Sunday, May 26, 2002

Gracie, Luna, Rosie and Sunshine are our chickens. I bought a sort of variety pack; a Rhode Island Red, Plymouth Rock, an Arucana and a "runt." We are new to the farm, but I must say we have taken to our brush with country livin' with the right combination of natural skills and utter ignorance. Our chicks started their lives with us living in a small rabbit cage. We let them free range, under our watchful eyes, in a small corner of the yard. It wasn't long before 3 year old Max was scooping up a chick under his arm and talking to her in the gentle tones of a wise and kind farmer. Alex is partial to Sunshine. The woman at the feedstore wouldn't name Sunshine's breed and told me "that's just a runt." Now our runt is top of the pecking order and looking every bit like a Rhode Island Red Rooster!

Chicks grow fast. We researched hen houses and chicken coops and found a full range of styles. Mobile coops are popular. The industrial look and the low clearance left me uninspired. I found an aviary at a feed store in Ramona. Geoff was concerned about the effect being 'trashy', but I think we've spruced it up satisfactorily. The boys drew and colored portraits of their growing chicas, which we have framed and hung over the roost and nesting box. On the outside we placed my potting table and we have a miniature orchard growing. It's coming together nicely. And the chicks? They love their home on the range and come home to roost every night. You can be certain, if the sun is down, the chicas are huddled togther and clucking contentedly in their stylish, tasteful new home.

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