Apparently there’s a snake in the hen-house. Looks like the hens had some stealthy company yesterday. The unwelcome guest left a bit of evidence behind for me to find this morning.
I searched under all of the nexts and behind the boxes and up in the rafters but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Sooner or later our paths are bound to cross, though.
The guilty party is a chicken snake, or black rat snake. They can get quite large. The last one I found stealing eggs and chicks was nearly the same length as I am tall, around 5’7″. The one that left the skin behind looks like it might be a bit smaller. Hopefully it won’t eat all of the chicks and eggs before I catch it.
Right now there are three hens setting eggs and unless I can find this snake before the chicks hatch, it doesn’t bode well. I’ll move the Americauna hen to the brooder with her clutch of eggs, since she’s been setting the longest and her eggs will hatch out first.
Predator and Prey, or the hunter and the hunted is a common theme throughout my fiction writing. No Qualms, one of my short stories (free at most retailers) is about about a predator/prey relationship. Symbiosis, my first finished novel, not published yet, deals with predator/prey relationships and the balance of energy among life on earth, sometimes symbolic and often outright. Many of my flash fiction stories (I have twitterfiction and 100-word flash stories) are also dealing with this same dynamic. This is a strong theme that runs through most of my fiction and is strongly influenced by life in the wild Ozarks where we live. My first published novel, First Hunt, also has a predator and prey theme to it. I guess it's just part of my nature.
Wild Ozark is 160 acres of beautiful wild Ozark mountains. I call what I do "nature farming" because the land produces, all by itself, the shagbark hickory trees, ferns, moss, ground-fall botanicals, and the perfect habitats for growing and stewarding American ginseng. I'm co-creating with Nature - all of the things I use to make the Fairy Gardens and Forest Folk, the bark we harvest for Burnt Kettle's shagbark hickory syrup, are produced by nature without my input. This land is my muse for inspiration when it comes to my writing, drawing, and photography. It's truly a Nature Farm.
About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods
I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.