Sep 1, 2006

"This Old House" Meets "Green Acres"

When one's antique home is in the midst of a rather extensive renovation project, and things are already a chaotic mess from one room to the other, it is perhaps not such a good idea to sally out and impulsively purchase a few more young chickens, only to find that the separate outbuilding where you usually quarantine any new birds is temporarily unusable, thus facilitating the need to put said chickens in your home for the two week period necessary for guaranteeing that they will not enter your barn and kill every pre-existing resident in there. So on top of the dust and old wood, drop cloths and tools, there sits a very large cage in my kitchen with some birds in it who I hope are not ill, as now they're being housed in the only room in our house left to eat in (other than maybe a closet or two upstairs), as the dining room is one of the many rooms under siege at the present moment. And as the floor in our office is presently in another outbuilding waiting to be reinstalled, our office essentials (read: the computer) are also in the kitchen, along with our nearly blind and stone deaf 16 year old dog who can no longer manage the stairs and spends most of her time feeling cozy in this one room. Besides all this, come nightfall it's very disruptive to the chickens when the kitchen lights are turned on and off, thus waking them up over and over again in the misguided belief that morning has once again arrived, resulting in said chickens being cranky, exhausted and, well, rather screechy. And how much bedding and poultry-debris becomes airborne is in direct relation to how fussy said chickens become. Oh, and let's not forget the cat. Personally, the cat could give a rat's ass that there are chickens in her house and barely glances sideways at them, but the chickens aren't quite as nonchalant about the cat, thus precipitating a cackling racket to wake the dead when the cat meanders through for a snack. I also feel badly that the birds are stuck in a cage, albeit quite a roomy one, for so many hours a day, and last night decided that it wouldn't be so bad, given the filthy state the house is in anyways, to let the girls out for a foray around the room. As a result of my kindheartedness, we ended up with a chicken on the stove, a chicken perched atop the computer, and in the worst case, a chicken on top of my husband's head as he was attempting to get some work done on the computer before bedtime. While I found it rather amusing, it's safe to say he did not. Chickens in the house are not his favorite thing. But as to the chicken on his head, maybe it's the same thing with chickens as it is with, say, dogs, whereby they always seem to gravitate to the one person in the room who can't stand dogs. Alright, so it was most likely a case of his head looking big enough and high enough up to make for quite a covetous place to settle in (this is not to imply that my husband has a head that's disproportionately big around or really tall from chin to crown, he doesn't, simply that it looked that way to a little chicken with a brain the size of a shelled walnut. A really small shelled walnut). Needless to say, the chickens were hastily reinstalled in their temporary digs, shortly thereafter we went upstairs to bed, and my husband was kind enough to not remind me that once upon a time not so long ago I promised I wouldn't be buying any more poultry for some time as I already had all the birds I could want. And the chickens, for the most part, slept quietly throughout the remainder of the night. But at breakfast time....

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