Did I Mention “Chickens?”

Yes, I believe I did. We had chickens back in ninety-two. We are thinking about getting some again. We really love the fresh eggs. In ninety-two the idea of a farm was just so enticing to us.  I had talked a long time to Pumpkin about having chickens. We thought that she and mama, the name she called me at that time, would have a wonderful time with chickens. We had dogs. We even had a couple of cats. Our daughter was going to raise pigs for FFA. So why shouldn’t we try our hand at chickens?

Wonderful, a sale at the feed store. Buy four, get one free. This sounded good so Steve and I headed out to get five chickens. The feed store was down in Puyallup and we lived in Buckley. Not in Buckley but between Buckley and Bonny Lake but our address was Buckley. It was the first time we had lived in the “country.” Oh we were going to have so much fun.

Oh my gosh, do you know how many different kinds of chickens there are?  Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Wyondottes, Australorps, Leghorns, Jersey Giants, Dominikers, the list goes on and on. Some lay brown eggs, some white and even blue & blue-green. Yes, there really are green eggs . We wanted brown eggs, or mostly brown.

I’m sure you all know just how very cute baby chicks are too, don’t you? Five, that’s what we went for. Okay, two of these and two of those and we get a free one, so we will take that one right there. “But wait,” of course this is me speaking. “What if they pair up, you know, like buddies? That would leave one without a buddy. We gotta have one more.”

Steve just shook his head and grinned and said to the sales clerk, “Get her one more like that last one please.”

There were more sales and so many precious little chicks. Four trips, six at a time, we ended up with twenty four total. Six were Rhode Island Reds, six Barred Rocks, six Buff Orpingtons and six Banties. We managed to get only one Rooster in the regular chickens. He acquired the name “Bob.” I don’t remember how or why, but Rooster Bob was what he would be called from then on.  On the other hand our Banties were matched sets. Two Buff Brhamas, two White Crested Black Polish and Two White Sultans. Did we have a chicken house for them yet? That, would have made too much sense. No, we had a huge wardrobe box left over from moving. Steve built a screen top for it and rigged up heat lamps. The garage was a safe place for them so that’s exactly where they started out. Now, you all should see lesson number one coming here. Yep,  Rule 1….Don’t buy the chicks until you have the coop to put them in.

It also just happened to be close to Easter. What did the girls want? Bunnies of course! The talk of bunnies became the main dinner time conversation. What do bunnies eat? Can you walk them on a leash? Can you keep them in the house? What are we going to name our bunnies?

“Hold on a minute girls. When was the YES word ever used in this conversation?” Dad, wasn’t sure he was ready for bunnies.

They looked at him, and just like he will do, they grinned and continued on with their conversation. Oh the names they thought of, and oh my, the names they decided on. The funniest one was from Pumpkin. Being just two, we offered up all kinds of help suggesting cute bunny names. Then we asked her, “So what do you think you’d like to name a bunny if you get one for Easter. The answer absolutely floored us and no one had any idea of how she came up with it.

“Forty-five.” she responded with smile that spread as wide as her darling little ears. “Forty-five is what I’m gong to call my bunny.”

Every one of us sat, silent for a moment with mouths gaping open. Some one replied, “Forty-five, what kind of a name is that?”

“Shush,” I said, “She’s two.”  Then I tried reasoning with a two year old. Have you ever done that? No? Reason with a two year old I mean. No? I didn’t thinks so and I don’t think there are too awfully many who have actually been able to do it. Reasoning. It just doesn’t happen.

“But Pumpkin,” I began again, “What about all those cute names we told you. Don’t you want to use one of them? How about Mopsey? Mospsey is a really, really good name.”

“Nope,” I like Forty-five. It’s name will be Forty-five.” With that statement of fact, she was gone. Off to her own little world out on the back porch taking Blossom, our Rottweiler, with her as they were constant companions. Blossom sat with her, Blossom wore doll clothes and shawls and hats. Blossom was her pillow if she wanted to lay down. Blossom was a good dog and would have protected this child with her life had it ever become necessary.

Meanwhile, Steve had started the chicken coop. Working fast and feverishly, he sawed and hammered from dusk to dawn. I had to go do my share of holding and handing materials for and to him as did all the girls. The chicks were growing and would soon need a place of their own. Some place not in the garage. But this wasn’t what was on Steve’s mind. Oh, you think that since he is building it, the coop must be what he is thinking about, right?   Wrong, well sort of wrong. Along with building the coop, knowing it had to be done soon, the next most prominent thing on his mind was,

“Oh, my word, a hutch. I have to get this done because now, I have to build a bunny hutch.”

Now you know how it came about that we acquired a coop full of chickens and yes, bunnies were in the thought process. But this is not the ending of this story folks. No, not at all. It’s actually,  just the beginning.

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The Chicken Coop and garden.

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