My daughter's story about the rooster and the light saber the other day got me thinking about all the differences my kids have enjoyed by living where and how we did. Although we are essentially right smack dab in the middle of a community with nearly 300,000 people in it, we have managed to live a very rural lifestyle because of where our house is. Having an acre of land and me for a mom led to my kids experiencing stuff most city kids do not, including their experiences with poultry.
One way to keep chickens and also improve your soil is with a chicken tractor. This is a movable pen with no bottom and it takes advantage of a chicken's natural tendency to scratch at the soil, poop, eat weeds and bugs, all of which improve the soil. You need to move the pen every few days to a fresh spot. I was all gung ho about this method and built a brilliant tractor that was 4' x 10' and put a bunch of chickens in it. I had only been doing this for a while when an opportunity came up to go on a great vacation. This isn't so easy to do with four little kids around but I sweet talked a sister into coming to stay with them and skipped off to the British Virgin Islands on a sailboat with some friends.
One day my sister (who only raised one child and he had been raised for a long time when this happened) was dealing with the kids and caring for the animals and keeping the trees alive (back before I had a water source and the acre was watered with a bucket). Well, the wind came up and the tractor was untested in the wind. It got picked up by a big gust and was blown onto the neighboring property scattering the 15 chickens hither and yon. So she runs out with the kids helping her and is trying to get everything squared away with the wind blowing like hell and the chickens all in a panic and the kids chasing the birds when my neighbor drives up. She is the world's sweetest woman in many ways but she is a hard headed German with a stubborn streak a mile wide and tattooed eyebrows which leave her with a perpetually surprised look on her face. This worked out well when she was babysitting my kids as they knew in no uncertain terms that she said what she meant and meant what she said. My sister, however, did not know her well. So when she pulled up, stopped her car and watched for a while my sister was a bit offended that she didn't offer any assistance. After watching the mayhem for a while she got out and walked over to my sister to inform her of her perfectly reasonable explanation for not helping. In a ridiculously thick German accent she explained that she could not help her because she "vaz verring her diamonds". My sister still hasn't gotten over it. I still haven't stopped laughing.
Here are today's five:
1. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
2. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams
3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4. A 150watt outdoor flood light bulb.
5. Another one just like the other one in #4.