Holding the fort

This is how Z described it while she's on Granny duties. In truth it's more a cross between baby-sitting and crowd control.

I've been tasked with looking after the chickens and the tots (Anastasia and Natasha - Russian Tortoises).

While the tots are content with basking in the glow of their heat lamp, eating copious amounts of lambs lettuce and swilling vodka doing their traditional Russian dancing, the chickens are another matter completely.

They lulled me into a false sense of security. Sunday evening they milled about the chicken pen innocently, pecking at the ground; they ate their dinner and went to bed without any bother. Yesterday morning however, they put their plans into action. I greeted them as normal, "Morning ladies." They ignored me and huddled together. I opened the door and a little black hen made a break for it.

Okay, I thought. I'll deal with you in a bit. I've looked after small children, I know how to prioritise my battles. The others merely watched as I filled their grain bowls, gave them a couple of bananas and some bread. Meanwhile, the little black hen taunted me from outside.

Fine, I thought. I'll deal with you now. I opened the door to go out.

The chickens rushed me en masse. They squeezed in between my legs and the door and that was that; they were out and free as, well, birds. They taunted me. It's true as God is my witness. They taunted me. 

I've looked after small children, I know how to prioritise my battles. 

I left them to it. They spent the day, scratching and pecking outside. I popped my head up every now and then to make sure they were alright. They were. In fact, it was wonderful to see them wandering around, scratching under hedges, squabbling over stuff. A lady pheasant even joined them for awhile. The cockerel is full of himself, as you'd expect. He struts around, looking all important trying to boss the hens. He doesn't take it too badly that they mostly ignore him. 

Late in the afternoon, I knew it was time to prepare for battle. After all, I've looked after small children, I know when I've got a battle on my hands. I girded my loins.

If you come across the little known fact that chickens are direct descendants of dinosaurs...believe it. It's totally true. Steven Spielberg knew what he was on about. The little buggers. I ended up having to herd them in several batches. 

When I got to the pen, there were some who decided it was getting close to bedtime and why the hell was I late with dinner? Then there was the majority of the group who wanted me to work a bit; to make it clear that they were only coming in because my antics had amused them enough and they felt sorry for me. Plus, they fancied a bit of bread before bed.

Then there was the cockerel and two of his co-conspirators. They'd decided to do a Peter Rabbit and see if Z had planted anything worth eating in greenhouse. Thankfully, they were a few weeks early. As far as I could make out, only God knows how they got into the walled garden, because when it came to it, the chickens sure as hell wouldn't get out the same way.

In the end, I had to herd the three chickens, one at a time back into the pen. Each calling me names under their breath as I waved my arms about. If it wouldn't have been for the fact there's been a fox that's been thinning the flock, I'd have been tempted to let them stay out. I was supposed to be in Norwich to meet up with a friend, I apologised profusely for being late.

I suppose as excuses go, "I was herding chickens" was at least different.

I learnt my lesson. This morning I just let them straight out. We all pretended that was what I wanted to do in the first place.

Comments

  1. Brilliant. Who knew chickens could be so entertaining?

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    1. Until I looked started looking after these chickens, I'd have thought the same as you.

      Now, I'd rather take on a velociraptor

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  2. It's a bit like herding cats then!

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    Replies
    1. I'd rather herd cats. I'll take herding your cats any day.

      :o)

      xx

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  3. I heard this story yesterday and it was just as funny on the second telling!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you think so.

      I had to do the same again tonight. If the little black hen isn't careful, she's going to end up in my pot!

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  4. The little black hen is a kind of paratrooper then. Admirable ! You'll never catch her.
    Maybe one or two "gawk" were a bit ... derisive ? Never mind. Get used to it. :)
    But I wonder how they made it into the walled garden.

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    1. There's no doubt in my mind that her "gawks" were not only derisive, they were down right rude.

      It's a good thing I'm a hardy soul. I don't take it personally. Just as well really, I'm holding the fort next week. :-)

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    2. There's a nice description in Southern dialect here : Einer schaut, als ob ihm die Hennen das Brot gestohlen hätten.. Roughly: One looks, as if the hens would have stolen his bread. Means looking stunned, perplexed, a bit outlandish perhaps. Not the thousand-miles-stare, just ten kilometers.

      Is it writing material for your oncoming novel ? I do not want to diss you Rose, I'm just really curious about what you'll write & how you are gonna start it. Are you creating a new world, or will you use already available parts, like creatures, ghosts, orbs - whatever ? Will you dig deep into mythology or skip this and move right into action (= writing) ?
      I am sorry, this is surely not the right place for discussing this - I blame again my curiosity. Curiosity in the writing process first of all. Kick me or Kiss me - but write ! Work it, darling, you can.

      I heared it's possible to hypnotise hens and make them follow. But not the little black one ...

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    3. Ahh...that explains it. Though I think the chances of getting the chickens to stand still long enough to be hypnotised is minimal.

      It's fine, I don't mind talking about my writing at all. It's a mixture of real world and overlapping fantasy world romance. Technically, there could be a happy mix of pretty much anything I want to throw in, but at the moment there are only wizards and elves...more Tolkeinesque rather than Disney or Folk Tales.

      I have my first 3,000 words, but I'm having to go through them all again, I haven't got the tone right yet and in truth, haven't found the right voice either, so I'm editing in small doses.

      I still feel quite fatigued and I'm not willing to push ahead too much yet, especially as I'll then have to go over it yet again.

      :-)

      Of course there will be kisses: xxxx

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  5. Perhaps a motorbike(50 seconds in) will help with the chicken herding?

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    1. I think it might. As would the velociraptors...but knowing these chickens...I'm not entirely convinced.

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  6. Ignorant townies might think looking after animals is easy, but any farmer would tell them they're sadly mistaken. I found out just how truculent animals could be when I stayed on a farm and tried to impose my will on a few pigs and goats. Would they do what I wanted them to do? No way.

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    1. I think "ignorant townies" is a touch harsh. It's easy to have opinions when it's not in your day to day reality, like common sense isn't actually common. It's a question of learned experience. I certainly am learning loads.

      But if ever there were two species that have stubborn hardwired in their DNA it's pigs and goats. Both cursed with intelligence and an uncanny ability to plot your undoing. Like chickens. Only with four feet.

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