The twins are finally napping and Pierce is wearing his Buzz Lightyear wings and watching Toy Story 3 as I walk out the door of our log home and stride across the wooden deck, on task to gather the eggs. It's been three days, because the air has been so brutally cold and frigid that I haven't been able to will myself out there. In any case, the eggs certainly aren't going to spoil when the highs every day barely top freezing.
I walk down the steps and catch sight of Miss Kirby in her daily dusting.
Each day she hops into this large pot, another failed planting attempt on my part, and dusts herself on the remains of potting soil and dead root systems.
She looks scruffy, a mixture of the cold weather and the dusted dirt feathers.
She doesn't like it when I come close, although she isn't particularly unfriendly.
Giving me the eye, she hops out.
Dirt tumbles from her once white plummage.
I continue through the yard, past the uncompleted playset and across the slightly soft rich red clay, the never-washes-out dirt Virginia is so famous for. There is so much moisture in the soil from the melting and thawing of frosts and snows on the mountain that my Merrell clogs sink just slightly with each step. The soil I tread upon was once the part of a homestead spread paid for by moonshining during the prohibition. Old Timers have told us the stories of old Hans Clemons, sitting on the porch with a rifle across his knees and a mule tied to the tree beside him, hollering at anyone who dared to pass by on the dirt mountain road. We tore down the decrepit, unlived Clemons house to build our cabin, but my mind can still see where it used to sit, that crumbling, cracked foundation a mixture of cement and whiskey bottles.
My destination, the triangular chicken coop, is called a chicken tractor, because you're supposed to move it around every day. I keep reminding Paul to move the coop, but he says he's got to get the old 1969 Ford tractor hooked up to move it this time, because it's in a strange location. Paul has been procrastinating, something he's good at, and as a result the coop is getting a little gross. He hates when I constantly remind him of things that need to be done, which puts me in a hard place, because I don't know whether to mention it yet another time or to just keep my mouth shut. At least with these cold temperatures everything inside is frozen solid. I sigh as I open the nesting boxes, and hope that Paul will get to it this weekend.
I reach my hand in the nest on the right, where there are two large brown eggs. I tuck them in my Columbia fleece, thinking as I do so of Reid, who has been sick this morning. His stomach was grumbling all morning; he'd grasp it and cry, and finally he had terrible diarrhea of the type that earned him a bath, with him sobbing the whole time. I gave him extra snuggles, smelling his Johnson & Johnson scented head, and wondered how much of my spare time is devoted to worrying in some way about my beloved three boys.
I latch the box and open the one on the left. Horace is nesting, but she doesn't mind when I greet her and gently push my hands beneath her feathered gray and white girth to pull out the clutch of eggs. Three more large brown eggs. Our white egg layers, the smaller chickens, haven't quite started laying again yet. Once in a while we'll find a random white egg, but for the most part they stopped for the winter.
The wind blows right through my jacket and I walk quickly back inside. I've been tending the wood stove all day, so I know that warmth awaits. When I open the door, the comforting smell of chicken pot pie in the crockpot wafts my way, and I hear the beginnings of grumbles coming from Cort and Reid's room, just audible over the ending of Toy Story 3, which I can't watch because it makes me cry. Naptime, it appears, is over.
This post is linked up with The Red Dress Club whose prompt is:
This week, we want you to imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail.
To tell you the truth, I don't know what I'd have my dear boys see. But here you have a 5 minute piece of my day and of me, as real as it gets.
This post is also linked up with WV Treasures Show and Tail, where people share their animal stories or pictures each week. It is sure to warm the fuzzy-friend-loving heart, so go check her out.