A month ago, our sweet Minnie was attacked by what we believe was a racoon. I went out as I did every morning, to let the three girls out of their coop to free range in our yard. But this time something was very different. Usually as I’m walking towards the coop, I can hear them ruffling with excitement as I come to open the coop door. This time though, I didnt hear a sound. I didnt think anything of it, maybe I was just a little earlier than usual. It was about 6am, but maybe they had a late night and were still sleeping. I open the door and no sight of them flying down the ramp. Hmmm, I thought to myself. They usually fly out of the door, with Minnie leading the way. I hope they didnt freeze to death. It had been cold a few nights in a row but they’ve made it through colder nights I thought to myself. Well, I gathered up courage and said let me open their nesting coop and see what happened to them. I walk over and notice the top of the nesting box was thrown on the floor. I knew then something had gotten to them. My heart dropped. I wanted to cry but didnt want to upset my daughters, I calmly made my way through the yard hoping that maybe they couldn’t wait to get out and pushed the nesting box door onto the floor with their little heads. These girls have gone missing before and they’ve always come back to us so I was holding on to that same hope. Suddenly I hear rustling in the woods, I see Nutella coming out of the woods, I think to myself phew, they’re ok but then I notice the other two were not with her and that’s not typical. They’re always together. She came out squawking her chicken talk like she was trying to tell me something. She was all alone. My heart broke as I watched her. She seemed lost and lonely. Now I felt for sure that something happened. I didnt want my daughters to let on that something was wrong so I went upstairs to shower and told God that I was leaving it in his hands as I always do. About 20 minutes later, my older daughter calls out to me and says “mom, the chickens are making a lot of noise, what’s wrong with them?”. “Chickens?” I ask her. Wondering if she actually saw more than one chicken. “Stella and Nutella are near our back door making noise but I dont see Minnie”. I was relieved to hear that another chicken was safe. “Phew” I thought to myself again. Ok, so the other chicken might just need sometime before she reappears. Believing that Minnie would make her way home soon, I tell my inquisitive daughter what happened. But soon turned into hours and still no sign of her. All three of my daughters are now aware of what happened and they start to become hysterical, fearing that something happened to her. Nothing I say comforts them. They didnt want to hear any of it. They just wanted Minnie home and so did I. She was the life of the coop. Big and strong. Beautiful and sweet. She was a fighter. Everytime I went out there with scraps she’d make her way through, running as fast as she could past the other two to make sure the scraps were hers and only hers. It made me laugh everytime. I’d have to throw her scraps first and then quickly throw to the other two. The day finally was coming to an end, and there was no sign of Minnie. But I still remained hopeful, I had read several blog posts and online forums saying that sometimes a chicken goes into hiding after they’ve been attacked and they come out when they feel safe. I told the girls of this possibility and we all remained hopeful. The next morning brought no sign of minne. My husband walked through our yard again with melina. A few minutes later she comes running through the back door crying, “we found minnie and she is not alive”, my heart sank. The news was awful. It’s not going to be the three of them anymore I thought to myself, and no other hen will be able to replace her. How senseless it all felt, she was attacked and barely nibbled on. I would have felt better if at least she was the predators meal, but he didnt even eat her. Just took her life from us and left her there all alone. Made me think of all of the things that go on around the world, that you ask yourself “why, what was the point of this”. It’s amazing how much you can love a hen. How bad it hurts to know how frightened she must have been. The kids were devastated, they loved her so much. They raised her, held her, cared for her and made sure she knew she was loved, and now it almost felt like we let her down. As a mother I just wanted to protect their little hearts, telling them “it’s ok, this is nature”, but they didnt want to hear any of it. It wasn’t ok, nothing about it was ok and they were right.We miss her lots. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to see her running out in the yard. I miss the large eggs we used to find in the coop from her. We will definitely get more chickens but no one will ever replace minnie. We gave her a proper burial and we visit her every day. Shes out on the land she loved and shes with us every day. Goodbye Minnie, we love you.
My seven year old daughter, Lia, wants to change the world just as Dr. Martin Luther King jr. did. But she said she’s afraid that if she tries to do something good that something bad will happen to her. Like so many other people in history, Martin Luther king died doing something he believed in. I told lia that in his short life, he did more and lived more than most people who live to be 100 years old. He made a contribution to this world, and left his foot prints for others to follow. He was a soldier fighting a war and he won. I dont think he would have changed a thing about his fight. Lia, never let fear stop you from doing good in this world.
The other day Amir prepared a bird house project for the girls. They always see him doing work around the house, whether its building a shed from scratch, or building a bunk bed, or putting in new floors the girls always like watching the process and ask what can they do. This past Christmas Lia asked for her own tool kit so she could be like dad. So, since the girls have such an interest he figured he’d come up with a project that they could build from start to finish. He took lia to home depot with him and selected the wood, then with lia by his side he cut enough pieces to build three bird houses. He then had each girl step by step put each piece of their own house together. They each got a turn using the drill and they had so much fun. The building part was with dad and painting the houses was with me. They’re so big now that I barely have to do anything. I dont even get to decide on the color that they use. Basically, it’s not my project anymore. I had to hold back on trying to pick out the colors I liked when we were shopping for the paint. I’m so glad I didnt influence they’re choices, they put together great color schemes. As they get older I can definatley see them doing more projects with dad. They love to build things, even better if they get to use real tools.I can’t wait to hang these in our yard and meet our new furry neighbors.
When our oldest daughter was born, my husband and I made up our own lyrics to the well known childrens lullaby hush little baby. I made up a mother’s version and he made up a father’s version. Many nights were spent rocking our children to sleep to that song and tonight when I laid down with lia on her bunk bed I sang her my version.
Hush, little baby don’t you cry, mamas going to catch you a butterfly. And if that butterfly flutters by, mamas going to bake you an apple pie. And if that apple pie ain’t warm, mamas going to make you a cobb of corn. And if that corn ain’t sweet and ripe, mamas going to teach you to read and write. And once you’ve learned your abc’s mamas, going to teach you your 123’s. So hush little baby don’t you cry, mamas going to always be by your side.
I love the beginning of a new year. Its an opportunity to make a fresh start. An opportunity to rewrite your story. If last years story didn’t turn out so well, start writing a new one. Or do a little editing. What worked? What didn’t work? What things did you do last year that you can take off of your bucket list. What can you add to it this year? The world is filled with so much opportunity. Its ours for the taking. We just have to realize it. I tell my girls they can do or be anything they want. This year, they can find their brave, try new things, maybe dance, sing, or discover new hobbies. What ever it is, today is the best day to start.
Can’t believe the holidays are almost over. It feels like we just went out to look for the perfect tree and now the days are quickly approaching where it’s time to put it all away. We have had a blessed, happy, healthy, fulfilling 2018. Nothing big happened (maybe something in 2019) but every day had it’s own special moment with lots of little celebrations in between and little personal accomplishments here and there. Our chickens were the biggest addition to our family and the excitement of finding an egg in the coop never gets old. We’ve been in our new home for a year and half now and we love it more and more each day. The kids have adjusted well and we look forward to making lots of memories here. I’m excited for the new year to begin. I love a fresh start, an excuse to reinvent myself and things around me. I’m hoping to find more time for creativity and to write in this space right here. Happy 2019!
A few months ago I asked Lia what she wanted to be when she grew up and she quickly responded “I want to be happy.” What a wise little girl! I can’t imagine a better answer. All I want is for all of my children to grow up and be happy. Whatever they choose to do or be, happiness is the top requirement.
Our little ladies have begun to lay eggs (an egg)! Not these little ladies!
These little ladies!We think it was Minnie, lias chicken, the biggest of all four girls. She’s been acting strange after she roosts herself for the evening, sitting at the edge of the front door of the coop. Usually she’s tucked all the way in the corner, but these past three days she’s been sitting with her body half in the coop and her head out almost like she’s on the lookout for something. My husband said that he thought she was getting ready to lay her first egg and he was right.
Waiting for the hens to lay an egg was almost like waiting for the arrival of my own children, it felt like it was never going to happen! The feeling of opening up the coop and finding that egg was so exciting! I wanted to share it with the entire world and I did share it with all of my friends and family, like a birth announcement! Reaction was a little different than announcing a newborn baby! Everyone started telling me how they liked their egg cooked!
when I noticed the egg I quickly ran into the house and told the girls “we got an egg!” I let Lia have the honors of taking the egg out because we all agree it’s from her girl! There was another cracked egg in the coop which we believe could have been from yesterday. So technically she must have laid her first egg yesterday!
We celebrated our “baby” , Lias 7th birthday this past June. One of the activities that our young guests got to participate in was making these awesome red, white and blue shirts. These shirts were so easy and so inexpensive to make. I found white shirts at Michaels for $2.99 and picked up some red, white and blue acrylic paint. I also purchased foam stars to use as stamps. I simply hot glued a tooth pick to the flat part of the stars which made it easy to stamp onto the shirts. The kids used blue painters tape to add strips onto the shirts, and some of the kids stamped on red and blue handprints. I laid the shirts out in the hot sun and once they were dried I cut some of the sleeves off and added fringes to all of them. The kids loved the shirts and have been wearing them throughout our summer festivities, including the Fourth of July of course!