On Wednesday night, I put the kids to bed as usual and, 900 million books and one-more-hugs and I-think-I-need-to-pee-agains later, got ready to go to bed myself. I knew Brandon would be up awhile longer waiting on a big batch of pickles to finish canning.
A beautiful sight, right?!
I was spent after a long day of chicken excitement (we finally could let them out of the coop!) and I was more than ready to hop into bed. Long story short, I started having (what I have since been told were) painful upper uterine contractions that finally forced me to the ER. Long story short (again) baby and I were and are completely FINE – normal placenta, cervix, uterine lining. Normal blood work and urine cultures. Just weird exertion induced muscle cramping that was freaking me out. They held me until the contractions completely stopped for at least a solid hour then freed me back to my own bed.
I pulled into our driveway a little before 5 a.m. with the promise of a restful Thursday. And it WAS restful… for awhile.
Around noon, hawks started dive bombing the chicken coop. Hawks, plural. Freaking out the neighbor. Prompting a friendly neighborhood alert (i.e. pounding on our front door during nap time making Denver go nuts). Prompting me to run outside to witness the hawks dive bombing our coop (picture birds slamming into glass windows). The chickens were going crazy as was I, tears streaming down my face as I’m dragging these poor flapping chickens and their whole coop all the way under the deck where I hoped they’d get a bit of shelter from those crazy aviary predators. I was feeling all unfit-chicken-mother-ish and called Brandon sobbing that I thought the chickens needed to be saved from me and taken away and that I couldn’t take care of or protect them properly. I was blubbering throughout ears that I just could not handle chicken deaths at my finger tips. He calmed me down and we both agreed I should email the owners of Rent The Chicken. I did, thank goodness.
And holy heck those people are awesome. Their whole philosophy is facilitating an easy transition into owning chickens so people can decide if it’s the right decision for their lifestyle and their family. They want to be a solid and accessible source of information for all the times new chicken owners are scared, nervous, or needing advice and naturally wouldn’t know where to turn. And I mean, I knew those things about this company, but now I KNOW those things for certain- and I’m so thankful. I got excellent advice, reassurance and suggestions for the hawks in particular but just an even better general understanding of chickens and predators on a more basic level. I could breathe again. The coop really is predator proof. I wasn’t going to kill those sweet hens. They were most likely safe. Poor girls couldn’t lay their eggs all day probably from the stress of said hawk assailants, but they were totally fine. Clucking away softly again under the deck, waiting for the gobs of clover Lilly and Grace have taken to slipping through their wire.
So I’ve stopped crying from chicken induced trauma and am hugging my girls after their nap (human girls, not chickens). I’m admiring the 19 different stuffed animals Grace drags around our house- a very particularly chosen assortment of favorites that she can’t sleep without. She and Lilly bundle them all up in Gracie’s favorite blankie and carry them down the steps after nap, and back up the steps before bed. It’s crazy annoying but so cute. So I’m loving on them in their sleepy sweetness. Hugs and kisses and talk of the dreams that were had in the mid afternoon sun. We calmly get shoes on and are planning to hang with the chickens a bit before we get Daddy, when WHAM, I hear bone hit something hard and the unmistakeable sound of Lilly’s pre-wail inhale closely followed by the actual wail. She had slipped on the carpet in her shoes and smashed her head and face into the book shelves hung low on the wall. Her mouth was gushing blood and she already had an egg on her cheek and forehead. After a few mouthfuls of blood into the sink and a few long sucks on a wet paper towel, the bleeding stopped, the crying slowed, and we made our way to the car via the garage- heading down the full flight of steps out into the darkness where we had to click the lit button that raised the garage door. This is habit for us and I think nothing of it. But today we all started screaming as there were snakes EVERYWHERE slithering around, startled by us and the garage door and the blinding light. I was screaming at the kids to get out of the garage but they were frozen at my side, clutching my legs. I grabbed a hockey stick (always handy, those damn things) and some random but conveniently placed metal pole and started shoeing the snakes toward the open end of the garage. I clicked the car doors open and was screaming at the kids to get in the car while I’m screaming about the snakes. Both girls were screaming at me and just screaming in general so we were basically one big giant pile of screaming idiots freaking out in the driveway. There was no way I was shutting the garage with all those snakes inside so I carefully – with much screaming – went back in and herded them all out using my weapons of choice, snapping pics to remember what the snakes looked like. The black snakes didn’t bother me much (my brothers have owned snakes our whole lives. Very nice, friendly, happy looking, orange corn snakes haha.) and slithered away like lighting. But the other bigger ones were mean- coiled and hissing, lunging at me with open mouths and crazy red tongues. They definitely did not like me and were trying much harder to stay in the garage.
Anyway, I prevailed. I put my big girl panties on and got those freaking snakes out of our garage. I saved the chickens. Had the craziest day ever after a night of zero sleep. Conquered the world. Cuddled my kids. You know. Classic Mom stuff.
And then I fell apart in a puddle of tears as soon as I saw Brandon. Eeep!
It’s making me feel better, now, to look back on the following sweet pictures of my girls. To see them with their newly beloved chickens having so much fun and learning so very much about the simple world we live in. I do the things I do for them, however crazy, in hopes of inspiring and enlightening their little minds. I do the things I do for them to give them more information, to offer perspective on their environment. I love to see them curious and interested and am certainly enjoying the beginnings of this little hen adventure. We are looking at chicken poop charts together, reading about exotic chickens and chicken folklore and oohing and ahhing over gorgeous coops on pinterest. It’s tedious sometimes- four year old minds are like sponges, never ever tired of new information. But for those girls it’s all worth it.
So for the sake of my own Mama heart, a glimpse at our family excitement the past couple of days. The good parts mostly 😉
Please not Lilly’s dress in the above pictures – hilarious right? That was my dress as a little girl and she is obsessed.
We head out in jambes each morning to see the hens. The cluck, cluck, cluck immediately which makes the girls really happy. They can pretty much do everything from gathering the eggs to getting me the water bucket to pouring their feed and shells into the pipe.
We were both fairly nervous, at first, to pick up the chickens but we’re figuring it out. They’re really calm and sweet once you have them (or maybe they’re just really scared…?)
But they hang out happily clucking in the yard while we play. I love that they gobble up all the clover!
Grace gets pretty nervous, likes Hildegard and Mrs. Cluck to stay close to her.
And I just can’t get enough of having these smooth, pretty eggs on my counter. They just make me want to cook and bake and be in the kitchen!
We painted a little sign for the coop. Nothing crazy but the kids think it’s hysterical that the word “poop” is written on the sign. Kids.
Then there’s this child. I’ve known she loves chickens (or at least the idea of chickens) since my cousin Katie got married on her farm. Lilly was enthralled with the birds as a little toddler and loves them even more now. She’d sit and hold them all day if they let her.
Lilly follows my directions very carefully. She pays attention to what we do and how we do it and catches on really quickly. We’re becoming a better team at getting the girls back into their coop in the evening.
Her love for the chickens just slays me.
And this girls love for eggs! The only problem with checking for eggs all the time and having them out on the counter is the fact that grace wants to EAT eggs all day every day. Eggs for breakfast, eggs for lunch, eggs for dinner. She’ll have high cholesterol in no time! Kidding. But it’s a battle saying no to “more eggs mommy!” all day long.
I love putting the chickens in the garden. It’s fenced in so I know they aren’t going to wander, and so far, they don’t bother the veggies. They dig with those big creepy feet and inhale bugs and beetles. That’s a good thing, right?! They’re mighty happy in there and we just hang out with them while we collect our garden harvest. See those yellow tomatoes? They are divine.
Enjoy your Saturday, sweet friends!