Don't Forget the Chickens!

Desk Carnage Dandelion Fest

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 “hey—outside 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 sunny—a 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…no—stop it—not 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.

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This entry was posted in About Hen Waller., Bicycles and transportation., Homesteading., The Chickens.. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Don't Forget the Chickens!

  1. Patrick says:

    Ticking clock? Me, I always hear a banjo.

  2. Ken Wahl-er says:

    Hmmm – do you have any ethical issues with how FedEx and UPS do business – how much fuel they burn up etc?

  3. Holly says:

    Well, now that you mention it, I do have ethical issues with our entire petroleum-fueled economy. But, I also think it’s better, on the whole, for Fed-Ex and UPS to add our packages to their existing routes, than for us to own and drive a car.

    Although we have entertained many frontier/off-the-grid fantasies about exiting the captialist economy, we have come to the conclusion that if everyone who wants out of the rat race tries to act on it by moving to their own acre in the countryside, well, there’ll be no more countryside. This is happening already, since everyone seems to want, if not a farm, at least a mcmansion in the country.

    In any event, we have made our choice, which is to remain in the city, and due to a lack of inherited wealth, to remain employed as well. Until we ditch petro-capitalism, that will entail involvement with corporations.

  4. mary mcguire says:

    I stopped by henwaller on my way to powells tolook for art books and found
    several lovely stories to read on a rainy afternoon. I really liked
    the pictures of the chickens doing their own thing as my dog used to. mary

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