There are some surreal moments in this life we lead. I spent Wednesday pecking away at the keyboard, on a typesetting deadline for our biggest client. They’re in the Bay Area, and are one of the ways that we are linked into global commerce streams. We get to have our very local life in large part because of the internet and shippers like FedEx and UPS, all of which allow us to work at home. I finished my final proofing and compiling of the first galleys of the book at 6:30 p.m., a little too close for comfort to FedEx’s generous West Coast final ship time of 7:30. After slamming the sheaf of papers into a box, I raced around, changing out of the full-body woolen garb I swathe myself in for my chilly sedentary life at the computer, and into my lightweight “heyoutside the house it’s 75 degrees” bike-wear. Meanwhile, Patrick was frantically uploading files to another client for a final review before going to press.
As Patrick commenced his own super-hero changing routine, I went out to load up my bike for our ride downtown to the late drop-off location. As I fumbled my keys at the garage door, I suddenly thought “chickens!” I cursed, dropped the FedEx box at my feet and ran in my bike shoes across the lawn around the garage and into the chicken yard.
It was still quite sunnya lovely evening and the girls were not interested in going into their coop. If we go out to their coop later in the evening, when the shade of the garage has fallen over the chicken yard, the hens will be inside already, settling onto their roost and chirping quietly to themselves. It’s just a matter of closing and securing their door. But not last night.
Last night was one of those keystone-cop experiences, where my voice runs the gamut from encouraging croons, “Go on home, chickens, that’s right, go home, girls,” to the somewhat more harridan-esque: “D**nit, chickens! Get in there…nostop itnot that way!” Two of them eventually walked through the door, looking like they thought it might be the better part of valor to escape the lumbering crazy person running around their yard. By this time I was wielding the four-foot long stick we keep to prop open the coop when we change the water and what have you. If you wave the stick behind the chickens, they will go in the opposite direction. However, with only one person, that leaves a lot of directions to choose from, other than the one you want. Like behind the coop, around the raised bed, and ring-around-the-rosemary.
All the while I am hearing a giant ticking clock in my head, lurching closer to the shipping deadline. I was rescued by Patrick, who had finished gearing up and came laughing around the edge of the garage. We managed together (two people, one hen, almost a fair game) to get the final hen, clucking indignantly, into the coop.
The ride, as always, was a restorative experience, somehow merging my selves: urban and homesteady, tech and DIY. We made it to FedEx with a generous handful of minutes to spare.