hen with two names gained another, becoming Rabbi Gargoyle Phoenix – the bird who rises up from death’s ashes.

Otherwise, it was a busy, pleasant week. My Dad and his wife visited, we harvested lots of things, salvaging from yet another frost.

Oh! And our two most recent WWOOFers left – and provided us a lovely array of farm photos from their visit, taken by Charlie the Photojournalist Student. I think they really capture what life here has been for us lately, so you might want to check them out here.

Inside Box 16

  • Salad Mix – green ruffled lettuce, red & green tatsoi, arugula, and mizuna
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bok Choi
  • Beets
  • Onions
  • Acorn Squash – Jester & Thelma Sanders varieties
  • Microgreensradish, kale, or kohlrabi
  • HerbsMexican tarragon & Thyme
Mexican Tarragon
Mexican Tarragon

One thought on “Week 16: Phoenix Rising”

  1. The rise of the Phoenix hen is one of the best stories I’ve read in awhile – love it! Gorgeous pics of the farm too. Wow!!

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