After several enjoyable years as a chicken mama, the time finally came to turn the page on this chapter of my life. A little too much mess, a little too much extra work, a little too much, um, poo.
Fortunately, our sons’ wonderful first grade teacher, who is a dear friend, offered to adopt them. She’s an enthusiastic urban farmer, and every year she hatches out eggs in her classroom. I still remember how excited our boys were the week that the chicks arrived. I also remember how excited our youngest was after an impromptu visit to her home, where he spent a thrilling hour in the backyard hunting for eggs. Afterwards, he announced that he was going to start a business when he grew up, and that he already had a name for it: 1-800-Egg-Finders. "I’ll bet a lot of farmers will want to hire me," he told us confidently.
(Much to his embarrassment, I reminded him of this a few years ago when I brought three little chicks home from the feed store.)
In the time they spent with us, our "girls" provided not only eggs, but also endless entertainment. They were convinced that Bonnie, our Shetland Sheepdog, was their mother, and spent their days trailing around after her. One chicken even took to laying her eggs in the dog house. All three of them were determined to be house pets, and any door left open more than a crack would soon find a chicken sneaking through it.
Our boys are all grown up now, one about to graduate high school and the other soon to start his senior year in college. They’re no longer as thrilled with chickens, nor with the responsibility that comes with raising them. And I’m finding that as I devote more and more of my time to writing books these days, I have less and less time for other things. Especially other things that need to be fed, watered, shooed out of the house and the garden, or otherwise watched over. So this morning my husband and I rounded up our trio of hens — Dixie, Trixie, and Pixie — and drove them to their new home. It’s a little piece of chicken heaven, with several lush acres to roam, a sturdy red hen-house filled with new feathered friends, and overseeing it all, a resident llama. Who could ask for more?
Still, I’ll miss our girls.
Earlier this week, I returned from a research trip (Jane Austen territory — more on this soon) to find a bit of good news awaiting me. Borders has chosen “The Mother-Daughter Book Club” as a May book club pick! I’m thrilled!