Merrill's mom came into Tractor Supply the other day. She was quite upset. Mr. Merrill, the chicken who does not know that he is a chicken has begun 'flirting' with her daughter. "He'll have to go outside," she says, and I laugh. This is what she said when he began to crow at ungodly hours of the morning. But first it was so cold that she couldn't bear to do it. When it warmed up, they began putting him outside, but his 'mother' could not bear to see him looking so miserable. He'd come to the back porch, afraid of the other chickens, and he'd sit there looking dejected and miserable. She'd give in, and bring him into the house, and he'd march back into his cage, pick up his 'dolly' (a little stuffed chicken he's quite fond of) and pull it to the side of the cage to listen to a book on tape.
But this latest, well, I think it's convinced her that it's time for Merrill to adjust to life outdoors. He'll need his own coop, since he's so maladjusted that he does not realize that he's a chicken. I show her a nice dog house, raised off the ground. It's got a hinged roof that opens for easy cleaning. It would be perfect. "My husband would kill me if I spend $135. on that bird," she says. I mention that it would be easy enough to build one, but she says that her husband is provoked enough about this bird that he would not do that. Thinking, I say, "Hey. Wait a minute. My husband brought home some very large wooden packing crates from work a few years back. I'd sure like to get one of those out of the basement..." (side note about Tims: When Tims find stuff to stash stuff in, they stash stuff. If they don't have stuff to stash stuff in, they are a bit more realistic about what they keep.) "One of those would be perfect," I say. "They're about waist high," and she got excited. "That would be perfect!"
So there you have it. Tomorrow, we'll be dropping off Merrill's new home, and I'll be able to take a few pictures of that bird you've heard so much about. His mother walked out of the store wondering aloud, "But how will he listen to his books on tape?" I laughed again, shaking my head. She tickles me.
We worked at the house today. I scrubbed. Probably swept up a truckload of mouse poop. Tim pointed at the wall. Bat poop. "I wonder if this is new." I was able to say, "Yep. It is. I washed that wall down last night." But everything is looking nicer. Brighter. We can see that we are making progress: everyday, we take a bite out of grime. Tomorrow we'll haul all the unsalveageable carpets out to the truck. We're pulling up the kitchen lineolum down to hardwood floors. Every layer of filth we remove and haul out of there brings that house one step to its former glory.
We've been having some ridiculous weather. Yesterday, when my friends were in Chautaqua county, over the New York line, the same place I go to college, the report came on the radio. A twister had been sighted. Blessedly, it did not touch down.