...Or Outfoxing Mr Fox by Cassandra O'Leary
One of the things about having a houseful of pets, is they sometimes create mayhem. A case in point, our cute little chickens. Living in suburban Melbourne, Australia, we can only have a small chicken coop with a maximum of ten chickens. But sometimes even four or five are a handful.
We first got a few young chickens when my oldest son was about 18 months old. The first lot were bantams (mini sized) chooks and included cuties named Princess Bubbles, Midnight and Ningah, named by our little boy. The chicken coop was down by our back fence and our vegetable garden. My husband, let's call him Mr M, is a keen gardener and generally good with outdoorsy stuff. He'd researched chickens, coop setup, fencing and all the particulars before we brought them home from a chicken farm in the country.
Cut to one night, a few months after the chooks had been inhabiting their very swanky chicken townhouse (split level, a nice outlook on greenery, indoor plumbing/bird feeder and outdoor entertaining area/chicken run). Part of our back garden also backs onto our garage, where we have a sensor light setup to scare off any burglars and to help us see where we're going at night. So, if you walk by, the area floods with light. Mr M was asleep beside me when he somehow woke to full alert, panic stations… I was half asleep but wondering, what's going on?
Then I heard the back door bang, followed by a great kerfuffle, maybe even a hullabaloo! Banging, thumping, shouting, something that sounded like a lot like GEROFFMYLAWNANDAWAYFROMTHECHICKEEEEEENZZZZ!!!
Husband comes barging back into the bedroom a couple of minutes later, and I'm wide awake by this stage and flick on the light. Mr M is standing there, panting, ranting about the fox he caught dashing across our yard and how the floodlight scared him off...meanwhile he's completely naked (apart from his boots).
So I reconstructed the sequence of events. Mr M ran out into the back garden, triggering the floodlight, so his naked self was highlighted in spotlight, when he may or may not have been brandishing a shovel. Mr Fox, our erstwhile neighbourhood scavenger, must have been terrified and fled the scene. Our chickens' feathers were ruffled, but otherwise okay. Luckily our next door neighbours weren't hanging over the fence filming...that we know of!
You will probably all be relieved to know that we now have chicken wire dug down at least 30 centimetres (one foot) into the ground, making sure no foxes can dig their way in.
Henceforth this story shall be referred to as the time my husband outfoxed Mr Fox. It will probably end up in a book one day! He just nods and sighs as I tell him this. He's so obviously a humour novel character, just like I'm a romcom heroine. Just ask me about the time I fell over a pile of shoes while trying to shoo a wasp away from my desk, then I fell on my backside AND banged my head against my bookshelf. It's a match made in romance novel heaven.
P.S. We now have the third generation of chickens including Soy Sauce Chicken, Chilli Chicken, Fruit Tingles and Honeycomb.
P.P.S I will not tell Mr M about the actual event that is World Naked Gardening Day. For Reasons.
About Cassandra O'LearyCassandra O'Leary is a romance, romcom and women's fiction author from Melbourne, Australia. Winner of the global We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK, and published author of Girl on a Plane, Heart Note: A Christmas romcom novella, and shorter fiction. She's a recovering corporate communications specialist, mum to two mini ninjas, and wife to a superhero. She may be writing, or else drinking coffee and buying shoes on the internet. She's currently working on two more novels. No, really.
Read more at cassandraolearyauthor.com