I've taken my sweet ass time getting a cell phone. After years of resistance, searching for pay phones in seedy areas of Las Vegas, I've purchased an iPhone. It will satisfy my desire to be more organized and polished in the many projects I get in to. It will be a reliable source of communication when volcanoes and earthquakes knock out land lines. It will pinpoint my exact location, purchases, and feelings. I can post videos of a Chihuahua wearing a sombrero and dancing on YouTube. I might even set up a Twitter account just to join Jimmy on Late Night Hashtags.
I cannot lie. I am as nearly excited about this new toy as any Wired magazine reader would be. I also read Mother Earth News and often go to work with chicken shit still on my boots. As my parents put the final touches on the chicken coop, the date of departure for my feathered friends is nigh. So, the timing is a bit painful.
My dad has built the Taj Mahal of chicken coops. Taj Mahal in the sense that it is a passionate expression of devotion for his love. It is also quite an upgrade in real estate for the ladies. The coop here at the yellow house is a dog crate (tall enough to stand in) with an closet rod for a roosting bar. They have an old milk crate for a nesting box. They eat out of a dog dish. They are allowed to roam free all over the backyard during the day and put themselves up at night. They lead a mostly feral lifestyle. Keeping chickens for me has been more like inviting some birds to stay. Other than the morning breakfast, it's free range.
On Tuesday, I found Maggie in my neighbor's yard at sundown. I counted the chickens on the roost before saying goodnight, "One, two, three...where the hell?". I instantly spotted her in my neighbor's backyard and hopped the fence. I chased her around for 15 minutes wearing cowboy boots, dirty jeans, and a flannel, no joke. Finally capturing that chicken and holding her in my hands was profoundly rewarding. After we both settled down, I knew that this move was a good idea. The chicken coop/shed that my dad designed for my mom is a work of heart. The chickens will be safe and protected from coyotes, cold rain, and neighbor dogs. As a bonus, my mom will have her first garden shed. For almost 20 years, the saddle and bridle have been moved around in boxes and now they have a hook to hang on.
Rita, Lola, Lupe, and Maggie, I will miss your morning call to a scrambled egg breakfast. I will miss your pretty feathers all over my lawn. Guero will miss herding you.