April 28, 2015 – Saturday’s book sale at the library was a huge success. So were the raspberry scones that Sawyer whipped up for the baked goods table. People raved about them. A lovely woman by the name of Eleanor, invited Sawyer to join a club called the Red Hat Society. It’s a friendship club. Eleanor said that because Sawyer’s wattle and comb are a brilliant scarlet hue, she wouldn’t need to purchase a hat. She would only need to bring a batch of her delicious scones to every get together. Eleanor was positive that with her recommendation for membership, Sawyer would be a shoe-in. Sawyer was honored by the invitation, but graciously declined unless all of her sister hens could also be nominated. Eleanor smiled and said, “what a pity,” before turning her attention to a plate of whoopee pies at the far end of the table.
We were almost late for the start of the book sale. I invited our friends from Mrs. Turner’s farm to join us at the fundraising event. Rosemary the dairy cow, Vivienne the pig, and Gertrude the goat agreed without hesitation. They decided to meet us in front of Coop #3, so we could drive over together in the pickup truck. Upon their arrival, Gertrude immediately noticed the new crop of grape vines we planted around the chicken yard. She began to feast upon the few young leaves that had begun to sprout from the woody stems.
“SPIT THAT OUT OR DIE!!” bellowed Maisy, spying the voracious eater from the window of Coop #2.
Poor Trudy was horror-stricken by Maisy’s outburst. Understandably, she perceived the eruption as a loving attempt to save her life.
“Good Lord!” Trudy screeched, pursing her lips, then dragging her tongue across her teeth in a desperate attempt to spit out the leaves. “Are they poisonous?” she choked. “They are, aren’t they?! Why in heaven’s name would you plant poisonous shrubs around your pen? It’s to fool the felines, isn’t it?” she babbled, shaking her head in disbelief. “Why didn’t you warn me?! Would a sign have been too much?!” She took a few steps backwards and started to sway. Clearly, she thought, the poison had taken its hold. “It won’t be long now,” she gasped, wobbling sideways and then falling with a heavy thud to a theatrical death into the center of the smelly bush. She must have realized after several seconds that she was still breathing, because she opened one eye and glanced around, amazed that the poison leaves had not yet claimed their victim.
“You weren’t poisoned, Trudy,” I laughed, holding out a wing to help her up. “With any luck, those vines will produce the grapes we’ll use in our Cranky Red Hen wine. It’s a tribute to Wilma.”
“Oh. Terribly sorry, everyone,” Gertrude said dusting herself off. “If it’s any consolation, they tasted quite good… exquisite really. I expect you’ll have a terrific product once the harvest comes in. If you need any pruning along the way, I’m your girl.”
“Duly noted,” I chuckled.
“How have things been between you and the house feline anyway?” she asked.
I admitted that only the night before, I spied on Sugarplum with my night vision glasses through the window of Mom’s office. Unfortunately, the cat saw me. She slinked up to the window and peered into the long end of my binoculars. It was a terrifying image. Her eyes were steely, yet burned as if molten green lava flowed behind the lids. I dropped the field glasses to the ground and nearly fell off the bucket I was using as a ladder. The cat laughed and walked away as if I were nothing but a bothersome fly. A fly. I eat flies! You hear that cat?!
I started to shake, thinking about that moment with Sugarplum. My wattle stood straight up on my head. Trudy said afterwards, that she’d never seen anything like it. That’s why she spit in my eye. To get my mind off of cats. The only thing worse than felines…? Goat spit.
The rest of the day was delightful. The book sale was a smashing success.