Monday, May 23, 2011

Cooped Up

Last summer we dealt with unbelievable heat and drought. This year the flavor seems to be storms. The one we had this morning was only really bad for about ten minutes, though during that time the wind was strong enough to bowl a person over if they weren't careful. No damage to report, but our newly acquired stock of chickens weren't all that thrilled with it.

Yesterday I had actually intended to write a post, but my brother strong-armed me and a bunch of other people into helping him build a bunch of chicken coops. Though we intend on letting most of them wander around when possible, we also wanted to have somewhere they could sneak off to in bad weather. It's also convenient in case we just need to stick them somewhere out of the way.

The place we found the chickens was relatively small for the number of them we gathered. I say relatively because the fenced area itself was pretty damn huge for a fenced area. I guess that's because the people there were actively farming free range birds. I'd say it was about eight hundred feet on a side, and there was a creek running through it.

Our farmers have to water them, but the feeding part seems to be going pretty well. There are a lot of plants and bugs out there to be eaten, and the chickens seem to be content in their new home. We're having a bit of trouble coordinating the logistics of egg gathering for free-range birds, but that's a problem for another day. Hell, I'm just glad they went into the coops when the storm came through.

Not that dirt-floored pens made of one-by-one posts and thin roofs of plywood, aluminum, and whatever else we could find for materials are exactly waterproof. Or windproof for that matter. I was told that the birds got pretty agitated by the wind coming through the wire sides. Guess we'll have to build windbreaks, too.

Funnily, people don't react well to being cooped up either. It isn't just the storms I'm talking about: I think living in what is essentially a walled for for a year has had some small but cumulative psychological effect on many of us. It's contrary to human nature to stay closed in for so long, to not be able to freely move about whenever the hell we want to. We know intellectually that it's safer, and thus equals life. Instinctively, though, we feel a stronger urge to go out and move freely.

I think that might be part of why some people around here are more prone to getting irritated and resentful. I've felted caged many times, and looking back it seems like every time I've gotten sick of it, I've gone out on some mission that I really could have left to other people. And I kept doing it, regardless of the risk involved.

I mean, honestly--the majority of people alive have been killed and/or converted by the zombie disease. How many times can one person go out among the walking dead and reasonably expect to come back alive? Our scouts and hunters are chosen to do just that very carefully. They're incredibly cautious and well-armored. They always travel in groups and watch out for each other. Even so, it's a huge risk for them every time they go through our gates.

I'd love to find a way to channel some of the excess stress and irritation, especially for the men of the compound since we're so testosterone heavy and much more prone to act irrationally because of it. That isn't sexism against my own gender, by the way. It's just biology.

It's something I'll have to think on. I'll ask around, see if anyone has ideas, and maybe try to poll some folks to see which of them might be popular. Every system has to have a relief valve for the pressure that builds, and people aren't any different. We'll just have to find something that fits.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Josh, this is Dr. Webb. I'm in the clinic watching over a very badly injured man. He's unconscious and he has been mumbling your name and "The Compound." This guy's pretty bad, one of the patrols said they found him lying in a ditch, face down. He's about 5'6", long red hair, looks about 16. You know this guy? I'll have him contact you when and if he wakes up. We've done all we can, now it's up to God.