Last night, just as I was taking off my socks and preparing to put on my pajamas for bed, I remembered that the chickens had not yet been shut away. A. was already huddled in bed, so I put my socks back on, threw on the first coat I found when I got downstairs (A.'s nice wool overcoat, because I am all about the classy), shoved my feet into some shoes, hunted down a flashlight, and FINALLY made it outside, where I trudged somewhat grumpily up the lane to the chicken coop.
I didn't bring any of the dogs out with me. I thought about it, because it's really, really dark out there, and the dogs make me feel safer. Unlike when I lived in a city and had to be afraid of human predators, I now feel just a twinge of fear when I'm out after dark because of wild animals. Not, actually, as much fear, as those wild animals may be wild, but they aren't armed and are much more easily scared off. But I still like to have the dogs with me, because they can sense things way before I can. Things like raccoons, or even coyotes. And they're not afraid of those things, either.
But the dogs were totally zonked out by the fire and I didn't have the heart to make them get up and out into the 14-degree dark. So I went out on my own, and OF COURSE as soon as I got to the forsythia hedge I heard something sort of large rustling around in there. And saw a reflected glow in some critter's eyes when I shined my light in that direction. But as there was no immediate attack by whatever was in the hedge, I elected to suck it up and master my fears. So I continued along the hedge to the chicken coop, expecting all the while for a large raccoon to launch itself out of the hedge and attach itself to my face.
This did not happen, of course, and my face is still thankfully raccoon-less. But next time, I'm waking the dogs up.