Last Monday, we buried Ruby in a quiet part of our garden. For a chicken, she was a determined little thing, and she put up a good fight against egg yolk peritonitis—she’d recovered from it twice before. But not this time.

At the vet’s office, I’d wrapped her in a soft green pillowcase, and that’s what we buried her in.

It was an extremely short ceremony. It doesn’t take long to dig a hole big enough for a chicken, and we didn’t have anything to say. I mean, she was a chicken. As much as I liked this chicken, the fact of her dying has made me realize how normal this is. I liked her, and our remaining four chickens will still get good treatment from us, but I won’t be crying over any of them when they die.

Jim had a good line, actually. “Feathers in a pillowcase.” I had to laugh. He shoveled in the dirt, we looked at the mound for a moment, and then we walked away.

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