I rushed inside with my muck boots still on to check the kitchen clock. Our family had already celebrated the New Year with my visiting in-laws earlier in the evening before my husband left for his night shift in the Emergency Department. We had pretended it was midnight and had counted down from “10 to Happy New Year” with a balloon drop over the balcony of our stairway. Our children and my in-laws had soon after gone to bed. But, I had stayed up looking forward to relaxing by our fireplace, reflecting on the past year, and counting the seconds down to the real New Year. Well, I had decided at 11:40 p.m. that there was still plenty of time left in 2014 to check on our children’s show chickens. Re-filling their waterers with fresh water and piling more feed on their feeders apparently had taken a little longer than expected. I had heard a flurry of fireworks exploding from distant parties. But, I hadn’t thought 20 minutes could have passed so quickly, so I had figured our neighbors were warming up for their finale. I even lingered a bit watching the happy chickens thankful for their fresh water and food. I had then noticed that all of a sudden the skies had become quieter and that’s when I had sprinted at world record speed from the barn. Standing in the kitchen breathless with a trail of mud mixed with chicken poop and bedding flakes on the tile behind me, I stared in disbelief at the clock. 12:04 a.m. Seriously? I had rung in the New Year in a barn with chickens. Never again. The next thing nailed to our barn wall will be a clock.