A simple Saturday afternoon project gave our chickens a lot more freedom. We’d been letting them out into our whole backyard sometimes, usually when we were home to supervise, because they’ve been destroying some of our garden plants and mulch beds and pooping on our patio. The worst was when Sunny, my super friendly hen, would stand at the backdoor step to look in and peck on the window, and then eventually drop a gift on the back step for us. Gross. We decided that a portable, accordion-style fence would be a good solution to give them more yard space while still protecting the areas where we spend the most time. The girls are happy and I’m happy. It’s been a couple weeks and they’ve managed to eat all of the grass pictured here. We’ll be mulching the area in the coming weeks. If any fellow backyard chicken keepers are curious, it’s 3 feet high and we’ve only had some escapes early one. One chicken in particular got to the other side several times but then was pretty stressed out about being separated from her friends. If it continues to be a problem, I’ll add a wire across the top of the fence so they’re not able to land on it. I’m pretty sure they’re not able to clear the fence without perching on it first but I’ve never seen an escape in action.
We have five layers now. The sixth should be starting within a month. Omlet, the Buff Orpington, is the last one to join the party but I can tell she’s close because suddenly she’s not just unafraid of me—she runs to me—and then submissively squats if I reach in her direction. Last week I got to pet her for the first time since she left the brooding box.
We’ve been getting 1 or 2 speckled eggs everyday. This was was particularly pretty with blue specks. I think it’s my Black Star, Poach, but I’m not positive.
As quickly as little Pumpkin came into our lives, he’s back out again. It’s amazing how much I can fall in love with a little person in just three days. Though I’m sad, I’m also happy because he’s on the fast track to adoption by a lovely couple from his mom’s support network. He’s going to be loved and treasured as the blessing he is. Yesterday at 9:00 we had a meeting where I learned about this alternative placement for him. At court later that afternoon it was decided and I kissed him goodbye in the courthouse parking lot. Bittersweet.
“Whoever arrives next” beat Froggie to the punch and is now occupying our next kid’s room. His name—for social media purposes—is Pumpkin and he’s just as sweet as could be.
After two very busy weeks at work with three magazine deadlines and two short trips out of town, I’m way behind on blogging and have plenty to go back and share about. However, this news needs to be shared right away. We got back from our second trip on Sunday night. At work late on Monday afternoon, I was finishing up my last of three deadlines when my phone rang. DCS placement showed up on the screen and I wondered if this would be a good one. We’ve only had a couple calls since Firefly left on July 3 and none worked out with our availability. This call was for a 1-month-old boy. Our only reservations were that he’s too young for childcare for a couple more weeks and in the back of my mind I was doing the math for the age difference between him and baby Froggie… seven months. I’m trying not to think too much about that right now because in foster care a lot can change in six months. Pumpkin is our sixth foster child to parent. Of the previous five, four of them have been with us three months or less. Our Alianna, of course, is the exception. I know so little about Pumpkin’s case at this point that I have no way to predict how long he’ll be with us. I’ve been missing Firefly badly and maybe it’s partly the pregnancy hormones but I’m just so thrilled to have another little baby to snuggle. His short history is hard and angering, so it’s not all cuddles and new baby smell around here. We also have deal with the ugly reality of why he is in state custody.
The life interruption is real and difficult. Adding a new family member with just hours notice turns our worlds upside down for a little while. It was almost 3 hours between saying yes to the placement worker and Pumpkin arriving at our house. That’s 3x longer than we usually have to prepare. It was enough notice for me to finish up my work, tell my boss, pick up dinner on my drive home, sit down to eat as a family of three, scramble through the baby room pulling out boxes of bottles and infant boy clothes, and set up the diaper changing supplies. Somewhere in the rush I knelt down and explained to Ali that another little baby was coming to stay with us for a little while. She’s so sweet and understanding and she LOVES babies. As soon as he came through the door she was asking to hold him.
Once the papers were signed and the workers left to drive home through a monsoon, Daddy Jason called a family prayer meeting. Ali finally had her chance to hold him while Jason and I surrounded them and prayed over Pumpkin, his case and our family—especially big sister Ali—as we move forward. So far he has been mostly delightful. He’s been sleeping well and eating well. We’ve had some bouts of fussiness, but we’re all still getting to know each other. I’ve spent a good amount of time snuggling him just like the photo below and he sure loves to be held close. If you’re a prayer, please pray for his health (for complete restoration and detox), for his case (lots of meetings, hearings, decisions happening this week and next), and for all of us as we get to know each other and tread water through the waves of transition and mix of emotions.
On my way to work yesterday I ran over a nail. I had just pulled off the interstate to meet my mother-in-law at our usual meeting place near my office. When I pulled off the street I thought my van sounded a little funny but it wasn’t alarming. I transferred Ali over to her Nana and we chatted for a while, standing right beside my van. When I got back in and began to drive to work, I immediately recognized the sound of a flat tire. I pulled into the gas station across the street, thankful for a safe place to park. It was a perfect fall day—clear and sunny with a breeze. My tire was completely flat. I texted my boss and then Jason and then my dad to cancel our lunch date. Then I called AAA and requested assistance to put the spare on. Then I went into the gas station and bought a drink and some snacks (because baby Froggie makes me hungry ALL THE TIME). The repair tech didn’t take long to show up and did his job. Set up with the spare, I took the long way on back roads to our favorite neighborhood mechanic. They were able to patch it up quickly and it only cost me $15. I got to work almost exactly 2 hours late. What could have been a dangerous or uncomfortable experience was actually a kind of fun morning adventure. I just kept thinking over and over again about all that I was thankful for:
• Beautiful weather, not too hot or too cold to sit outside
• I was at a gas station with a convenience store full of yummy snacks
• The flat didn’t occur on the interstate where I had been minutes earlier
• My three year old was already safely with her Nana
• We have AAA so it just took one phone call and someone was there to assist me in less than an hour
• I have a cell phone and a charger to contact help, notify my work and look up a route to the mechanic
• I discovered a new route back to my neighborhood from my office thanks to the “avoid highways” button on my Google maps app
• Social media kept me from getting bored while I waited
• Our mechanic is reliable, quick and inexpensive
• The whole ordeal only took two hours
• I dealt with it all by myself (Girl Power!)
It’s good to have perspective. I have so much to be thankful for and a little nail puncture in my tire isn’t enough to ruin my day.