This past weekend I loaded up all of the dogs and headed out to farm-sit for Julie while she was setting sheep at a dog trial. We had so many adventures that I'm intending to break this down in parts. My apologies in advance as I don't have pictures (maybe one) to illustrate, so words will just have to do.
I know this is the part you've all been waiting for, so I'm making part 1 the first of my chicken installments.
Friday night when I got there I closed the chicken coop with no issues. Saturday morning my first job was to open the chicken coop. Most who know me (at least in a farming context anyhow) pretty much know that I'm a little afraid of chickens - quite specifically the squawking and flapping. Ok, terrified. Phobic. Freaked out. Skeered. Pall of death. You get the idea.
If they'd just sit there quietly and not move or squawk I'd probably be able to touch them. Maybe.
But I digress. Julie had warned me that they'd come flapping and squawking out, so I was armed with a plan. I took a bucket of corn (she'd told me this was part of the routine) and sprinkled it NOT in front of the coop, but slightly up the hill... in the opposite direction of where I was going to stand. I steeled myself while standing behind the door (down the hill) as I slid open the latch. I took a deep breath, grabbed the rope handle, and pulled.
Chickens everywhere. But that's OK. I was ready for them, and they were flying AWAY from me. I patted myself on the back for my ingenuity and resolve in such a potentially harrowing situation. Surely I had escaped certain death. Or at least certain scream.
I waited... and waited... and I when no more poured out I went to remove the baby gate that was wedged in the doorway (an additional measure to keep dogs out during the day) so that I could put out feed and change the water (uh... the feed and water bucket were in the coop, with an additional water pan outside). As I leaned over to unlatch the freakin frackin stuck baby gate the last chicken on earth squawked, and flew over me - hitting my back and thumping me with her wings on her way out. She was big, loud, and literally I think she belly-flopped across my back.
I screamed, danced in place for a second, and then fell back on an old favorite... I ran like a little girl. I almost fell over a stump, and I think I wet my pants a little. This was definitely NOT one of my finer moments.
In fact, I'm pretty sure I actually died for a few seconds.
I eventually worked up my nerve to walk back over there, and peered cautiously inside (one eyeball at a time). I completed my mission - fed and watered, and then got the heck out of Dodge.
THAT was my early morning wake up call. I looked over at the sheep and said, "You girls will have to wait. I need a drink." I stomped back in the house, made coffee, and played "Cityville" on Facebook while waiting for my heart to stop racing and for my hands to stop shaking. Good morning to me!