Friday, August 23, 2013

Caged, Part II...the Chicken Tractor.

After stalking chicken tractor designs, running numbers, measuring, running more numbers, a couple trips to different farm and garden centers, and a whole 'lotta man handy husband freed the chickens.  Well, freed them from the coop to their new, spacious, almost-like-being-complete-free-rangers-but-not-quite chicken tractor.  It weighs a ton.  It has wheels on the back but it is impossible for one person to move it on their own to a new location.  We have to either use the Kawasaki mule or the tractor to reposition it.  But it's done.  And it allows the birds to have access to new spaces while keeping them safe from predators and keeping our neighbor's yard safe from them! ;)  And we can position them over the garden or any areas that need *ahem* fertilizer.

So from start to finish, here is their new cage.

Nesting box built in 30 minutes.  They've already taken to it.

I had originally thought we could just let them lay their eggs in that plastic crate, and Roxy did, but she seemed really stressed out that it wasn't very private. LOL!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Our beautiful, friendly chickens are now in a pen.


The problem is that they are too friendly....and had taken to invading our neighbor's yard, his porch, his garden, his lawn mower shed.

One day I happened to notice that Tenderfoot seemed to be missing around the same time every day.


And I noticed that there didn't seem to be as many eggs in the coop as I was expecting.   So I went on a hunt.

This is what I found...........

13 eggs!!!!  With Tenderfoot on top!  I guess she was thinking about starting a family.
These chickens have been so much fun mainly because they follow us out to do our chores, they come running across the yard when we call them, we look out our windows to find them roosting in silly spots (like on the deck rails or beside the mailbox fence), Isabel picks them up and swings with them on the playset, we turn over rocks and logs so they can find bugs....
On Saturday that ended abruptly when our neighbor's daughter came to our door and asked us to keep our chickens off of her property.
And she's right.  Our chickens should be kept on our own property.  So we put a dog kennel around the chicken coop, but our chickens just don't understand. 
IF you think a chicken can't look at you with a sad expression on it's little chicken face, you are wrong!

And we've been pretty depressed about it.
I've really been going back and forth in my head over it.  She had every right to ask us to keep our chickens on our land.  So why was I so upset over it?
Today, Rob put it into words.  "Because you've put a free animal into a cage."
Yes, that was it.  We put these free animals into a cage and now everyone is sad.  Not just the chickens, but the people who were watching these funny birds....we are sad too!
We are working on building a chicken tractor, so that they can go out into a bigger space during the day, while still remaining confined on our property.
Of course, I began thinking that maybe God wanted me to understand something more.  Because true freedom comes only from following His commandments.  God gives us rules to follow not because He wants to boss us around and control us, but out of Love, in order to set us free.
And we can only be truly happy when we are living that true freedom; loving God and obeying His commandments.

Monday, August 5, 2013

School didn't begin as I planned...

The first day of 2nd grade and it began with a sigh and moan.  She wanted to watch tv, and "why do we have to start school today?"  And this bad attitude was not the way I had envisioned a new school year beginning. 

Then Ian snuck upstairs and discovered all the new school things I had set out on the shelves for him, and discovered too that I had brought out his favorite old Little Tykes train and cars playset, and he was eager to set it up.  Rob called him to come back down and that immediately started tears and screams of despair.  I rolled my eyes in my head and the Holy Spirit came upon me with a whisper, "Gentle".

Ian comes into the kitchen sobbing and I get down on his level and take his hands, look into his eyes and gently explain that those toys upstairs are indeed for him to play soon as he gets out of his pajamas and gets dressed.  His tears cease and he hugs me and runs to his room to change with an, "oh yes!!!" 


We rescued the moment.

The first step towards turning this morning around, thanks to the Holy Spirit.

All it took was that whisper.

And a softening of my heart.

God acts.

I respond.

I'm learning from reading The Examen Prayer, this: 

"Like Ignatius, we may have expectations of the way God will act in our lives, which may occasion interior struggles when events prove, in fact, different from our expectations."  The Examen Prayer, p. 80

God whispered that "gentle" into my heart, and had I not been open to recognizing His voice, I might have missed that movement of my soul that wanted to respond to Him.  But I heard it, recognized it, and responded this time, and it allowed us all to proceed in love.

So we rescued the moment and went on to have a great first morning back to school.  Oh, it was challenging still....Isabel needed direction with her new lessons, and Ian wanted Mommy to play with him, then wanted to do work like Isabel, and of course Caroline needed to be nursed and held and rocked to sleep....but we did it!