It is a breezy, clear morning of what promises to be another warm, sunny day. The birdsong chorus is not as riotous as it was a month ago. Birds are still singing, but not as many of them and not as insistently. Mornings are calmer by the end of June.
The old chicken house sits to the south of the popple grove (popples, not kept in check, edging farther and farther out into the meadow), largely in shade most of the day. On the first farms in this part of Michigan, in the old days all the buildings were sided with cedar shakes. Houses, barns, granaries. Fish shanties and boathouses, too. White pine timber was cut and shipped to cities for building purposes; cedar, strong and plentiful, splitting easily into shingles and with oils that repelled insects, as well, was the local building material. There are many 100-year-old cedar shakes still at work in Leelanau County.
Unpainted shingles weather from light, bright brown to warm, deep tones and then to dark or grey over the years, depending on the direction of exposure to the sun and amount of roof overhang and shade. On the west face of this old chicken house, the shingles are darker the lower down their position on the wall. Many are streaked from weathering or dotted with holes from predations of birds and insects. The doors, one on the east end and another on the west, are made of plain boards, and there is a square-framed, boarded-over opening up high in the west wall with a screened triangular opening in its center, doubtless for ventilation. The door is fastened with simple hinges and simple lock. At the peak of the eaves are remnants of the old electric line and exterior light fixture. Alongside the end of the building is an old aluminum boat on a rack.
Cooing of mourning doves sounds from deep in the big barn. As the sun rises higher over the eastern woods, light falls through the popples onto the north wall of the chicken house, and individual popple leaves in the grove are backlit, their margins edged with gold. These leaves rustle ceaselessly in the morning breeze.