Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Urban Farming

Clara told me this week that she wants to be a farmer when she grows up.  I think every child must say this at some point and love that she is in this stage.  It makes me so glad that we went ahead and got four baby chicks for the girls for Easter because now that the weather is turning nicer and they have outgrown their brooder in the garage (just a big cardboard box that we kept them in with a heat lamp), they are ready to move outside into their coop and we are all having so much fun hanging out in our backyard watching the chickens (they are hardly chicks anymore even though Clara still calls them that) peck around for bugs.  

So within about 30 seconds of seeing the chicks on Easter morning, Clara gave them names like Fluffster, Puffster, Chirpster and something else (I can't really remember).  After explaining that they were girls and we should really give them girl names, she immediately set on Anna and Elsa for two that look very similar.  Then it took a little while to come up with the other two names because I kept vetoing Fluffster but the other two are Gertie and Dorcas (although Dorcas is still called Chirpster half the time, which admittedly is pretty fitting since she chirps more than any of the others when we go to grab her).  Dorcas, a Barred Rock with mostly black feathers, is named for the dark-haired girl in 7 Brides For 7 Brothers.  She is also Rose's favorite chicken, which is obvious because she is the one that Rose follows around the yard, scooping her up when she gets close enough and holding her proudly for us to see.

Paul spent a good part of this past Saturday building a pen for the chickens in our side yard.  Their coop is for night-time and laying eggs (in a couple of months once they are even bigger and start producing), but they need more space to roam while still being protected from predators like raccoons so Paul used wood and chicken wire to build a pen around the coop to keep them safe.  He didn't use any plans or anything - he just came up with how to construct it off the top of his head because he is a genius and super handy and very manly.  He is also a really good sport because the whole backyard chicken thing was totally my idea that he has been good natured about.

And speaking of our backyard, it's a complete wreck right now.  Our big remodel project for 2016 is going to be the exterior of our home, so Paul has been working hard tearing out bushes, cement, and moving dirt, etc. to get ready to install french drains and new retaining walls since the old walls were failing.  It is going to be a long, long process but we are planning on repainting the house, installing new retaining walls in the back, side, and front yards (we live on a hill and have to have them), and probably pouring new concrete for a back patio, side walkway, and maybe even a new driveway as part of the whole project.  And then there is landscaping on to of all that.  It's pretty overwhelming thinking about it and I'm not even the one doing any of the work (until it comes to landscaping and then I'm pretty handy with picking out plants and doing a lot of the planting).  Until then, the girls and the chickens are enjoying having a dirt/root/rock pile to climb on in the backyard.

Clara has a favorite chicken of her own.  It's Elsa and she let's Clara carry her around and pick her up and set her down over and over.  If Clara wasn't as hypervigilant about pointing out every time Elsa poops, she would probably try bringing her into the house and making her a house chicken.

We sure are looking forward to having eggs to gather and eat here in a few more months!