Notice those tall shoots coming off the bushes just in front of our chairs? They play an important part of this tale.
An inquiring mind wanted to know, “What happened on Day 6?” Well, not much other than a great hike up Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park. Every day finds us anxiously awaiting the arrival of our coop and me fighting off feelings of claustrophobia brought about by living on an (albeit gorgeous) island. (“What if you miss the ferry? What if there is no ferry when you want to leave? Want to leave, hell, have to leave, must leave . . . “ You get the idea.) But Days 8 and 9 turned out to be much more exciting.
Day 8 finds us all settled in our lovely full hook-up site on Orcas Island, chickens in their 10 x 10 pen, Rosco running free because running freely is really just a vague idea to him anymore and River, sadly, tied to Salt on a long but annoying (to her) run cable.
The weather has cleared and we are making our way through the over-growth, getting the yard back in shape. Alan decides it is a good day to see what the chickens would do with a lizard. He has found one while digging around and takes it over to the bug tent. JJ, of course, knows exactly what to do with it: She grabs it by the neck and runs around in circles as the other four each grab a leg and literally, rip the poor lizard apart. Fortunately, I only saw the end of this massacre. I was inside preparing dinner, looked outside and thought, “What is that thing dangling from JJ’s beak?” Turns out it was the head and what was left of the body.
Day 10 started in the usual way with River and I taking a long walk to a public open space park wherein lies a sunny field perfect for morning yoga. I set about my yoga stretches while she waited patiently under my legs knowing at some point the forward bend would yield a dog hug.
But Day 10 is special as it is the much anticipated arrival of the chicken coop. For those of you who read the chicken postings of years past, you may recall that it took us an entire summer to build our coop from scratch in Colorado. We started on the July 4th weekend thinking the long weekend would be a perfect amount of time in which to build a coop and, indeed, did finish on a long weekend; Memorial Day Weekend. So when it came time to think of a coop for our second home, we opted to have one shipped from Urban Coops. It comes flat packed (like Ikea stuff) with excellent directions and all the hardware you need. (Alan thinks it will take 2 hours to put together, I say 2 weeks, the next posting will cover the result of that debate.)
But back to Day 10: We absolutely did not want to miss the FedEx delivery so planned our day making sure one of us was always home. When it was Alan’s turn to leave for errands, I decided to continue on the hedge/blackberry yard work. Starting on our upper level and working my way down the (very rocky, very steep) bank to the lower yard.
I’m chopping away nicely when I find myself in a free fall. My thoughts are alternating between, “Flying does not feel light, I feel like a brick.” to “Shit, this is going to hurt.” When I open my eyes, I am lying beneath the giant (7’ tall) boulder on which I had been standing (or so I thought) in a deep den-like cavern with smaller rocks to my left, and my body in a position for which my morning yoga did not provide adequate preparation.
I wanted to cry. But realizing that the only thing really hurt was my ego, I summoned the strength of my 99 year old grandmother and hauled my butt up to a standing position. Wow, I thought I was claustrophobic before; The giant boulder is still above me, the smaller rocks to my back (now that I am facing up the boulder) and beyond the smaller rocks, nothing but blackberry bushes. I am about half-way down the hillside. Not sure when Alan is going to be back, can’t go up over the boulder and can’t go down through the blackberries. I really wanted to cry. But it was a nice sunny day, so I brushed myself off, clambered onto a sharp rock just big enough for my left foot and stretched up the boulder to reach the very tip of my lopper.
Lopper in hand, I set about cutting blackberry bushes and using the hardened stems to build a nest beneath my feet so that I could gain some purchase outside of my den like arrival area. After about an hour, I had built enough of a platform to gain a couple of feet. Then I heard a truck coming up the drive! Alan! No! FedEx! Crap!
My first concern is not getting out but fear that they might need a signature for the coop and drive away thinking no one is home. I call and call up but she does not hear me. I can hear her motor still running and doors opening so I am hopeful, but still trying my best to clamber up the boulder which is not working at all.
Another truck! Alan! Yes!
I can hear him talking to the FedEx driver:
“Hi, this is good timing.”
“Yes, no one else seems to be home.”
“My wife hasn’t come out?”
“No one around but the dogs.”
Alan knows how strange this is; two dogs out and one running (in his mind) freely around. So he wanders over to the ledge and hears my call. After making sure I am ok, he returns to the FexEx driver.
“My wife is stuck on the hillside.”
“Is she ok?”
“Yes, she suggested I make sure to get the coop before coming back and helping her out.”
“OK, you guys new around here?”
“Lovely weather today . . . “
Yada yada yada, Hello? Your wife is still stuck on the hillside. They finally part and the FedEx driver waves to me as she heads down the drive.
After handing my 6-8 foot long cuttings up the boulder to Alan for burning, I eventually hack my way out heading downhill. Overall, it was about a three hour ride. A three hour ride.