So, Peanut died on Wednesday. We took her to the vet that morning where she extracted the fluid from her belly. The fluid was clear which means it wasn’t an infection. Most likely, a tumor. We talked about options and decided to bring her home with anti-inflammatories.
Andy left this morning for his dude ski holiday in Utah. The girls and I have had offers to join friends for meals and such but it feels right to just hunker here with quiet activities broken up by outdoor romps. We will make three peach pies (hoping for one perfectly perfect one) to be auctioned off for a Garden City Harvest fundraiser. I have made approximately 700 pies in my life so I don’t know why I feel nervous for this but I do.
I could tell Peanut felt relief with the fluid extracted but she wasn’t interested in eating or drinking. I carried her home in a towel and made her a little bed in our heated garage. She couldn’t stand up. I propped her feet under her and tucked her into fresh wood shavings, waiting for the meds to kick in. I tried to spoon water into her beak. I wondered if I should have euthanized, despite the vet’s recommendation. I petted her, my daughters petted her. She laid her head down, her breathing slowed until it stopped.
It’s chilly and gray outside. Crusty old snow forms smooth hills in shady corners but, mostly, the valley is blanketed in matted-down brown grass. I saw green growth in the field. I bought potting soil in a spring fit this week. I think we’ll start some lettuce and arugula in the sunroom.
I didn’t feel sadness until I said it out loud to Margot. It’s such a primal, omnipresent cycle that I witnessed. Peanut’s death was so relatable. We all — humans and chickens alike — want warmth, love, peace and snuggles.
I’ve been hiking and running a lot lately and it feels so good. It is nothing short of miraculous, that in-shape feeling. Strong and happy. My relationship with exercise has changed so much in the last five years. Then: scheduled, early morning, stopwatch, no music, just Alice and me, usually training for something. Now: irregular, whenever it works, recently reintroduced the stopwatch, no music, sometimes alone and usually with a combo of kid and/or dog, training for life.
We’ve lost several hens over the years but all to predators. This was markedly different for me. Margot wanted to tell Ruby who was about to fall asleep. We waited until the next morning. Just like Margot, Ruby wanted to see her and touch her. The desire to see the dead animal also existed when our hens were killed. Last summer I didn’t let them see the first carcass and I questioned that choice because they were both bummed and confused. The next carcass they discovered on their own and I was blown away at their response. Kids have such an awesome perspective and curiosity about death. It’s not scary or weird or taboo. It simply is. It is something to notice and respect. It is something to discuss and process. It is something to feel about, whatever those feelings look like. And, seeing it is an important part of their understanding.
We have a big weekend away next week, what with my handsome husband and his art opening in Spokane. When he finished his last painting last week, we could feel our entire life elevate and hum. Getting ready for this exhibit on top of full time work, parenting and all that we have going on has been a family effort. For months, Andy has painted from 4-6:30 in the morning before work and on the weekends. To give him that necessary space, I have been flying mostly solo on the homestead. It worked well, with a rhythmic predictability. And then, last Sunday, I woke up in the morning with my whole family in bed. We all got up together and hung out together. There was no pressure to hurry home from skiing so Andy could get his studio time in.
What an accomplishment, what a relief.
The title of his exhibit is Are We There Yet?, a tribute to a phrase we hear a whole heck of a lot from the back seat of our station wagon. All of his paintings are for sale and Andy will post them on his website after the exhibit opens.
ARE WE THERE YET?
13 paintings by Andy Cline
March 1-29, 2013
Kolva Sullivan Gallery
115 S. Adams St.
Opening reception: Friday, March 1, 5-8pm
By appointment: 509-458-5517
Can you come? We’d love it. Know people who might like to come? It would be awesome if you shared the exhibit info on facebook or elsewhere. HERE is a link with succinct and easily sharable exhibit details.
So proud of my man!
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In this week’s mamalode column I wrote about that fragile place where letting-go meets hanging-on. Specifically, with Ruby on skis. Click to read mama digs: let her go.
Wishing you all a wonderful, restful, loveful weekend.