I sleepily made breakfast for the kids, hoping I could get them settled with the babysitter early so I could slip down to the café before work. My dreamy thoughts of a bagel and cappuccino were interrupted by the chime of an incoming text message.
It was our babysitter, who lives downstairs. A raccoon had attacked our chickens during the night. She and her roommate had fought off the raccoon, but not before it had killed two of our three chickens. She recommended not letting the children in the backyard until I cleaned up the mess.
The problem with being a gentleman farmer is sometimes real farm life intrudes. Until now, our chickens had been low maintenance pets, providing us with eggs and making our city backyard look pastoral. Changing the straw in their coop was as messy as it got. Now I was searching the house for a cardboard box that would make a good coffin.
Outside, it was all feathers and death. I picked up a chicken that yesterday had been a beloved family pet and placed her eviscerated hull in the cardboard box.
Then I walked over to the other chicken and reached down.