My arms and shoulders are tired, in fact my whole body is tired, but I’m feelin good. It’s Elihu’s first day away – first of five – and I’ve knocked the garage and the coop off my list. After discovering some ‘loose poop’ recently and learning it might mean worms, I’d intended to clean the coop and all the food and water containers of the potentially infected stuff on my first free day. I also had a bunch of other outdoor jobs to do while the kid was gone and the weather was good. It took a while to get my butt going this morning – I found all manner of tiny jobs around the house to stall – but after an hour I was taking it on full steam.
Among my many, mini projects today I finally ‘wired’ the coop for heat lamps. That just means I untangled the mess of outdoor extension cords and finally got them properly tucked out of harm’s way and arranged so that I can plug in the heat lamps with ease. I’ll need a couple of 3 way extension cords too, as I’ll need to plug in the crock pot (keeps the drinking water from freezing) and may have to give Max, our goose, his own heat lamp, as he sleeps on the ground by himself.
I spent some time cutting various pieces of lumber and adding them onto my homemade nesting boxes. The gals really do like privacy when laying, and if you don’t give it to em they’ll just take their business outside. I once found a good 30+ eggs in a huge mound inside the mower’s leaf receptacle. I’ve found a stash of eggs behind the wood pile and even dozens laid under the coop itself. The gals won’t do this if you give them the proper feeling of security in which to lay. In that production has been way, way down of late, I thought it time I set out to fix the place up proper. (I would like to add that I’ve kept them penned in to remedy this, but they got me back. They just boycotted and stopped laying altogether. So today, since it’s nice out, I had pity and let them roam, praying they’ll reward me with eggs laid where they’re ‘supposed’ to be laid.) I peered inside the little rooms, checking for breaches where the light got in. I patched them all up and even inserted some pieces of black card stock left over from Elihu’s Anchiornis costume just to add more privacy. Cozy. Then I replaced the old bedding with a fresh layer of wood chips adding new hay on top. Super cozy. Within minutes of having finished my work in the coop the gals were returning to check on my work. Four eggs in short order. Success!
Now to the garage. I still don’t understand how a building in which one does not live can become such a mess. What further confounds me is that I’ve undertaken several intense clean-outs of the garage in the three years I’ve lived here – yet the place still needs tending. The first time was really cleaning up after the many tenants before me, yet the subsequent few projects were all about my crap. Seriously, where does it all come from? I consider myself a rather simple woman. Yet there’s just all this stuff. So once again, I begin to wrestle it all under control again, telling myself that this time it’ll be easy to maintain. This is the last time I’ll have to do this…
Thankfully I’m supported by a constant companion throughout my day: our goose Max. He stays ever near, turning his head to the side and fixing me in the gaze of one eye when I lean down to say hello. He watches me as I work, occasionally nibbling at my boots when he needs a moment of attention. I crouch down, put my arms around him and simply relish the love of a goose. He tucks his head under my arm. We sit like this, unmoving, for several minutes. Then, when we are ready, we separate and go back to our activities. I am humbled; I never imagined I would be invited into the trust of a bird like this. Despite the tedium of my chores, Max keeps me working with a soft kind of happiness in my heart.
In the past, before we had our new swanky coop, the chickens would take any opportunity to sneak into the garage. If I had my back turned and the garage door was open, they would escape from the run and fly into the rafters of the garage, thereby ensuring a night of luxury accommodations. The morning after my tools and work space would be covered in droppings. Although they didn’t do this too often, and I did try to keep up with the mess, the amount of dried crap just kinda piled up. This summer, while I managed to establish a pretty good system for putting things away, I never seemed to have the time or energy to face the project of de-pooping my work space head on. Today I did. I turned my ancient boom box to the local NPR station and got to work.
I soon remembered why this project had been so easy to avoid. Several glass jars of nails and screws had been accidentally knocked to the floor and broken by the errant chickens and the floor had become a nasty mess. I’d swept it to the side many times, but today I would get down to it. It took a while, but finally I got it all sorted out, down to the last and tiniest screw. I liberated tools from twine, pulleys from bungie cords – I got everything wrested from its neighbor, identified and returned to its proper place. I gathered every last scrap of wood together in a box. I put the good lumber in one place, all the rakes and shovels were leaned against the wall in a row, the tomato cages were hung back on the walls. I stepped back after several hours’ work and was very, very pleased.
I’ve since had a shower and a chance to enjoy some down time. A little blog posting, a little crap TV and I’m feeling pretty good. I look out, checking on the sky. It sure does get dark out fast now. Gotta go close everyone in before the predators beat me to it. Wow. It seems getting out of my chair will take some doin. I just realized how pooped I am. I don’t always sleep too well these days – but I bet I will tonight. Cuz I am tired.
You know, that good kind of tired.