The Mother Hen Syndrome

Jan 2, 2015 | 1 comment

Resuming Chicken Duty

Resuming Chicken Duty

These last few days that I’ve been feeling puny, Nyel has insisted on returning to Chicken Duty. That entails (ahem!) going out to the coop with a bucket of food, a can of scratch and, sometimes, the tea kettle full and boiling in case the water in their basin has frozen solid. In the evening, it’s just a matter of seeing that the girls have returned to their roosts and locking them up.  Oh, and gathering the eggs, if any — which there haven’t been for a month or more.

Chicken Duty is not onerous by any means. The worst part is the hundred yard walk from the house to the coop and back again, especially when it’s cold and icy or gray and stormy, either of which is a sure bet in the wintertime here. Nyel insisted that I should stay in bed and not go out. He clucked and admonished and was a regular Mother Hen about it. So I capitulated.

Empty Nest Boxes

Empty Nest Boxes

But I did a lot of my own clucking and clattering, giving explicit instructions of where the treacherous spots are this winter and which path he should follow. “Don’t go the regular way,” I told him. “The flagstones are mossy and slick. Go out the front door and around the house; it’s safer.”

There were also those familiar Mother Hen admonishments like “Wear your heaviest jacket!” and “Are you going to wear a hat?” and “Do you want my wool scarf?”  All of which probably fell on deaf ears, although he grunted acquiescence whether or not he really heard the words.

Resuming Chicken Duty

Resuming Chicken Duty

As I drifted back to sleep that first morning, I wondered what elderly widowed farmers of yore did about their livestock on those ague-filled winter days. No wonder they had big families hoping that one or two would stick around against all those old-age contingencies. Obviously, I didn’t plan ahead very well. But then who knew that I would be spending my Golden Years with Farmer Nyel?

And, no, I don’t even want to consider goats or pigs, though the subjects have been tentatively broached a few times. OMG!

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Russell stone

    What a familiar interchange of suggestions for the comfort of one’s guy, farmer or not. Leaving for a short drive to the coast yesterday….”Jack do you have a warm jacket, your cap, a scarf and wool socks?” Yikes, dear Sydney, what Mother Hens we have become or, have we always been this way? May 2015 be a year filled with good health for the Stevens, AND the Stones…..


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