Some of you may recall from the last blog post that my weekend assignment included tending a friend’s chickens and ducks. Dog and cat, too.
It is now time to report back.
I have thought long and hard about the many ways we humans can tell a story. Many people might tell the fowl story this way: I spent the weekend feeding and watering my friend’s animals. It was very interesting and kinda fun. #end of story#
However, I almost always prefer to tell stories the way I experience ’em. Which often contains a bit of eye-rollin’ drama, just because that’s the way this mind tells stories.
Ready? Shake a tail feather and let’s get movin’.
My friend said the chickens and ducks “put themselves to bed”. You just have to arrive between 8:15 and 8:30 and the chickens will already be a’roostin’. Close the chicken coop doors and everything will be fine until the rooster crows in the morning.
Unfortunately, I do not know how to follow instructions and am always early for everything. Left the house at 7:30 p.m. on a rain-threatening Friday night and proceeded to do chores. Fed the dog his antibiotic. Cat food out–check. Chickens settled on their roosts. Check and double-checked doors. All was well in hen-land.
Now time to make sure the ducks waddle into the duck house. C’mon, ducks. In you go. Be good fowl. Go inside. The wind is picking up: looks like it’s gonna rain. In you guys go.
Ten minutes later.
Please ducks. Please go in your house. Don’t keep wandering around quacking and shaking your feathers. (I try to herd them in. It’s gonna start pouring any minute. They totally ignore me. They run in the opposite direction. There is no WAY those ducks are going to do anything normal–like bed down for the night.) Herding ducks is like herding cats. They don’t herd.
In their defense, it was only 7:45 and my friend had said–you remember, don’t you?–the ducks don’t go to bed until 8:15 to 8:30.
I kept eyeing the darkening sky. My insides started shaking. Finally perched myself on top of a stump and waited.
Oh look–one duck waddled inside the house. No, here she comes outside again. Three ducks in, two ducks out. Please, please, please ducks just go to bed before the downpour starts.
A half hour on a stump seemed like six lifetimes. I imagined sitting out in the wind-howling pouring rainstorm on the stump for the rest of my life. In fact, my life flashed before my eyes in that half hour. I was going to be a total failure at duck-sitting. And how many duck did she say there were anyway? What if four of the ducks never came home to sleep? Would I be a duck-killer and never trusted for such a fowl assignment again?
At 8:20 the ducks turned, looked at me smugly (I’m sure they did–one even snubbed her beak at me saying, “See who’s boss?”), and nonchalantly walked into their nighttime home.
Success! (The storm took out our electricity and knocked down trees everywhere, especially in town. The ducks and chickens slept soundly. I didn’t.)
Next morning–fed those happy well-slept chickens and ducks. Pulled up one of our broccoli plants and offered the little peckers nourishing greenery. Harvested eight eggs. Talked nicely to the girls. (The blurry fella in above photo is the rooster. He apparently didn’t want to be photographed. More about that in a moment.)
Chores finished–back home. In the middle of the afternoon, when the light seemed promising for fowl fotagraphy I returned with camera.
Turns out the chickens were traumatized (I am SURE they were traumatized!) by my camera clicking. Look at the following photo.
All the hens ran away, bunched up around their protective rooster, attempting to save themselves from the evil camera. They looked at me with scared chicken eyes, begging a quick retreat.
Please get away, evil photographer, bad camera.
“I have traumatized the chickens,” my inner storyteller mumbled. “First the ducks traumatize me–now I’ve traumatized the chickens.”
(Those of you who might not have active inner story-tellers might tell the story thus: I tried taking pictures of the chickens but they temporarily scurried away.)
Probably, in reality, no one was traumatized. But it’s the way this mind thinks!
The ducks didn’t seem traumatized. They did look leerily at the camera and kept waddling away.
“No photos today,” quacked one duck, but I ignored him.
“Photos today,” said I, “unless you want to be duck soup tomorrow!”
We shall end the story with this duck–a Brazilian species, mind you–quietly preening her feathers.
No one permanently traumatized, not even me. A successful quiet (but interesting) weekend with feathered fowl. Hope you enjoyed this little story!