he chickens are getting big. The other day, at 11 am, Mom, Dom and I were in the kitchen, when Mom screamed and raced out the door towards the coop. Dom asked me what I thought that was about, and I replied maybe she saw an animal by the chickens, and that we’d better follow her. When I got outside, Mom was trying to chase a weasel-like animal away from the chickens and she hollered for me to get a gun from the gun cabinet. When I found the cabinet locked and went back outside to ask where the key was, the animal was leaving through the alfalfa field and she said to forget it. It looked bigger than a weasel so my best guess was it was a mink. We spent the rest of the day with our eyes peeled for it to return, Dad set up a live trap that night, and the next day my uncle helped us sight in Dom’s air-rifle. Dad said there was certainly something wrong with the animal as they do not hunt at that time of day, but he vowed the mink would return.
A couple days later, Mom was giving the chickens water and feed when she heard the sound of a black walnut falling from the tree coupled with the grunt of a chicken. There is a quite old black walnut tree next to the coop that has always shaded the flock. Mom walked around the corner of the coop to find a chicken on it’s back. She watched as it tried to get up and failed several times. After struggling for an hour the chicken expired. She promptly butchered the bird, finding several of its ribs had been broken by the walnut. She wondered about the few chickens over the years that had died mysteriously and hypothesized that they had been clobbered by walnuts perhaps also. When my grandpa stopped by later that day, my mom told him about the walnut killing the chicken, and he scrunched his brow and asked, “Well did you look up into the tree to see if there was a weasel up there?”