So. I’ve about wrapped up, absent a bit of trim and the installation of an outdoor-accessible nest box–not an immediate priority because the elderly ladies involved rarely lay eggs anymore–the construction of my assisted-living chicken coop for the geezers. It’s going to have to stay in the driveway for the winter, but it is on wheels (what they call in these parts a “Chicken Tractor”), and I’ll tow it to a better location in the Spring. And while it isn’t as sturdily built as the larger coop (which I’m definitely heading for in the event of a nuclear attack or an imminent tornado), it’s pretty solid.
Two old girls and Chinggis, my beloved rooster (whom I rescued from the side of the road almost three years ago), now call it home. I wouldn’t wring their necks for the world.
They seem quite happy in there, as can be seen by their comfy positions on the roosting bar last night. (Feeling that the whole display was a bit disrespectful, I did my best to get them to face forward, but they weren’t having any of it.):
TBPC, the flat panel on the back wall of the coop isn’t a television provided for their entertainment. It’s a radiant heater, something I consider much safer as a heat source, once the temperature goes down well below freezing, than the traditional heat lamp.
Here’s the outside of the edifice:
Two other female members of the gang have already passed on to the great coop in the sky, and I don’t know how long it’ll be before one, or two, or all three of these particular inmates join them. (Meanwhile, I’ve four fourteen-weekers (their birthday is today!) up in the larger coop. They should be ready to lay eggs by Christmas, but I’m not sure how diligent they’ll be, given the seasonality, the chill, and all. It may be sometime in Spring before things really kick in.)
But there I was the other night, having a nice text chat about my chickens with a friend who–like me–is a country music fan. He delights in sending me weird and (on rare occasions) wonderful links to oddball stuff, and so, after a discussion about the coop mentioned above, along came a link to Ray Stevens’ “Henhouse Five Plus Two” rendition of In the Mood. (I should think US Army Bronze-Star recipient Major Alton Glenn Miller is spinning in his watery grave, God bless him.)
At the time I received the link, I was sitting on the steps from the driveway up to the back deck, listening to the wild birds–including the owls down in the woods –and enjoying last of the rare November warmth. I pressed “play.” And the result was unexpected magic.
So the following day, I worked a little harder in my digital studio (😂😂, eat your heart out, @ejhill) to repeat the feat and I came up with the music video for the enjoyment of friends.
Chinggis is extremely obliging, every time the music starts. Here’s an excerpt:
My dear Chinggis. My only rooster, and a volunteer one, at that. A real gentleman (pace his namesake).
I think he has, (for an amateur) remarkable presence and sense of rhythm. A strut (as my sister pointed out) worthy of Mick Jagger at his best. And an unparalleled sense of drama which resulted in this grand finale:
Every once in a while, I run across a modern writer who might be for real. Perhaps Caroline Mellor is such a one:
What if there is no new you
No #vanlife mountain vista
No trail of dust, no grand rebirth
What if your life
is more a slow, uncoiling thing
than a series of bangs,
a bowl to fill and fill
rather than a bucket list?
Stop looking for the big moments.
They will find you in their own time.
Turn your gaze instead to the small things,
the minutiae of the sacred ordinary:
the quiet grace of dust dancing in the sunbeams,
the sound of the rain through the streetlamps.
The soft smell of the skin on someone’s neck
that takes you home in a microsecond.
What if you could take your one messy, complicated life,
all of your failures and your unmet yearnings,
all of the colours, the dreams and the hungers
and, just for a moment, see it for what it is:
a fragmentary masterpiece of the universe,
a speck of dust dancing in the sunbeams
which you alone hold in warm, cupped hands–Caroline Mellor, Small Things
“The minutiae of the sacred ordinary.”
“A bowl to fill and fill, rather than a bucket list.”
Such is my life. And I am blessed because of it.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.