Before you start reading, this article isn’t about chickens riding lambs. I mean, I don’t have any lambs, but if I did, and that were a thing, I’d totally let my chickens ride the lambs with their little chicken boots and cowboy hats and everything. No, what I’m going to talk about is the election. Sort of, but only in the sense that I haven’t been able to think about anything else.
So, like a lot of folks, I’ve been distracted, trying to process what’s going on in our country. I know I’m not concentrating on the day to day like I normally do, but this was really brought home to me Thursday.
Normally, when I do farm chores I leave my phone in the house. I’m outside to spend time with the flocks, and to have time to just be myself. I can feel the wind on my face, and listen to the chickadees in the trees, and the quork of the ravens flying overhead. My feet are on the earth, and when I’m outside I let my spirit rest there, and I feel renewed. My thoughts are allowed to drift all over the place, and when I’m finished hauling water and filling food buckets, I feel refreshed and ready to get on with whatever the day is going to bring. But, Thursday, I didn’t allow that to happen. My phone was in my pocket, and I kept taking it out to check notifications and news and whatever. At the time, I just couldn’t set the darn thing down.
Anyway, I came home from work that night, and sent the kids outside to shut the ducks and chickens up in their coop. A few minutes later, they ran inside in a panic. The door to chicken run was open, and all but four of the chickens were gone. My daughter was convinced someone had come and stolen the chickens. Well, maybe, but not likely. I mean, they took most of the chickens, but left the food and water? If you’re going to do that, might as well take the whole set up with you.
“Did you remember to latch the door?” my husband asked.
“Of course I did!” I replied defensively. While I was thinking, did I latch it? I wouldn’t forget to do that! Would I? Latching the door is a pretty automatic habit, was I really that distracted? I guess I could have been. Well, no matter, we need to go find the other chickens.
So, my husband and I put on our boots, grabbed flashlight, and headlamp and went out into the darkness.
The first thing I did was confirm there really were only four chickens in the coop. There were. The kids hadn’t miscounted. All I saw were little Dandelion, Petunia, and a couple of the Buckeyes. I walked around the back, and huddled in a corner by the house, there were Pops, and four more Buckeyes. Now, normally, when a chicken escapes it’s a pain to get them back in. They run everywhere, usually into the rose thicket, and it takes forever. I thought it was going to be like that in the dark, but nope. It was like they had just been to a huge party, and were drunker than chicken skunks. I picked one up, tossed her in the back of the coop, and she stumbled around a bit, like she’d had too much beer, or something, and sat down. It went that way with the rest, even Pops was acting like he’d had a bit too much fun. I knew that wasn’t everyone, and even though the headlamp was the brightest light we had, we walked around the back of the house, and huddled up under the porch was Red. She was also acting like she was tipsy, so it was pretty easy to crawl under and get her.
Time to search for the other chickens. The problem was, it was dark, and my husband’s flashlight wasn’t working. So, we couldn’t get a good count. I didn’t know how many were out at the chicken rave still. There was no way I was going down into the swamp at night to hunt chickens who were partying who knows where. [The swamp is cool in the daylight, but at night, it’s kind of freaky, no telling what monster is lurking out there ready to grab you. Not to mention, it’s a swamp. It’s treacherous even in the daylight. You’ll be walking along, and suddenly you’re up to your armpits in ice cold water, and your boots haven been eaten by the muck. No way I was going through that in the dark. I’d lose my flashlight, boots, and the chickens would still be missing. So, making sure the coop door was firmly latched this time, we went in.
Next morning, I dropped the kids off at school, and waited until it got light out before I went to see if I could find missing birds. I went around the back of the house, and while coming near the chicken coop I heard the chickens doing this song they do when they aren’t happy about something. I heard the sound coming from the chicken yard, but also outside it, and when I looked into the swamp, who did I see walking around, but another Buckeye. I scrambled down the hill and was easily able to get her. There was no sign of Lavender, and I was about to assume she was eaten in the dark, or was wondering around the neighborhood. I let the geese out, and came back with water for the chickens, only to see her pacing in front of the coop door, wanting in for breakfast.
I think the chickens really enjoyed their breakout, up until they couldn’t get back in for bedtime. They saw some sights they haven’t seen before, did some things they might be regretting the next day. Frankly, I’m astonished I got them all back. I thought for sure one or two, or more, would have been eaten by something. So, lesson learned. It may feel like the world is crumbling, but I don’t need to learn about while I’m outside. It’s okay to allow yourself space to just be, and if the apocalypse happens while I’m cleaning the goose shed out, I’m sure I’ll find out about it just as quickly without Twitter or Facebook.