That Time I Thought I Was Awesome Until I Burned My Backyard Down

Unlike most mornings, this morning I set an alarm. Both girls had their check-ups at 9:30 (both. by myself. both of them. socially angry. screaming. stupid stupid stupid.) which is entirely inconvenient but you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, right? I was determined to wake up before them to pack a bag full of goodies and entertainment knowing we’d be there for at least two hours. And last week I was still in my pajamas for the plumber’s appointment at 9:30 and the Terminix appointment at 2 pm, so in an effort to redeem myself to society I put on an outfit AND makeup. Boom.

I also had to let the chickens out of the coop, a job ordinarily managed by Clark but due to the death of Babe the Hen the day prior, it was now my duty. Clark found her bloody corpse lying in the yard like a scene from a Gillian Flynn novel with her compadres huddled silently behind a bush in a PTSD stupor. His solution was to keep them in the coop till daylight, which means I have to let them out now, as he leaves the house before dawn. (Sucks to be him.)

This morning was my first assigned morning. I waded through the poop to release them from their den, but as I opened the coop door, I was slammed in the face with a cloud of smoke. Oh *&$%. What what what what what what?! Fire extinguishing was not in the job description. I walked to the side of the coop and opened the main door to find the heat lamp lying face down in the wood shavings and the coop completely engulfed in smoke. I couldn’t even see the chickens to see if they were still alive. I opened the door wider to air it out, turned off the lamp, and counted the chickens. The four remaining hens sauntered down the ladder completely unaffected.

All accounted for. No flames. Close call.

Before going back inside, I left both doors open to let the rest of the smoke escape. And thus sealed the fate of the coop.

Enter Crazy.

Do you know what it’s like to get two babies ready for a public outing that occurs immediately after they wake up? It looks very similar to the contestants of Supermarket Sweep — everyone sprinting around like madmen, throwing groceries (children and their 9,874 necessities) into their basket (car) in a desperate attempt to beat the clock and win the money. Except there’s no money. So it’s like that, but not worth anything or any fun at all.

After getting them both dressed, finding my phone, feeding them breakfast, packing their backpack, finding their insurance cards, refinding my phone, and loading them in the car, I realized the back was full of our recycling, preventing the stroller from fitting (an essential component to a double doctor visit). I took out half the boxes and threw the stroller on top, quickly slamming down the back door before the stroller could slide out. #skillz

I am awesome because I was on time. I am not awesome because while I was thinking about how awesome I was being, I never noticed that my BACKYARD WAS ON FIRE.

For the next hour, I sat in the office lobby alternating between YouTube videos, books, stickers, songs, and snacks with Charlee in the stroller and Hattie in the sling. When we got called back, I watched as the panic began to wash over Charlee’s face. She knew this place. This is a bad place. I began talking about doctors and how we play doctor at home and how they’re so nice and they keep us safe. She just looked at me like, You’re so full of ****. I know exactly what goes on here.

All in all, it wasn’t too bad. BUT.

On my way out the office door, I checked my voicemail. “Hi, this is ***** from the Abilene Fire Department. I’m here at **** Ligustrum putting out a fire in the backyard. I’m thinking this is your home. Just wanted let you know everything is okay, including the chickens. But give me a call when you can.”


My first inclination was to laugh. I mean, are you kidding me? Not only is this the second time since we moved to this house 6 months ago that the fire truck has been parked in front of our house, but this neighborhood is more of an “Early Bird Special” neighborhood than a “Backyard Chickens” neighborhood. Our poor neighbors. Watch out for the Clampitts down the street.

I arrived in time to see the fire truck pulling away, but the inspector stayed to give me the low down. I headed to the backyard with a baby on each hip, to find this…

chicken coop




The charred grass is about a yard away from the house, less than that from our shed and completely backs up to our fence, all of which are untouched. The fire inspector told me the wind was blowing perfectly. (Well, except for the fact that it was blowing enough to catch it on fire in the first place. But whatever. Thank you, God. And thank you neighbor down the street.)

And now we’re famous. Well, anonymously famous anyways. Is that a thing? The news crew showed up at my doorstep hours later with a camera. The first words out of my mouth were, “Please don’t interview me,” so he just filmed the damage and the survivors and informed me that they’d posted the story to their Facebook page and it’d blown up. Apparently, we were the talk of the town.

Here’s the picture that was posted with the caption, “The Abilene Fire Department is on the scene of a chicken coop fire in the backyard of a home in the **** block of Ligustrum. We don’t know if any actual chickens were involved.”:



And here are some of my favorite comments:

All in all, it was a legendary day. Although, I feel I should apologize to the firefighters for creating a wind tunnel.

But to all my lovely readers, be safe and have an egg-cellent day. Did you see that one coming?