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Diddee, Dumps, and Tot

July 11, 2013

Every year at Hope Academy the third graders hatch chickens for a classroom project.  Every year I make a strong case for bringing these chickens home to live in our yard.  Every year Dan is unconvinced.  But my persistence has paid off and this year, to my surprise Dan said, “Okay.”

Thus began a flurry of activity to get the chickens home before he changed his mind.  It went something like this, “I’m taking the kids to pick up the chickens, if you could just rustle up a coop while we are gone that would be great.”  The resulting coop is really nifty.  Dan fashioned it from things we happened to have laying around the garage. It has a water-tight roof that opens on a hinge for me to reach in and get eggs.  It has a deck where the chickens can enjoy their morning coffee.  The deck has a ramp that leads down to an enclosed run where the chickens can get a work out in.  The whole thing is lofted over our compost pile so the poop just takes care of itself.  I will be posting a DIY chicken coop tutorial soon.  It was almost as simple as the American flag.

My part of the deal, picking up the chickens proved to be a little more challenging.  We had to retrieve them from the backyard of the second grade teacher who was keeping them with her own chickens for the third grade teacher until she could find them a home.  The teacher was not home.  With Aunt Betsy by our side for moral support, the four children and I approached the chickens.  The trick was getting them from the cage in her yard to the cage of Mr. Tumnus (who was enjoying a romp in our bathtub while his cage was on loan).  We opened the cage a little crack and attempted to coax the white chickens forth, but not the brown chickens (who would be staying with their teacher to repeat second grade).  Not surprisingly, the yard was immediately full of chickens… and children chasing chickens… which appeared to be chasing Aunt Betsy… who it turns out is scared of chickens.  I could not catch those chickens to save my life.

It was Elizabeth who calmly grabbed up the chickens one by one and stuffed them into the cage.

Aunt Betsy with a gasp: “A chicken whisperer.”

Elizabeth: “And I didn’t even grow up on a farm!”

Each child has a chicken.  Elizabeth’s is Diddee, Miss P’s is Dumps, and Charlie has Tot.

News Flash: As I was writing this post, I was interrupted by a text from my next door neighbor.  Unfortunately, brother fox seems to have made off with Miss P’s chicken, leaving nothing but Dumps’s FEET in our front yard, which Charlie suggested we eat, but I am thinking we will not, as I told Charlie, brother fox may have licked them. The twins think we should not tell Miss P that the victim was Dumps.  We’ve been speaking about it in hushed tones all morning, but Miss P keeps following us around saying, “What are you guyths whithpering about?”

This new development has me questioning whether a man should make a chicken coop from items found around the garage.

I will now spend some time looking on Craig’s list for another free chicken (preferably white with black specks) before Miss P notices her absence.

I think this is a good early lesson for the children in the harsh realities of farm life, and of nature”red in tooth and claw”.

Below, a memorial video of Dumps, having the time of her life.

P.S. We will be setting up an online calendar so you can sign up to bring us a meal during this difficult time.

P.P.S. Nicole, our boarder and one of the first responders had the good sense to secure the crime scene (see below).

dora 078

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Papaw permalink
    July 11, 2013 7:52 am

    Put me down for a meal. I’ll be bringing the Northern Pike.

  2. Kristine permalink
    July 11, 2013 7:55 am

    Mark once ordered chicken feet at a Dim Sum restaurant and, much to the delight and shock of those with us, ate all of them. I’ll send him over to cook them up for our meal :).

  3. July 11, 2013 8:11 am

    How cool! I have been wanting to keep chickens but I fear that our neighbor, who already doesn’t like the causal look of our yard, would not sign off. Please post a photo of the coop. How did he do it so fast? I will be expecting a few gift eggs to arrive in school when they start laying.

  4. Grammie permalink
    July 11, 2013 8:16 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you need a rooster to help in this process? Is Tot a rooster?

    My condolences on the quick demise of Dump.

  5. July 11, 2013 9:32 am

    Alas, a musical lament –

    Poor Dumps is dead
    Poor Dumps Chick is dead
    Her friends are weepin’ wail for miles around (echo: miles around)
    The daisies in the dell
    Will give out a different smell
    When poor Dump Chick is underneath the ground

  6. July 11, 2013 10:28 am

    I bet it was a racoon 😦

  7. July 11, 2013 1:57 pm

    I laughed ’till I cried. Happy tears. Great video.

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