Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Death in the Family...

It probably seems a bit weird to start a blog off with a death..but that is life around here...a bit weird. And the death...well it kind of sums up these last few weeks around here in a nutshell: utter craziness.

Okay, to get the whole impact of this story you might need a little background. In May, before we left to go camping on the Coast, we bought some chicks from a fellow 4-H leader friend. Ross and the kids (and Grandma W) have been nagging me, (I MEAN NAGGING ME!) to get some chickens. It is quite the fad around here these days, there have been several articles in the local papers about keeping chickens "in the city" and the local feed store sold out of hundreds of the little peeps in record time this Spring. Now, I had chickens for 22 years of my life, they are not my favorite animal but they are okay. I did appreciate having fresh eggs and in fact did not know how to buy eggs from the store when I married Ross, but I do not consider having chickens a necessity, especially since we live in town. We only live on 1/3 of an acre. We also have two dogs. One is a Labrador Retriever. Are you getting a chill? Do you see where this story is going?

So anyway, the chicks had to live in our garage for a while, with their heat lamp, and frequent visits from the children and their friends...waiting for the weather to warm up and for Ross to finish his "amazing, totally innovative, never seen before chicken coop". (Yes, I am rolling my eyes right now.) We had 5 chicks (3 Bard Rocks, 2 Rhode Island Reds for those of you who are chicken afficionados). I did request an Araucana because I wanted blue/green eggs. This is the only chicken I kinda sorta wanted. So the Araucana came a week later than the others. She was distinctly different looking and for some reason, became the only chicken that we named - Zena, the Warrior Princess.

Eventually the stars aligned, Ross finished his coop, the weather warmed up and the chicks were allowed to grow-up and move outside. Oh, what a big day in the Eldridge household. The little maniacs cheered their growing chicks on and let them spread their wings inside their new coop. There was much concern over whether they would know how to go up their chicken ramp to their nesting boxes or whether they would have to be put up each evening and brought down each morning. There was concern over whether they would be too cold (after all Central Oregon's Spring is notoriously fickle). However, I was the only one who voiced concern about the safety of the chicks - "uh, chicken wire will not keep in a 110 lb Labrador Retriever 'ya know?" "ummmm...I think we need more wire, heavier wire...".

For a few days it was bliss....the kids had the chickens out frequently (with the dogs locked in the garage). We noticed a few dents in the chicken wire ("uhhhh...Ross...."), we checked the chickens before we left the house and immediately after we came back. Then one evening, I brought the kids home from choir practice at church. Ross had just gotten home from work. Suddenly I hear from the back yard, "Hey, one of the chickens is out...." I think "uh-oh"....Mermaid rushes outside while Ross opens up his garden fence to get the chicken. "Ummm...see if you can find Zena...she's the only one missing.....".

Okay, my fingers are tired and we got offered free dinner at my parents house so I think I am just going to have to finish this post later. Free food always scores higher than computer time in my book. Man, this blog thing is more involved than I thought.

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