Letter from Trinity Center, California
You Rittenhouse Square co-op guys might not have noticed, but out here in the suburbs, the exurbs, and in the remote mountain hermit shacks we build chicken coops and raise chickens.
Last spring I joined the Chicken Revolution and made a chicken coop out of the old outhouse, took pictures all along, and I was thinking of making a web-site to send a link to BackyardChickens.com.
If you remember, the last time we talked I was coming back from a vin-ordinaire tour of Normandy that ran through Easter. At the San Francisco airport I got an e-mail from my neighbor who was collecting the eggs, reporting that the bear had come on Easter night and eaten all the chickens.
The rooster, Louis, survived the first night, and another neighbor heard about it and came by and set up a remotely-triggered wildlife camera to get pictures of the bear when he came back to eat Louis. Given a choice of neighbors, I would have preferred one that would catch the rooster and keep him in the garage until I got back, but the bear pictures are a reasonable consolation prize.
So here are the bear pictures. That's a big bear, for this neighborhood. The old outhouse is five and a half feet high at the back end and 44 inches wide. Hope he enjoyed the damn chickens.
Next dispatch I will explain the new electric bear-deterrent devices, and going to the gun store to get a new gun in case I have to shoot this guy. I sold my deer rifle about fifteen years ago, never having shot a deer with it and having realized that I didn't want to shoot things all that much.
Have you been in a gun store lately? It's gotten to be almost as bad as going into a music store, a bunch of guys hanging around disapproving of your qualifications for picking up an instrument. Most of the merchandise is military-style stuff designed to deal with whatever Obama is bringing down on our heads, plus the Arabs. It's hard to find a bear gun, it's just a bunch of weird fat guys in camo standing around talking about high-capacity magazines and laser sights and pistol grips for their post-apocalypse weapons. Back in the day it was the same fat guys, but at least they were talking about shooting animals and about recipes for squirrel burgoo, and a white guy was assumed to be a descendant of Minutemen. The only real difference is that the gun manufacturers must be getting insane rich.
Anyway, here are the bear pix. That's my rooster Louis that he's fixing on eating, if he can pound on the top of the coop long enough to get Louis to run down to the bottom where he can grab him.
Letter from Philadelphia
Remember, I used to live on a fifty-acre spread in northeastern Connecticut. Back then, the Carreño-ettes got it into their heads that they were going into the egg business -- on my dime. OK, I'd buy the laying hens (chicks), they'd raise them in a coop I built near the barn, and they'd sell their farm-resh eggs at school. (The teachers were eager buyers).
The hens went alayin', and all was well. Particularly with Thelma, from whom we sometimes were able to extract two eggs in one day.
Then came Mr Fox. One, two hens down.
I secured the coop.
Another hen gone. Finally, Thelma got nailed.
So much for the kids' egg business.
But Mr Fox finally got his. I found his entrails one day. Dogs, probably.
Anyway, never met a fox I liked. Why these anti-foxhunters whinge, I'll never know.