The chicken coop

When we lived in Connecticut, my mother converted our backyard shed into a chicken coop. She had six girls of which I can only remember three names: Patti, Connie and Sally. We let them roam the yard which they quickly tore up and turned into a mine field of poop and potholes.

One day, when my mother went out to tuck the girls in, she realized one was missing. A few days later another was gone and then another. Coyotes. The last to be taken before we decided to pen them in was Patti. We assumed she was lost, gone for good, but Patti’s story didn’t end there. 18 months later she was spotted by a neighbor in the woods. My father staged a search and rescue mission and before long, Patti was back in the coop with the other girls.

Over the years the girls passed on one by one until they were all gone, even Patti. Our time with chickens was over. Though the farm’s chicken coop is really more like a house, it remained empty. People asked if we’d ever get chickens again and always my mother said no, she didn’t have time to take care of them.

Now, my father is a muller. He mulls things over and over silently, mysteriously in his mind until finally he shares the newest obsession that surprises us all. This summer it was chickens. He began to obsess about the idea of having farm fresh eggs. In July we welcomed twenty tiny yellow chicks into the newly cleaned out coop and in October we got our first egg. Today my father goes out and collects the eggs, washes them and boxes them up. When I go home for the weekend breakfast isn’t made up of farm fresh eggs though – those are for sale. Instead we eat regular, white store bought eggs. It doesn’t make any sense to me what so ever.

Today, the newest obsession surfaced two weeks ago, it’s maple syrup. He’s on the computer researching and hunting down equipment and techniques. We’ll see how it goes in a few weeks time when the sap releases and starts to flow. Honestly, I don’t even know if we have any maple trees on the farm. I’ll be sure to fill you in when and if we ever get some syrup…I wonder if we won’t be able to eat that either.

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