Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Caught in the outhouse/chicken coop!

Lori made me think of this with her comment on Facebook about going to the hen house in her red housecoat. Late last winter, we got our first new batch of chickens, the rooster and 3 hens. Our hen house is an old outhouse that Marc fixed up for the chickens. It's small, but holds 6 laying boxes and a perch and since the chickens are free-range, they pretty much only sleep and eat in it. In the winter, the close quarters help them to stay warm.

Early one morning just a few days after the chickens came, Marc was outside working on a fence around the coop. Grace had already headed off to school, and I refilled my coffee cup, pulled my flannel house coat tightly around me and headed out into a blustery early spring air to say good morning to the chickens. We were keeping them in the coop for a few days until they got used to us, so that they would stick around once let loose. When I got to the coop, I headed into it and closed the door behind me. The only latch on the door was on the outside, so I basically just pulled the door closed and hope it would stay. I sat on the perch, took a sip of coffee and watched my new little friends get used to each other, and to me. Outside, I could hear Marc puttering around, putting together the fence. Then I heard him talking to someone.

Just a few days before, a neighbouring farmer named Bert had brought 2 cows and a bull to graze here for the summer, and he had come that morning to check on them. He was a friendly fellow, and liked to chat. I had only briefly met him once, and really didn't know him at all. And he didn't know me. Crouched on a perch in the chicken coop/outhouse in my nightgown and housecoat with my coffee cup, it did occur to me that I made for a strange sight. At the same time, the wind was had gotten fierce, and I was forced to hold the door closed from the inside. I listened to the murmur of male voices and decided to wait until Bert went on his way before I left the coop. It just felt easier.

Unfortunately, I had yet to discover that Bert likes to talk. I already knew that Marc does. The murmuring voices continued, and continued, and continued. It was clear to me that the situation was getting weird. For one thing, from the bits and pieces of conversation I could hear, Bert was talking to Marc about some fairly personal things. I was struggling to keep the door closed as the wind seemed determined to rip it out of my hand. My coffee was long gone. I think even the chickens were fed up with me. And still I waited. Finally, the choice was taken from me as a particularily fervent gust of wind tore the door from my grasp and exposed me, red flannel housecoat, coffee cup and all.

Bert was visibly startled as I stepped out of the outhouse/chicken coop. The only thing that would have made it more perfect would be if I had been carrying a newspaper. I smiled at the men, closed the coop door, straightened my robe and headed back into the house. Giggling. I do think Marc enjoyed the incident entirely too much. A warning to poor Bert would have been an act of kindness, but sometimes one just has to allow life to happen, and enjoy the ride.Bert would come to learn that I am oddly attached to my chickens, and the sight of me padding to the coop in my crocks and housecoat would lose it's novelty. Still, on occasion we share a giggle over the day I got caught on my morning trip to the outhouse...uh...chicken coop. :)
My Zimbio