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Farm notes: So long, sweet Harriet

Generally, I’m an embracer of winter. I love the crisp cold temperatures. The excuse to layer up and snuggle under the down comforter at bedtime. But this year, it’s wearing me down early and thoughts of spring and green and warm sun on my face are creeping in.

Probably one of the most annoying winter tasks at Woodlawn is the watering of all the animals–5 gallon buckets, carried two at a time, from where they are filled in the upstairs bathtub out to the different pens in the barn and chicken coop. Some days it takes two trips to get everyone watered.  And then when you finally get everything done in the morning, you know you’ll have to do it all over again in few more hours.

But generally, we have it easy. Just a few animals. None of the sheep are lambing. We have snow, but it’s completely manageable. It’s just cold. And annoying.

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But there was a sad casualty of the winter that has me feeling especially run down this year. After one of our coldest nights, my sweet peahen Harriet didn’t make it through. I’m still confused by what caused it. She’d been nesting in the rafters in the garage, going in to eat and drink with the chickens during the day, but perhaps it was all too much for her.


There are some animals on the farm that I grow especially attached to. And Harriet definitely fell in that category. She had a knack for checking on me, like clockwork every evening when I was in the kitchen making dinner. She’d jump up on the cellar roof and peek into my kitchen window beside the sink. Cocking her head at me to look at what I was doing inside. I’d talk to her, tap on the glass and eventually she’d jump down and make her way to the garage to roost for the night.

I was quite attached to our little routine and I’m so sad she’s gone.

She was a special one.

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