Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why the Chickens Crossed the...

Remember that project we started last week? We wrapped it up today, and I can finally answer that age-old question: Why did the chickens cross the "road"? Because the peeps were moving in!

As you can see, our borrowed brooder was just plain running out of room for our growing chicks, and we really didn't have another weekend to spare before they needed a bigger place to call home. In a whirlwind week we got perches, a ramp, and our automatic door installed in the playhouse, all cracks and windows fortified with chicken wire and #8 hardware cloth, and a sturdy grid of twine woven overhead. On Sunday the big girls made their big move!

Then here and there throughout the week I got the old coop cleaned out, freshened up, and battened down so the little girls could move into the big girl coop, which we happily helped them do this afternoon.

Now the garage is quiet, peaceful, and a little less smelly, the big girls have lots of room to roam, and the peeps have their own space to stretch and grow! Tonight we'll take a walk out to our chicken yard to make sure everyone went to bed where they were supposed to go, and tomorrow I'll finally get our automatic door programmed properly for the big girls, but as far as this little project is concerned, I'm calling it a wrap!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

2020 Peeps

They're getting big. We're starting to move them outside for the day whenever the weather allows, and those little feather girls are loving it! They run around like pinballs, they stretch their wings and try to fly, they eat grass and try to eat sticks and everything else they find... in short they put on quite a show (under the watchful eyes of the Chicken Friends, of course). They're right there on the boarder of being almost-too-big-to-be-inside, and we're starting to feel some pressure to get everything ready for their next phase into our flock. (We're going to make darn sure we don't repeat the mistakes of last time.)

This past weekend we moved the kid's playhouse- no longer something being used by our suddenly big Littles- in to the dog run- also something no longer being used- to make a new chicken yard. the dog run's fence is waaaay better than what's loosely wrapped around the current chicken yard, and the playhouse-turned-chicken-coop is super cute and a lot more visible from the back windows of the house, so it seems like it'll be a perfect marriage of repurposing and fortification. 

Of course we're not going to be throwing away the old coop; after the pathetic fence comes down around their run, we're planning on clearing out the brush and moving the bee hives up near the garden, repairing the doors of the coop, and making that where pullets, sick birds, and broody hens can be kept. It'll be the fortified specialty coop. 

For now, though, we're just past phase one, and while our little teen feather girls stretch their wings and soak up the sun, I'll be putting hardware cloth over the playhouse windows, building a ramp and roosting bars, and figuring out a way to keep those giant red-tailed raptors from picking off my birds once they're in their new digs.

I can't wait to have a place where they can freely roam again, y'all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Right Now

Our three-day weekend went by in a blur, and even though we're all at home and you could argue that almost every day feels like a weekend these days, I would also argue that we did our best to make this past weekend feel a just a little different from the same-old same old...

...we finished the waterfall! (The gnomes approve)

...we smoked a brisket.

...we had Easter baskets and a long morning in pj's.
...some of us started said morning even later than others...
...we made the season's first fruit pizza.
...some of us also got extra screen time.

Not pictured are the other projects we worked on that took full advantage of the beautiful weather- we moved the playhouse into the old dog run to start the ball rolling on the new chicken setup, we trimmed a bunch of trees and started our next bonfire pile, we started working out Phase Two of the front yard landscaping, and we even might have ventured over to a friend's house for an outside egg hunt and a little safely-distanced company to mark the Easter holiday.

Now it's chilly, it's Tuesday, and it's back to business as usual- more conference calls, Zoom meetings, and Google Classroom projects- you know, the same-old same-old. It won't be long before there's another weekend upon us and another opportunity to think it through to really make it feel like something different from the other days of us all stacked on top of each other... so here's to a week of work and a weekend of play, however that might shape up to look like for all of us! Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, April 11, 2020


I think all my days look about the same now, but nonetheless, wishing all a happy 3-day weekend, however piled up on top of each other we may be feeling!

Post Script: Happy birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Our Last 9th

Our Henny-Benny's 9th birthday was yesterday, our last 9th ever (*sniff sniff*)- but because of our SIP situation we had no party, no friends over, no outings planned. We stayed put and tried to make the day full of things he loved- pancakes with whipped cream and orange sprinkles, new Lego builds, mac-n-cheese and mint Milanos, a family game of laser tag... and an afternoon of Minecraft and friend messenger fun... or at least that's what we'd planned. BUT our internet went down around 9am and didn't come back until almost dinner time, so the second half of his isolated birthday was spent watching the chicks, hanging out with Mama while I worked on the pond waterfall, haunting Sissy while she helped, and halfheartedly sketching in his sketchbook. Poor guy. But true to his sweet laid-back nature he never made a big deal about it, never really indulged in more than "ooohhh maaaannn!" When the internet finally came back on he was so excited we let him stay up an extra hour to try and make sure his birthday wrapped up on a high note.

And speaking of high, would you look at how much he grew over this last year? He'll be as tall as me (and taller!) in no time.

Happy birthday Henry Warden!

Monday, April 6, 2020


We've been out of sync with 'normal' for almost a month now. No dining out, no playdates at the trampoline park or the zoo. No ninth birthday party plans. If we really focused on it, we would probably find ourselves feeling claustrophobic and stir-crazy, isolated and anxious... it's a slippery slope, but one I think we're all doing our best to balance on the edge of without falling right now.

Getting out to the grocery store almost feels like a treat these days, but once out there's a thick feeling of anxiety in the air that almost inspires an instinctual urge to run back home to safety.

I wonder how Audrey and Henry will remember this. Will it feel like one big long break? Will they think fondly of all the Lego challenges, baking, board games and movies? Will they remember feeling worried? Will they be able to get back into the swing of things when school begins again?

We took a walk at sunset the other night, kids in galoshes running ahead to splash in puddles, parents hanging back with heavy thoughts, watching. The light was golden and everything made them laugh- bugs in their hair, wet pant legs, Suka watching her own shadow.

For them, it was just another great evening in the middle of a week without days, the feeling of spring in the air and the promise that bed time would be a little later than usual.

I think that's how they'll remember this all. Not the anxiety, not the worry. The moment they occupy right here, right now.

It's how I want to remember it, too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


A hazy start to an otherwise sunny, beautiful first of April. If anyone is curious, there are exactly six more days until Henry turns nine, ten more days until Pappy's birthday, and eleven more days until Easter, as we have been exuberantly reminded no less than three times already today. In short, Henry is loving the fact that April is here. Wishing all the same feelings about the new month ahead, no fooling. Happy April first!