April 24, 2015 – We are all getting over the shock of losing Wilma. Grief is handled differently depending upon one’s own coping mechanisms. Tim has grown a beard – hold on… Peaches is handing me a note. Apparently, the growth under Tim’s chin is simply a swirly swath of worm mud. She licked it off of him and he has returned to his dapper self. Where was I…? Oh yes. How we are coping. Addie and Charlotte have been bickering all week and they never fight. Sawyer has cleaned our coop from top to bottom at least a dozen times. Maisy and Dottie took up fencing. So far they’ve added white pickets around the herb garden. It looks lovely. I have tried to keep busy with something to honor my late friend. Wilma wanted us to add a line of wine to the Happy Chicken Brewing Company, so today we took the first steps. Waffles, Betty, Violet and I went to the garden center not far from our house and purchased several premium grapevines which we planted around the perimeter of the chicken yard. We used compost that Wilma helped produce so that way she would be a part of the first harvest.
We don’t know anything about winemaking, except that we love grapes. It’s going to be hard not eating them, but we’re all determined to make this dream come true in Wilma’s memory. Emaline suggested that perhaps we take a class, or tour successful vineyards.
“We could go back to France!” said Sawyer.
“Or Italy!” offered Kelly Pickler.
“I heard that the folks in Australia make a wonderful Shiraz!” Hattie gushed.
“There’s always California,” said Addie thoughtfully. “We wouldn’t need a passport to go there.”
A valid point since Mom confiscated our passports. Remember the Nova Scotia incident last year, when Sawyer and I ended up on the wrong plane and landed in Paris, France? I do miss the chocolate croissants.
“All fine suggestions,” I acknowledged. “Why don’t we research the art of winemaking online first. Then we’ll have a better idea about what type of wine we want to make and where to go to learn the art.”
We felt better that we had a plan. Everyone was so enthusiastic about the newly planted grapevines that we argued who would care for them. Peaches made a chart assigning each hen a day and time for tending and nurturing this most special crop.
“If anyone sees a good-for-nothin’ feline so much as sniff one of these leaves,” Waffles snarled, “you have my blessings to shoot ’em in the keister with your crabapple slingshot!”
This made us laugh. Waffles was becoming more like her mother every day.
Tomorrow, Sawyer and I are heading over to the library for the book sale. Peaches convinced Addie and Charlotte to go with her to a yoga class. Emaline and Violet are taking the bantams on the trail behind the shed to hunt for bugs and grasshoppers – though I think it’s still too early for the latter. We are doing our best to move forward. Would Wilma be proud of us? Not at all. She’d be ticked to high heaven with all the yacking and carrying on. That’s how I know we’re on the right track.
Cheers to you, Wilma! Soon we’ll be toasting you with a label you inspired – Crabby Red Hen.
She would have loved the name.