March 8, 2014 – What a splendid day! I have come to enjoy the melodic tune that is the drip-drip-drip of melting snow. I stopped and listened as our flock enjoyed a lovely walk along the snow path. A few more afternoons like this and we’ll have to wear mud boots, but not today.
Sawyer and I were chatting with Tim next to the smelly bush when Hattie hustled over to tell us that Waffles was in trouble. It seems the younger hens, in search of dirt, had found their way over the snowbank and under the three-season porch. When they realized the ground was still frozen, they started looking for bugs inside garden items that had been stored there until spring. Waffles, the most industrious of the three, was stuck in the stovepipe of a chiminia.
I knelt down in front of the unplugged end of the clay smokestack, and peered into its darkened depth until I could see the whites of Waffle’s eyes. She was stuck alright. Stuck and scared.
“You know the chicken yard rules. Are you supposed to stick your head in this hole?” I asked, realizing afterwards it was not the time or place to review protocol. Waffle’s head was wedged in so tight, that she couldn’t open her beak to speak. Fear filled her beautiful eyes.
“It’s okay, Waffles,” I reassured. “I promise. We’re going to get you out in a jiffy.”
I turned for a moment to confer with Tim and Sawyer. We agreed this was a job for the scissor jack. First, we scored the outside length of the vessel with a pointy tool Mom had in the garage. Then, we instructed Waffles to close her eyes as we slipped the small jack into the open end of the chimney. Slowly we cranked the jack handle until we could hear the clay start to crack. A second later, and the entire top half of the flue broke away. Waffles had soot all over her face and neck, but it didn’t stop her from jumping up and hugging all of us in celebration.
We could have sat around grumbling at how rough this winter has been, but instead, we cleaned ourselves up in a pile of snow, and took a revitalizing walk into town for raspberry scones. A splendid day, indeed.