It’s been a couple of weeks packed with transition for all of us out here at the cabin. The chickens are out of the tent, Ed is buried and Herbie is acting like he never has before. We’re all making adjustments and getting on with life, even though the bone-chilling temperatures haven’t always made it that easy. The chickens are getting better about laying eggs again after their days in the tent. It took a few days but Whitey finally started laying again and Blondie has dropped a couple of eggs too. Brownie never really stopped.
Two days after Ed died, I decided that I needed to bury him. It had been a long weekend, with Ed passing, then me being occupied in a weekend long task. But that Sunday night I made the effort to bury Ed.
I was worried that with the lack of snow and cold temperatures that I would not have an easy time burying Ed. I also needed to decide on a place to put him that would not be in danger of being torn up at some point in the future when Amy decides to build a house out here.
I decided on putting him the lower field, in full view of my cabin. When he was out and about in the summer, he spent a lot of time in the lower field chasing butterflies and bugs. That’s where the blueberries are, and where I had found the old horseshoe pit. It seemed as good a place as any, and since I was going to have to do some heavy digging, I figured it was better if his grave wasn’t located too far from the cabin.
Even though the sun was down and I was exhausted from hiking all day, I grabbed the spade shovel and post-hole diggers and set out. There’s a large cherry tree in the middle of the lower field and I decided to put him under that. I should have grabbed the hatchet to work on roots, but needless to say, my mind was a little distracted.
I scraped the snow off down to the ground and made a big push with the shovel. To my pleasant surprise, the ground was not frozen. Turns out a full day of rain and forty degree temps made for some easy digging. I also somehow miraculously managed to not hit any major roots of the tree. It was easy going physically, tough going mentally.
After digging down a few feet, I walked back to the cabin and got Ed. He was in a cardboard box, and I wanted to make sure the hole was deep enough. The very last thing in the world I wanted to do was have to re-bury him after finding his body dug up by some scavenger.
The hole was deep enough, and I filled it back in with the loosed soil and some stones. I decided to add a large rock to the top of the grave to help deter wild animals. I knew that a small boulder about two feet across was loose and just sitting on top of the ground about twenty feet away. I had checked this boulder during the summer, thinking I was going to move it to put the chicken coop there, so I knew it would move.
It may have been easy to move initially, but once it was out of its little hole, it was much harder to move. It wouldn’t role across the snow, instead sliding a few inches at a time, even when I pried on it with the five foot rock bar. Honestly, it took me longer to move the rock than it did to dig the hole. All the while I was crying, not making this task any easier.
I finally got the rock into position, and felt a little better. I stood there until my hands were numb and went back inside. I had noticed Herbie walking around and looking over his shoulder a lot, probably looking for Ed, and didn’t want to leave him alone for too long.
I climbed into bed a little while later and Herbie came right up to my face for some petting. He curled up next to my head for a few minutes, and then made his way under the sheets to snuggle. This was the first time in a decade that Herbie had done this. I guess he figured we could hang together and maybe it would be a little easier on both of us. Or maybe he was just basking in the extra attention he was getting.
Pico, however, hasn’t seemed to notice. He’s got me to jump and chew on, and I think he’ll be happy as long as that is an entertainment option for him. I still miss Ed, but after a couple of weeks it has gotten easier. I find myself looking out at the boulder and stones marking Ed’s grave, and miss him greatly, but between the chickens, Herbie, and Pico, I have plenty of other animals to keep me busy.