Stephanie Strothmann: Gertie — a life well lived


It’s never easy when a columnist passes.

Those who have read their lives and followed along feel like they too have experienced a loss. In this case, this columnist was a chicken whose name was Gertie.

Gertie, however, was not like any other chicken. She experienced more in her eight years on Earth than some people do in a lifetime. She created art one year by dipping her toes in finger paint and trapesing across white paper to form a sketch (or was it scratch), which was framed and prominently displayed in the living room.

She had her nails painted one year in Christmas colors of green and red and willingly allowed herself to be photographed with Santa Claus, though I’m sure said “Claus” was less than amused for holding a bird. Perhaps she asked him that year for some of that mealworm tea.

She made herself known throughout her eight years, having had many interactions with humans who had experienced her friendly demeanor by gently pecking treats from folks’ hands or just coming up to the fence to say hello. Though she was friendly, she always displayed herself royally. Her feathers were always deep gold and always kept as neat and tidy as possible.

Some of her funnier moments were when she played chase with the Boston Terrier Luna, who has since gone to the other side, at her first home in Columbus. Or one afternoon, she even wore a small backpack that contained a mini first aid kit that was given from a hospital health event. It was the perfect size for a chicken, and the CEO of the hospital even got a kick out of it.

Gertie was the kind of chicken that ate up the attention and was always willing to say her piece. The barnyard will feel different without her keeping the rest of the hens in line and being first to strut up to whatever treat offerings were placed in the run.

A chicken’s average lifespan is five to 10 years, so it feels incredibly lucky to have had her for so long. Of course, like all things that we love, I wish it could have been longer. She made it to her eighth birthday, and I guess that’s probably around 80 years old. She did not suffer and went very peacefully in her sleep. Oh that we all could be so blessed.

Gertie’s musings may have stopped, but I’m sure another animal will find its voice in the future and keep the dialog going the way it truly is on the farm.

Rest in peace, Gertie.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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