I got to sleep in this morning.
Well, kind of. It was hard to tell, actually, because this is the weekend when they decided to mess around with the clocks. I don’t really get Daylight Savings Time, in part because as a historian I’m well aware of how arbitrary the measurements of time that we use are and I’m not sure how moving the clocks forward an hour really saves any daylight.
Besides, if you’re going to lose an hour, why not 2pm to 3pm on a Thursday? Seriously – nobody would miss it.
But they schedule this for the middle of the night, when everyone is either out having a good time or sleeping, both activities where the loss of an hour ought to be a criminal offense. And in either case you wake up with that slightly disoriented feeling that all of reality has been spun just a few degrees counterclockwise and you spend the rest of the day wondering whether the world and everything in it is just a shabby copy of what you remember from before this all started or if you are simply getting over a bad drug experience from something you don’t even remember being interested in, let alone taking.
You can get the same experience from attending a Donald Trump campaign rally, I hear.
So if I, an actual human being, part of a species that scientists assure me has the most powerful and intelligent organic brain on the planet (and who found that out, I wonder), cannot quite wrap my head around the thought of Daylight Savings Time, I suppose it would be too much to expect of a rooster.
Lauren’s new chickens have been with us since January. When they’re chicks they’re too little to go out to the barn in the middle of winter – at least not without some renovations to the barn and/or the barn’s electrical system, neither of which we are going to undertake since a) it’s not our barn, and b) we do this for fun, not as a job. We keep them at home until the weather warms up. Normally this isn’t hard. We don’t get them until March and the roosters don’t start crowing until they’re four or five months old, so they can sit in their little Rubbermaid bins in our living room until we get tired of them and ship them out to the barn then.
But we got them in January. And one of the roosters – the Dominique Lauren named Terrance – started crowing at 6 weeks.
At first it was kind adorable, the way he’d sort of hack and wheeze out the junior varsity version of crowing. But by the beginning of March he had worked his way up to an actual crow.
There are two things wrong with this situation. Well, probably more, but two that concerned me personally.
One is that despite the ordinance allowing hens in Our Little Town, roosters are still forbidden. And for good reason. Nobody wants roosters. Not even hens. This kind of ordinance is mostly enforced on a complaints basis in Our Little Town – nobody really comes around inspecting for forbidden fowl, but if the City gets a complaint they’ll send someone by. Quiet little chicks do not generate complaints. Roosters do. We don’t really get along with the neighbors on that side of the house, but if they had chosen to complain there wouldn’t have been much we could do. Honestly, we were complaining too, just quietly and to ourselves. So we moved the chickens down into the basement in the fond hopes that this would muffle the noise.
The other is that roosters tend to crow at dawn. That’s what they’re for, I guess. And Terrance is the sort of rooster for whom any moderately bright streetlight or even passing car looks like dawn. Remember how scientists say that humans have the best brains? They don’t have much to say about roosters that way. We hoped that the basement would put a damper on this as well.
So the bottom line is that we had a feathered alarm clock for a few weeks, one who would crow promptly at 6:15am or whenever he heard any motion in the house, whichever came first.
If we closed our bedroom door we could block this enough to keep sleeping, but this did not take into account the cats.
Once the rooster started in Midgie would get worried and start crying, which only added to the din and could in fact penetrate the door. And if we closed the door Mithra would scratch at it from whatever direction she was facing in order to get to the other side. There are legions of responses to the question of why did the chicken cross the road, but cats are cats and who knows why they want to be anywhere.
Our animals were conspiring against us. This is not a recipe for long life or good health on either side, really.
But if there is a silver lining to climate change it is that the winters have been milder, so we could shovel Terrance and his feathered friends out to the barn that much sooner. Yesterday was the day. We showed up at the barn with a roll of chicken wire, some wire cutters, two staple guns, some plywood, a hammer, nails, and an attitude, and within a couple of hours we’d converted another stall into a coop by sheathing it in chicken wire. We went back home, stuffed the chickens into a cardboard box, brought them out to the barn, and set them up in their new home, although in wire enclosures so they can get used to the place. Sometime later this week we’ll let them have the run of it.
So no more rooster crowing in my basement. We are legal again.
And sleeping better, thank you.