Note from Alana: Halsey is a dear friend, my younger sister… and a great story teller.
shared by Halsey Preston
This past summer I was in between jobs and needed to make money fast to pay the bills. Several opportunities came up to house sit for various friends. Usually I’m asked to take care of dogs and water plants, but this summer there was an addition…
A friend asked me to take care of her home for a week and the job would include collecting chicken eggs every evening. She gave me a tour of the coop and demonstrated how to retrieve eggs from a brooding hen. Simple.
A couple days passed and it was time to stop by the house. As I approached the coop for my first experience in egg collecting, I began to feel nervous. I told myself that it was going to be fine, but when I opened the door, my heart started pounding.
The coop wasn’t very large and it was full of chickens watching me. Luckily, only four of the eighteen chickens were laying eggs. I approached the first hen. The plan was to slide my hand underneath and take the eggs just like the owner had shown me, but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The longer I waited, the more nervous I became, and by this point sweat was dripping down my face. After spending another couple of minutes trying to smooth talk the hen, I thought to myself…
“Just go for it.”
I reached out for the egg. PECK! The hen lunged its head at my arm. It hardly hurt but it startled me and I let out a yelp. That was a horrible mistake.
All of the chickens started squawking and screaming. My heart was racing and I was sweating uncontrollably. I tried to calm myself down, but it seemed impossible with all of the chickens carrying on like that. I waited a moment, but couldn’t take it any longer…I was terrified!
Generally, I hear people saying that their greatest fear is public speaking. As I left the coop empty handed that night, I realized that chickens were mine.
I drove home feeling frustrated and defeated. All I wanted to do was cry and find someone else to take over chicken duty. I spent the rest of the night and the following day dreading my next encounter.
It was time to return to the coop again. I couldn’t give up yet. The night before, I had worn a tank top and latex gloves, but this time I was a little more prepared with a sweatshirt and thick work gloves. I also remembered a trick the owner had told me. If sliding my hand under the hen didn’t work, I could tip the chicken over by lifting it from its rear end. It was worth a try.
Before entering the coop, I resolved not to reason with the chickens but to march in there and take care of business. That’s exactly what I did.
I went up to the first chicken, tipped it over, and took its eggs. My hand was shaking so bad that I thought a baby chick was inside (it was really just the yoke jiggling due to my trembling hand). I quickly went to the next three chickens, tipping them over and taking their eggs. I was feeling empowered.
As I left the coop, I felt a rush of victory. I collected all of the eggs! Those crazy chickens had terrified me, but I won! A thought entered my mind, “Wow! I want to find something else that scares me and overcome it!”
I was enjoying this feeling, and even though my heart still pounded whenever I approached the coop that week, I knew that I could do it, and I never left the hen house empty handed again.Halsey Preston is a freelance artist residing in Grand Rapids, MI. With a tattoo of Michigan on her arm, she loves her home just as much as exploring new places. Though seemingly quiet, she’s always ready to bust out some crazy dance moves. If she had one superpower, it would be the ability to speak every language.
Halsey has started her own blog to share short stories and her illustration journey. Today is her OFFICIAL launch day!
Check out more of her sketches at halseyleigh.wordpress.com. If you like her stuff, tell her I sent ya.