The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

3 a.m. Scare July 17, 2011

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal...,Farm Life — wingmother @ 4:33 am

“Even if the raccoon does get in, at least it’s not a death capsule.” Elihu considered the tiny 4″ wide gaps between the roof and the walls of our new and spacious coop. Yes, it seemed they’d still have room to evade a raccoon, even if it did manage to get in. Yet really, four inches?? Was that enough space for that fat raccoon to get in? I’d thought about cutting a bunch of 2x4s and wedging them in the slender gaps myself, but with so much going on it just wasn’t possible. So last night the flock slept without incident in the new coop. (They also slept in; I opened their tiny door at 7 a.m., but none moved off their roosts to come out for a few more hours. Our chickens keep a teenager’s sleep schedule.!)

Four inches of space is indeed enough room for a fat raccoon to enter the coop. Crap. About three ish this morning I heard a couple of squawks from the coop. Through my sleep I was up in an instant, ear cocked for more information. No time to guess. Lights on, shoes on, flashlight in hand and to the coop. I open the door (an easy thing to do what with actual human-scale doors on it, a real luxury after the last sad box of a coop!) and there is that damned animal, clambering up the wall – a straight vertical climb mind you – for her escape through that narrow slit under the eaves. Really? Seriously? You can friggin do that? How is that possible? Kinda like a bumble bee flying – doesn’t work out on paper, but it does in real life. Geez.

I do a quick assessment, and everyone’s accounted for and ok. No blood, just a couple extra guinea feathers lying about. The only solution is to move the flock, one at a time, into the garage. Dear Molly, our eldest hen runs out and towards the house. Good girl, she’s not stupid. In times of danger she high-tails it to the railing by the kitchen door. I pick up each and every one of our flock and move them to the garage before going after Molly. I have a quiet talk with her. She seems to get it; she makes no attempt to flee my arms, and soon she’s safely with the rest.

All is well, and Elihu didn’t even wake. He’s deep in sleep. I however, am not. I am exhausted, but even after a half hour of lying quietly, I’m no closer to drifting off. The Blue Skirt Waltz plays incessantly over and over in my head. Argh. What a silly song. Dammit. It plays as a looped backdrop to my mind, which is now picking up speed. The to-do lists start. It’s a couple over-the-counter sleeping pills for me I guess. A blog post perhaps? Why not. Give the pills some time to kick in. Check my email. Try to map out this incredibly packed week before me. Move harpsichord, tune harpsichord, proof ads, make many calls yet, rent champagne flutes, buy champagne, oh, then there’s a dentist appointment and some entertaining of kids to do with scheduled playdates, house sit for vacationing friends, teach lessons, figure out my trip to Chicago next week, negotiate my father’s final Baroque Festival while managing to stay present enough to enjoy myself and take away lovely memories.

And now I gotta fix this silly coop before I leave town! Man. I’d thought it was safely off my list, but no. So much to do. Ahh, but then it’s Bi Bim Bop at Mr. Lee’s Evanston Grill for breakfast. Heaven. Just gotta get to sleep first…

 

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