Confessions of a Homesteader

Allow me to tell you a story that took place on a cold and frigid January night...

Years ago, when I was a beginner chicken-keeper, I had an interesting experience one blistering cold January night. Our coop was tiny, and not intended for humans to enter (massive design flaw, I know - never again!). Enjoy this re-telling of the ordeal:

Upon arriving home after grocery shopping, I checked on my chickens, as usual.

It was already dark, and it is my evening schedule to go and lock them in for the night. Now, bear in mind, during this whole ordeal, I had just come from town, and so I was wearing my *good* clothes, as opposed to either my comfy clothes or coop clothes. This means that I was wearing my last pair of nice jeans, my jingly and crystal jewelry, my prettiest poncho and scarf, and my high-heeled dress boots. Also, my hair was down.

Okay. So when I checked on the chickens, I noticed that four of them had somehow locked themselves out of the coop, and had instead dug their way through the snow to get underneath the house to roost. Of course, I couldn't leave them there overnight for fear that they'd freeze. So I got down on all fours, in the snow, with no coat or gloves on, to shoo them out. After coaxing the chickens from under the hen house, I then managed to guide them inside to join the rest of the flock.

That's when I noticed that their red light had gone out.

So I went into the house to get a new bulb, thinking that theirs had blown. Now, in order to reach the light, I needed to crawl inside the coop, through the chicken door, and kneel on the floor. So I did. Alas, the light did not turn on when I replaced the bulb. Because we opted for a small chicken coop, there wasn't a whole lot of room inside. To check the wires, cords and light fixture, I had to get creative and practise a few yoga poses.

At this point, it may interest you to know that we utilize the deep litter method in our coop. Simply put, we continuously add fresh clean bedding to create a deep, insulating layer on the floor for the winter and clean it all out in the spring. So there I was, laying on my sides and back, in my good clothes, with my hair down, checking the electrical features of the coop, thoroughly enjoying our choice to use deep litter.

All the while, the chickens thought that my jewelry looked interesting, and decided to make a game out of pecking it at the worst possible moments.  I still couldn't figure out what the problem was, and so resolved to do my best to shelter the flock and buy myself some time until daylight, when I could see better. I crawled back out of the coop, hoping they'd forgive me for making them sleep in a frosty hen house for just one night. Feeling guilty as hell, I started making my way back to the house.

Then it hit me. My youngest had been cleaning snow off of the multicoloured spotlight we keep on throughout the holidays and the doldrums of January, just before I headed to check on the chickens in the first place. The spotlight that was plugged into the same outlet as the henhouse extension cord. 

So, within 10 seconds, I plugged the cord back in, dusted the chicken poop off my trousers, and beelined for the house to wrap my frost-bitten fingers around a hot cup of tea.