True stories of a small flock of remarkable individuals -- and other critters.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


When the weather report says "TORNADO WARNING" and the TV is beeping an alarm, you grab what's important to you and head for the basement.   
Let's see..  daughter,  dog,  laptop,  PopTarts.  

We were all hunkered down in the basement when I logged onto Facebook to announce the drama to friends and family.   Within seconds, folks from all over were responding, "WHAT ABOUT THE CHICKENS?"
That's exactly what I'd been thinking....
The TV assured us that the tornado was on a direct track to Upton, but wouldn't get here for another 15 minutes.   

Plenty of time.

"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" played in my head as I sprinted across the yard to rescue the girls.
When I got there, they fussed and asked me for treats.  I guess that living-in-the-moment gives a chicken no inkling of impending disaster.  I needed to move quickly, so I decided to leave the girls in the coop and prop the door open so they could escape if a tree fell on it.  But Lucy can barely walk, and would be smooshed under that tree.  So I snatched her up in a football hold and bolted back across the yard.

Safe in the basement, Sarah texted, Marky paced, and Lucy kept her opinions to herself.   
We ate Pop Tarts and watched the Weather Channel.

We were shocked to learn that this massive tornado made it all the way to Sturbridge before it petered out, leaving a big mess of property damage, and taking at least four human lives.   

We were fortunate to be a safe distance to the east.  

So-- danger had passed for us and we could see from the kitchen window that all was well in the back yard.  
But rain and lightning kept me from returning Lucy to the coop.
She seemed okay with that.

I set her on a little stool.  
Marky tried to make her feel welcome by sniffing her butt, in polite doggy manner.  
Lucy tried to act as if she didn't mind.

Marky likes Lucy because she's calm and doesn't make any quick moves.  
He was careful to keep from offending her by averting his eyes and maintaining an appropriate distance.  I think Lucy appreciated that.
To protect my little stool from chicken-poo, I carefully slipped a medical bill under Lucy's rear end.

I showed Lucy the sign I'd made recently.

Again, she kept her opinions to herself.

The skies eventually cleared and I returned Lucy to the coop where the ladies waited eagerly, fussing and asking me for treats.  

Sarah and I feel very sad for the people and animals harmed by the tornado....and   
so so happy to have things back to normal in Upton.


  1. So glad that you were all OK. Poor chooks, bet they wandered what was going on!!
    Hope the weather gets better for you now, we've been watching it closely as we've got family over in the US and have seen the mess it's been making! x

  2. Can you hear my *sigh* of relief?
    Stay safe!

  3. So glad to know you are all OK. I always worry about my chickens/turkeys/goats when we have bad weather. And you really did all you could in that circumstance. I'm so happy it ended well. I had to smile when I read you used a medical bill as a poop shield :) Marky is adorable and has very nice chicken manners - well except for the butt sniff, but there are some temptations just too great for a pup......

    LOVE the egg sign. You are so talented.

  4. Phew I am so glad your are all safe, Lucy looks absolutely beautiful. I do not live in tornado country and I am rather glad. I think I would have had all the chickens in the basement. Lucy looks as though she very much approved of the Eggs sign and Marky was a gentleman. I have worse case scenario syndrome and would have had a years supply with me in the basement! Not sure about the Poptarts though. I wondered how Sarah the chicken texted and wrestled with the relevance mentally, until I realised Sarah must be your daughter, doh! xxx

  5. Certainly glad you were safe! So glad to know you brought Lucy in. I almost took my baby goat down to the cellar last week when a big tornado whirled it's way through Oklahoma. I restrained myself only because there were 10 other people down there though.

  6. Yeah! Love the post Lauren! I love the illustration of the girls in the twister. Lucy is a true riot. You can tell she is really taking it all in. Also, and adorable sign for eggs. I also cannot get over that Marky does not bother your girls. Hugs and love from your friends on the Cape and so glad you are all safe from harm's way.~Melissa

  7. My chickens do not keep their opinions to themselves. I would not want to be in a tornado shelter with them.
    Did Lucy like the Pop Tarts?
    Glad you came away unscathed.

  8. What a scary experience! If it's bad enough to go to the basement, you must have been REALLY scared. I can't believe you were chatting on Facebook!

    Glad you're all safe...

  9. Perfect use for a medical bill! Glad you saved Lucy. I'd have a hard time fitting everyone here in my basement but I'd sure give it a try.

  10. My brother and his family live in Upton and I called them last night to be sure all was ok. The poor people in the western part of our state. Just devastating. So glad all is well at your house too.

  11. Whew! When I read someone asked about the chickens, I was like the peanut gallery yelling NO! Stay in the basement!! Your photos along with your post is so cute and funny the LOOK that Lucy gave after seeing the wooden chicken. I am so glad you and family are ok. I was surprised to see a tornado near you. Here in Missourah ya, but Boston?

  12. Hi Lauren,
    Wow who'd have thought you'd see a tornado way up your way! Now we here in Kansas get tornado warnings all the time but this has been one strange spring to say the least. I'm so glad your area was missed and that you and all your critters are ok. Your little Lucy is a real sweetheart and same with Marky. Your post was wonderful...made me laugh despite the fact you were hunkering down waiting for a tornado to hit. Stay safe and have a wonderful Friday!
    Maura :)

  13. So glad you all are safe. And, i just have to say it: I love Lucy.

  14. Thanks for keeping us posted and for the update. So thankful that it was not close to where you were. But what tragedy for some people.

  15. I'm pleased you where all safe in the storm - how scary was that!!!

    Lucy is a star - I would have brought her inside too ;-) and she looks so placid and content.


  16. Love the re-cap! We were concerned about our hens as well, but had to leave them to fend for themselves, which they did, unfazed.

    I especially love the medical bill under Lucy's rear-end. LOL!

    Scary moments - and feeling blessed that the twisters missed us. So tragic for others.

  17. Oh, I'm so glad you are all okay.

    PS: I LOVE your drawings. I even forward your blog to my DH. Who really isn't into the whole chicken thing but he always comments on how cool your drawings are. They are just so expressive. Keep them coming.

  18. Boy that must have been scary! Glad everyone is safe and you had no damage. Love the sign!

  19. So happy you updated your blog, even if you had to go through a tornado warning. We had warnings here too and I was sitting inside wondering if my flock would be ok. I love it that you ran out and saved Lucy and took pictures of the whole ordeal so that we could picture it :))) I too, got a laugh out of the medical bill protecting the barstool!!


  20. So happy you all are OK!!! Love to Lucy and all of her sisters. :)

  21. Great post, Lauren! Glad you are all okay.

  22. I think what I adore about your blog is that you help us deal with reality in a softened, protected-from-the-sharp-edges way. It's so very comforting, like having a bedtime story to see us through the night. Yes, there will be death (like when one of your girls passed away) and tornadoes, but your take on everything assures us all will be well eventually. Thank you, Lauren.