Friday, January 1, 2010

Of chickens and children - our Thanksgiving hunt

It was the day before we were leaving for an out of town wedding over Thanksgiving. I had a LOT to get done - laundry, packing, lists, cleaning, and making lunch for my mom and showing her how to care for the animals while we were away. I was just about done making the mile long list of things to accomplish for the day when Jeff and Nicholas came inside and declared that I "didn't have to worry about the chickens while we were away". Um, what? Then I noticed the tears in Nic's eyes. Then his lip began to quiver and the waterworks that he was working so hard to contain began to let loose.

They had been trying to move the 2 chickens to the garage to make caring for them easier in their new "vacation home", and it was, well, a disaster. Mission FAILED. I was told that one chicken headed to the woods behind our house and the other went for the ditch between our house and the neighbors. At about that point Jeff had to get dressed and head off for work. I was left with a heartbroken child who had just lost 2 pets who was blaming himself, a still messy house, a half packed suitcase, company on the way, and now a twitching eye to complete the package.

Lucky for me, my mom wears the same size sneakers as I do :) When she and my 16 year old brother arrived, we abandoned lunch for the moment, and came up with an AWESOME plan of attack. It's called: Me, Nic, Syd, Nana wearing my extra sneakers, Matthew and 2 laundry baskets with a spare comforter and some extra sheets hunting chickens. Did you know my chickens are the same color as the pine straw? Well, they are. It made it extra fun. An hour later, we actually CAUGHT a chicken!!

Matthew chased it from the ditch to a hole in the fence...the fence that keeps the Weimeraner in the yard. Oops. But Nic put the dog in the house and then Matthew and I had the pleasure of cutting through pricky vines to get to where the chicken was now hiding in the corner of the yard. Apparently we have some maintenance to do. We got it in the basket and covered it with the blanket and got it in the garage coop. I felt like I had just won the frickin lottery! It was a hoot. And my neighbors witnessed some of this...and my children heard a lot of new words whilst we were running after said chicken . Effin chicken is a grand phrase after all. But that's ok, because Nicholas had 1 pet back before going out of town, and we could have lunch.

After lunch, mission chicken was back on. This time was harder because we were headed to the woods and the chicken was not playing nice. Matthew and I incurred many an injury from vined trees, but once the chicken was spotted by my mom (waiting on the back deck with Sydney, laughing at us, once again we were swearing and running after a chicken after all) I just couldn't stop going you know? I wasn't going to go to Charleston and leave this chicken behind. Nicholas tried very hard to catch it with us, and eventually it gave up and laid down in a weird circular formation of sticks. Maybe it thought we couldn't see it there? So we gathered around it and I had no other option that to TOUCH THE CHICKEN. This is where my comfort zone ends. Me and feathered creatures outside of a cage who may or may not bite me, um, no thanks. But this was Nic's chicken. He feeds them and cares for them and calls them "his girls". *sigh* It had to be done, and quickly. Even Matthew told me to get the friggin chicken. So I did it. I scooped it up, put it in my laundry basket, and continued to hold it. I couldn't chance it getting away again.

So there it ends. The Crimson Twins were home again. It was traumatic for us all. A bonding experience and probably the best Thanksgiving story our family will ever have. And we still made it to Charleston with packed suitcases, although the house just had to stay the way it was. A small sacrifice for the kids happiness.

A family that hunts chickens in the backyard together is a family that stays together, or something like that :)

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