Inside the barn with new chicken fort (left, middle)
and rabbit pen (wired area on left)

Who knows
what winter will look like
here
this year.
We may not have the historic
months of cold.
But we are getting ready
for cold days.
Ann has tenaciously
rearranged and re-barricaded
the barn
to make it accessible for us
and inaccessible
to predators.
She’s rebuilt the rabbit pen,
added bales of straw
and hung a tarp
for the animals’ protection
on the coldest days.
Too, it looks like wildlife
is going to be hungry.
Two years of exceptional drought
has diminished their food supply.
Coyotes come close
to our houses
and, now that we’ve moved
the remaining chickens indoors,
are killing cats.
Skunks are coming up
to the patio and porch
looking for food too.

Teenaged chickens and a guinea
have been moved from the high tunnel coop
into their new roosting quarters
inside the barn.
They have access to the barn
all day
and roost in the chicken fort
at night.

Inside the chicken fort, inside the barn

Baby chicks
at the indoor brooder
are outgrowing it
and will soon be moved
to the barn,
where they will remain
in a separate, heated, pen
with access to the chicken fort.

Growing Chicks and Guineas

We are living more deeply
into a philosophy,
given us by permaculture teachers
and organic growers
and wise elders with a land ethic:
we are part of a system,
a great web of life;
live life
so that all may thrive.
When faced with obstacles,
stay committed
to finding solutions
that help all thrive.
Don’t ever give up
trying to figure out
how to grow food
without chemicals.
Chickens and guineas
give us food,
improve the soil,
eat the bugs.
(And, we like their company.)
We’re not giving up on them,
and we will try as best we can
to keep these particular ones
from being food
for the coyotes
that howl all around us
at twilight,
the skunks that surprise us
when we step out
onto the porch
to see the stars
at bedtime.