Take thirteen chickens. Add neighborhood dog, four children and a mom. Subtract a dad. Factor in emotional attachment and financial expenditures to date and divide it all by 89 degrees and you get the square root of miserable.
Which is what we were yesterday. It was while laying on the couch, imploring the kids to just watch Arthur for a bit while fanning cool air down my nursing cami that we heard the commotion and jumped up to find a strange dog chasing the chickens through the backyard. After chasing said dog away, we spent a hot hour or so rounding the girls up from their hiding places in the woods and continually counting them over and over and over. Twelve. Twelve and a pile of feathers. Twelve and a pile of feathers and three heart broken kids with tear-stained cheeks calling, here chick chick.
And me? I was thinking of all the hours I've spent cleaning the coop and filling feeders and saving carrot peels. The times I've nursed a hurt Kevin back to health even though she only cost a buck forty because she was priceless to my kids. There was this claw injury:
Grotesque to be sure. Dr. mom bandaged that one up quite nicely.
I had to include this shot because the angle of the camera in the close up shot above makes me look like I'm pregnant which I'm absolutely not, but my camera man is six and he doesn't understand camera angles.
Then there's Baldy, who got her head stepped on when she was just a teeny chick and it scalped her, but we smoothed the skin out and she's fine, if not a tad uglier than the others.
Grant even built this chicken cottage with his own two clever hands so that sick or hurt chickens could recuperate without being pecked by the others:
We're thinking of opening a hospital. One that serves chicken nuggets and Kool-Aid while you wait.
So, twelve chickens, while plenty for me, was not good enough for these little people of mine who have fallen in love with thirteen Kevins and can't stand the thought of losing even one. So we prayed. And when we drove in the driveway from Peter's game, there she was. We welcomed her home with singing and dancing, killed the fatted calf (Tess feed her a handful of good organic blueberries) and reunited her with her sisters. Happiness all around.
It must be said that raising chickens is fowl work.