The circle of life

"Felix is eating the broccoli strunks," I said to Sam. He looked at me. "Who?""Felix.

“Felix is eating the broccoli strunks,” I said to Sam. He looked at me. “Who?”

“Felix. The bull calf. He and his mom are back, so I thought they might as well get names now.” We had enjoyed about 10 days of mooselessness, with only one brief visit. Now apparently, the cow and calf had moved back in with us. It was wonderful to have them around, but moose are like all visitors: the first day, you’re all revved up with excitement because they’re there, the second day you’re just plain happy and on the third day, all the little extra arrangements are starting to wear on you a little bit.

“And what are you calling his mom?” Sam wondered.

“Ethel,” I said. “Somehow it fits her. Anyway, he’s standing right in the garden beds and eating the broccoli!”

“So what? Are you worried because you are feeding wildlife?”

“No, but the broccoli strunks are for the chickens. And he and Ethel are blockading the chicken coop again.” Of course, out of the 24 hours in a day that they could choose for feeding, they had it down to the minute again: pruning the willows and now the broccoli by the chicken coop exactly at feeding time. Just as during their previous week-long stay with us.

“The chickens are useless anyway. They don’t lay any eggs despite all your pampering. Let the moose eat the broccoli – they’re welcome to it.” Ah, now he had touched the sore point. Eggs.

“They do lay eggs,” I retorted. “Just not right now.” It being winter, you see. Lack of light and that sort of thing. I sighed and put the feed bucket down, still full of chicken dinner. Well, the dinner for the chickens. I would try again later.

We took the dogs out for a round instead, exercising extra caution because of the moose. How long would the moose stick around this time? Their visits would be a lot more fun, I felt, if they would rather come more frequently and stay for shorter periods of time. Like a one-day visit every four days or so. We had just managed to establish a normal sleep pattern again after the week of numerous 3:30 am wake-up calls by the dogs, due to the moose feeding in front of the cabin. Why couldn’t they feed over at the chickens’ at that time instead?

Half an hour later, I gamely tried advancing on the chicken coop again. Ethel and Felix were still around, but thankfully not right at the hen house anymore. They stared at me over the chewed-off remnants of a runty Saskatoon bush.

“The return of Chicken Woman!” I sang to them, waving the feed bucket for emphasis. “Chickies! Little chickens!” I paused for the chickens to answer, as they always do. Silence. “Chickens! Dinner time!” No reply. This was odd. Had the moose scared the chickens? Surely, they should be used to them by now. With an uneasy feeling, I walked past the moose to the chicken enclosure. Not a single hen out in the run – and then I saw the lynx.

“Hey!” I yelled and started running, hunting around for something to throw. The lynx turned and leaped through the snow, looking back at me over his shoulder. I reached the fence of the enclosure – everything intact, though pretty dented. Through the open door of the coop, I saw the huddled hens craning their necks. “Yeah, it’s me. Just have to chase the lynx away.”

I dropped the feed bucket, made a snow ball and hurled it at the lynx, who had stopped in his tracks to look at me. Sadly, I missed. My gym teacher would not have been surprised.

With big jumps I ran after the cat, snow filling the tops of my gum boots. When the lynx had retreated, I stalked back to the hungry chickens. The two moose were looking at me inquisitively. This was an interesting new development, they seemed to think. I fed and watered the subdued hens, locked the coop tightly and with a last look in lynx direction and a nod to the moose, went back to the cabin.

“Now there was lynx over there as well! He dented the wire of the run pretty good but didn’t break through,” I informed Sam.

“Oh, let him eat the useless chickens, since I’m not allowed to eat them. The bull calf is eating the chickens’ broccoli and maybe next fall, we’ll eat the bull. It’s all the great circle of life,” Sam said. And in a confused kind of way, it was.

Lisa Hasselbring is a writer who lives at the headwaters of

the Yukon River south of Whitehorse.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read