Mother Nature came rushing back to Oregon at 3 a.m. “Sorry, I’m late,” she called out, holding two pails of water. “2020, amiright?” She threw bucket after bucket, cleansing our collective dusty front porch. “Jesus! What the hell happened over here?!”
Thunder rolls in and the rain is pounding heavy on the roof. I smile and roll over, scootching down into the blankets. Ah, those sounds are the wildfires being quenched.
Harry’s not as relaxed as I am, though. He’s been kicked to the couch again, due to red flag on the snoring. And it places him in closer proximity to our Florida Room, where our story takes place.
Quick Sidebar: Oregonians, do you know what a Florida Room is? I think it’s Midwestern code for “that room somewhere between outside and inside, but not a breezeway, more like you can put some furniture in there and pretend to enjoy it when the temperature is narrowly mild enough to pretend to enjoy it.”
Our Florida Room is mostly windows. There’s even this little row of windows up along the ceiling line, butting up to the edge of house’s roof. It’s nothing fancy, and it doesn’t have much going on these days. Our Florida Room has lazy bunnies lounging in a hollowed out record cabinet, happy to be home from their fire evacuation. The Florida Room also houses a kiddy pool for our four young chickens, and all the animals’ accessories: buckets of feed, litter, hay, dog biscuits, different varieties of dried worms, etc.
And today the Florida Room also has a lot of water! Just like The Real Florida!
Our Florida Room normally doesn’t flood-flood, but usually in the winter, while we are having our 100th straight day of rain, we might get some drips from the soffits. Put down a towel, and we’re open for business. Today we learned that when you get over an inch of rain in just a couple of minutes, and probably your gutters are full of ash and crap, you’ll have another condition on your hands to put in your 2020 yearbook.
Harry woke up first, hearing a different sort of sound. Almost like a faucet running? No, more like a bathtub? And upset chickens? He gets up and discovers The Situation. I was then soundly roused by Harry stumbling in and mumble-shouting at me. Always a light, anxious sleeper, I bound out of bed alert enough to immediately step into a dodgeball game and recite Pi to 23 digits. It’s a feature, not a flaw! Waz’ Up?!
So, The Situation goes like this: Florida Room had created its own natural waterfall from our soffit windows. Through streaks of lightning, I see that the bunnies were cozy and sound asleep, perched on top of the record cabinet, and totally non-bothered by the wall of water coming down. But the chickens were unmistakably Affected and Nonplussed. Their kiddy pool, their little home, had filled with a few inches of water. The chickens were perched up on their tiny roosting bar, soggy up to their thighs, and very unhappy.
So we scoop the babies into the kitchen and proceed to bail out the chicken muck. Harry and I didn’t speak much. I don’t know if it was because the rain was so loud – pounding on the roof, and the magnificent waterfall – or the claps of thunder, or maybe we were just really freaking tired and didn’t want to chitchat in the middle of the night over the wet-chicken-shit bucket-brigade.
The dogs join us as some point, and we all get soaking wet, until the kiddy pool is stable enough to taco out the back door and pour the rest of the wet bits out.
The rain slowed, just as we finished relocating the chicken’s now-empty kiddy pool to the kitchen.
Harry thinks he’s going back to bed at this point, and that’s when Mother Nature called out to us, “You dummies!” And so the adventure continues.
About the author
Julie lives in Oregon, and has nine chickens: a mixed bag of five young hens and four pullets. A first-time chicken wrangler, she has tended to this flock for six months.