– a step-to-step-guide, the laborius way…
Step 1: Decide to get hens and tell everybody you meet about the decision, do that for a month or so.
Step 2: Have some guests (preferably strong, young men) clean out the barn, that is packed with other peoples smelly trash plus 5 huge windows-and-frames, so that it is actually possible to enter. Go inside and realize: There’s an actual, ready-for-use henhouse inside.
Step 3: Get informations from your neighbours on where to buy hens and food for the hens. Say yes, thank you, when they offer you their beautyfull, but second-in-the-pack, grey rooster.
Step 4: Keep on talking about the hens, but do nothing for some weeks.
Step 5: Have another guest (preferably a radiojournalist) who wants to talk too talk to other people living in the forest. Tell her about another neighbour, that you yourself have only met once, briefly. Wait till she get back from the interview with the message: Your other neighbour has too many hens and wants to give you some.
Step 6: Be really excited, but do nothing for a week.
Step 7: Enter the henhouse again and realize it needs quit a lot of cleaning, new perches and nesting boxes, go back to the house, do nothing.
Step 8: One day, spontaneusly, repair the nesting boxes and the perches, get it almost done, then break the hammer. Go inside.
Step 9: Another day, equally spontaneusly, go to see the neighbour with the hens. Ask her if it’s really true that she want’s to get rid of hens. And it is true! Together point out 4 hens that match you grey rooster – a white, a black, a dark grey and a light grey. Ask her what she wants in return, have the question brushed aside: Nothing, off course! Invite her to your birthday dinner soon coming up. Not sure whether it’s the right thing to do while asking, but sure when seeing the reaction. Be happy about the way of having neighbours in the forest! Agree to let her know when the henhouse is ready, so she can begin catching the hens for you.
Step 10: The next day, determinated, drive all the way to Ekshärad – a 1 hour drive through the forest each way – drive past the cheap foodstore you’ve been told about, continue to the expensive foodstore and buy unneccesary many different kinds of the most luxurious henfood. Realize that the store doesn’t sell straw to cover the floor with.
Step 11: Drive back home, visit the neighbours, talk to them about the food and realize you went to the wrong foodstore and payed at least twice the prize. Also realize that the store you went too belongs to a chain, that is also located in the nearby city. Ask them about the straw, which they don’t know where to get. Decide to use some of the hay laying all over the place at the overgrown meadow at Bondsäter.
Step 12: Go home, don’t gather the hay that day, when it’s dry and ready for use. The day after it will be raining, raining, raining.
Step 13: Visit another neighbour, that have all kinds of animals, to ask her how to get hold of straw. Have her look confused at you, saying: Straw? No one has straw. Realize you’re in Sweden, a forest country, not Denmark, a farmers country. This is not where wheat is grown in such amounts, that straw is accesible in large quantities. Have her tell you, that what is used her is hay. Hay! What in Denmark is such a valuable thing, only used for animals for eating. Struggle a bit with the fact that you are supposed to put it in the henhouse, for them to shit on. Have her tell you that she buys her hay from your third somewhat nearby neighbour. Ola. The Man With The Tractor – off course he is the one to help you with this problem, also this! (On your way out, remember to invite her to your birthdayparty.)
Step 14: Some other day, when you are out driving for some other reason, call Ola and ask about the hay. Off course you can get the hay – go get it yourself, as much as you need. Off course he doesn’t want anything in return! Thank him (maybee a bit too) overwhelmingly, invite him to your birthday party. Pick up your own and the neighbours boy on the way, drive halfway to Olas place, then stop because a tree is blocking the way. Drive back to the neighbours and borrow a saw – and a hammer, so you can actually finish the last perch – go back and spend 10 minutes remowing the tree from the way. Then try to make the final perch out of the tree, while the boys are standing next to you saying: But you are not strong enough. Be stubborn. Continue for half an hour or so. Give up. Drive to Olas place, get the hay, go back to Bondsäter, finish the henhouse!
Step 15: Call the neighbour, tell you are ready.
Step 16: Wait. Impatiently.
Step 17: Two days later get a visit – the neigbour has caught the first hen! The light grey one! The others escaped. Put the hen in the henhouse. Look at it all lonely in there, with all the nice hay and too many different kinds of food. Decide to get the rooster immediately, drive to the neighbours.
Step 18: Come back with the rooster, find the henhouse empty. Realize you left a hole in the door. Fix the hole, put the rooster in the henhouse. Look for the hen, give up.
Step 19: The next day find out that the hen is now living under the house. Not under the henhouse, your house. Let out the rooster in an attempt to let them figure things out for themselves. Spend the day watching this in repeat: The hen walking all the way to the henhouse, the rooster running after her like a maniac, so she flyes back and hides under the house. The rooster then crows for a while before returning to the henhouse. In the evening find your first egg under the house. For some days go out every morning worried if the hen survived another night out in the open, miraciously she does. Fell sorry for the rooster all alone, wait for a call from your neighbour.
Step 20: Four days later get the call: Two more hens are ready to be picked up! Go and get them – a cute, little white one, and a shiny, black one. Take them back, be completely sure you hear the black one sounding like a rooster the minute before you let them in the henhouse. Be a bit worried they will all kill eachother, be surprised at how soon everything seems quiet and nice in there. Have a peek, see them acting like they have always been a herd.
Step 21: Keep the hens and the rooster in the henhouse for some days, to be sure they are accustomed to each other and the place, before they are let out in the free during the day. Still worry every morning about the grey hen under the house. One morning find she is missing. Not lying under the house where she uses to. Be sad. There are many foxes in the area, this is to bee expected. Still. Be sad. After all, she was your first hen.
Step 22: In the evening go to the old camper/play house – where you almost never go – because your son has told you this is where he has hidden your needlework (because yes, much to your own surprise, you have begun doing needlework, crocheting). Discover that the grey hen is inside the camper! Catch her and put her in the henhouse. After a few minutes of crowing og flapping she is let into the herd. From then on: Henhouse-idyll…
Step 23: Gather two eggs a day for a while. Be very happy with your two hens, your grey rooster and still be really sure the black one is an imposter-hen. They can do that, you know, when there is too many roosters, they can stop evolving, and look and act like hens to be accepted in the herd.
Step 24: Begin letting them out, watch the rooster being overly responsible, only letting the hens out on small, very well watched rounds. Every day he expands the route a little, and sometimes he takes trips on his own, where he stops in every corner of his newly gained territory, flapping with his wings and crowing. Recognize the colors and sizes of the eggs, enjoy knowing that the smaller, greenish eggs are from the grey hen and the larger, beige eggs are from the white hen. One day think: Hm, that’s weird, it’s like the white hen’s eggs are getting bigger and paler. Probably due to the change of food.
Step 25: One day find three eggs in the nest box. One smal, greenish. One larger, beige. One even larger, lighter beige. Look at the black imposter-hen. Thinking. Did I actually hear it crow? Well, probably not.