Our downsizing journey began in the fall of 2012. If you haven’t been following the saga, you can catch up on Phase 1 and Phase 2.
We planned to leave on our new adventure after the New Year and be settled in our Colorado home by spring.
Our son and his wife came to help us, selected furniture they wanted to stay in the family. That’s Wendy’s head above the open box on the floor.
After they left, the months betwixt and between our anticipated departure date found our thoughts focused on the new place when reality was living in the old place that no longer resembled our home. We’d find ourselves going to a cabinet to put something where it had lived for thirty-three years only to realize that that cabinet was no longer there!
It now lived in our son’s home.
Every thing was on schedule until Mother Nature threw a curve into our plans. Sub-zero temperatures in Colorado created an electrical outage at our destination home.
Unfortunately, when the electricity returned, our furnace didn’t reignite. Pipes froze. Four pipes burst.
We quit packing our Houston house, drove to Colorado, and found:Amazingly, tear-out went smoothly and restoration was fast. Replacement floors arrived as promised. The house was ready for the arrival of our daughter and her family for spring break. While they played in the snow, we returned to Houston and finished packing.
Finally, on a ninety-degree day in March, we pulled away from the home we’d lived in for thirty-three years. With all our worldly possessions loaded into a trailer and a U-Haul, we headed to our new home in the Rio Grande National Forest where the final phase of our adventure began. More about that next Tuesday.
Monday’s Labor Day holiday signaled the end of summer. For a large percentage of the population this week also signaled the start of school which in turn meant moving kids out of the house and back to classrooms.
With all that moving and changing and settling into routines going on, I thought Sara’s email about moving chickens was a perfect fit today. See if you don’t agree…
Fowl Moving Day
There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for wherever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.
The same type of process happens with chickens.
They start in an incubator (which is currently in our living room),
then move to a brooder (in our garage).
From there, they move into a small chicken yard in our back yard where the Bantams (a smaller breed of chickens) live all the time. As they get bigger than the Bantams, they move into the big chicken yard.
A similar, but simpler, process happens with the quail. They simply go from incubator to brooder to one of the quail cages in the back yard. On this particular Saturday, we had both quail and chickens to move.
A multi-step process involving cinder blocks, extra cages and much squawking.
We started by consolidating our three quail cages into one. The cage in the chicken coop only had one quail in it. I believe this quail was somewhat lonely as he spent his days walking in circles in the cage. (Of course, this could also be a result of the bird brain mentality.)
His cage is up high in the chicken coop where neither my daughter nor I can comfortably reach. Hence, the cinder block.
There are two openings in this cage and the quail would run back and forth requiring two people to be ready to catch him. That would be me and my daughter.
So we put the cinder block in the middle and each of us put one foot on it and the other on the side of the coop. Before long, we had trapped the quail and moved him in with his new cage mates.
This left his cage empty for the new quail that were outgrowing the brooder. At first, the move stressed the transferred quail. After all, they’d only seen the inside of our garage, but they have adjusted quite nicely.
Step two of moving day involved putting the young roosters into a separate cage to be fattened up before going to freezer camp and eaten later. Before you cry “animal cruelty,” I can assure you, their life has been much better than that of the chickens you buy at the grocery store.
I must confess, though, I did think of Hansel and Gretel as we were putting food into the cage.
In case you don’t remember, the witch locked up Hansel and had him stick out his finger occasionally to see if he was fat enough to eat.
Anyway, the roosters had no idea what was happening though I was a little concerned about their transition. But since none of them were named, I wasn’t that attached and stopped worrying.
Sadly enough, when we returned from church Sunday morning, my daughter discovered all but one of the roosters had died. Apparently, they don’t like change (or they got wind of their fate and decided to commit mass suicide).
There was one lone survivor and my daughter, having learned well from her mom’s previous rooster rescue of Einstein, brought him inside.
Mr. Rooster spent the night in our living room and seemed to be better the next day. I named him Einstein II and now he’s living out his natural life with the chickens.
Our final step on this moving day was the easiest – moving chicks out to the small chicken yard.
Teaching them to go into the coop at night is not so easy. For now, I reach under the coop each night to get them and tuck them in with the Bantams. Hopefully they will get the idea soon.
P.S. Besides this being the week I start my piano students, this week happens to be the week that the eggs in the incubator are going to hatch. The cycle is continuous.
I started three new piano students to the sounds of a lone chick calling for the others to come out and play 🙂 No one seemed to mind. You never know what you will learn at the Millers.
Yesterday one of my piano students danced around the living room during her brother’s lessons. She said, “You know how they do a rain dance to make it rain. Well I am doing the chicken dance to make the chicks hatch.”
Unfortunately it didn’t work until after she left. 🙂
I love my job.
My favorite part of this email was Sara’s opening paragraph:
There comes a day in the life of every child where they get too big for where ever they are and they have to move. It starts with the move from bassinet to crib, then crib to “big bed” and eventually they leave the house altogether.
I remember those stages with my three children. I really looked forward to the progress each stage represented and now looking back, I wish they hadn’t come so fast.
YOUR TURN: So how’d your week go? Any chicken dancing going on? Kids moving out or in? Kiddos climbing those giant steps onto the yellow school bus?
One day I’m writing a blog post and it’s May. Suddenly it’s July 1st.
Where’d June go?
Life was too busy to even notice, but I can tell you there was a whole lot of moving going on. We helped our son and his family pack their home and move to Illinois. Then we packed and moved ourselves to Colorado for the summer and fall.
Did you notice the new porch on the blog banner?
We’re here in our cool little piece of the Rio Grande National Forest.
We brought two grandsons with us and they stayed for awhile. We had fun hiking and touring the sites.
Then the boys went to their new home and wildfires erupted throughout Colorado.
The fires are still sad and scary, but thanks to some outstanding firefighters the big Waldo Canyon fire is under control. We’re praying the others will be controlled soon too.
Though we’re safe from forest wildfires for now – the nearest is 50 miles away over the Continental Divide, we’ve had some drama here on the front porch…
Three days ago a couple of summer folk here for the 4th of July stopped by the porch to ask if we had seen their two white Pekingese dogs. The dogs had gotten out of the cabin they rented. The owners couldn’t find them.
We’d only seen them walking with their owners the day before.
My heart broke for the owners and the dogs. I couldn’t imagine losing my four legged babies. Plus, there’s lions, tigers and bears in woods, you know.
We watched for the little white fur balls, but never saw them and feared they were gone forever.
Then today, as we sat on the porch, two kids stopped and asked if we were missing our dogs. Buster and Toby bounded to the fence to greet the kids so they knew we hadn’t.
They said two white dogs had come down off the mountain from the woods behind their grandmother’s place and they were keeping them until they could find the owners.
My dh and I looked at one another. The dogs had to belong to the couple. We lent the kids two leashes and told them where to find the couple. We didn’t know the cabin or house number, only the street.
Those two Good Samaritan kids went door to door with the little dogs until they found the owners. When the young tween returned the leashes, I told her I would write about the good deed she and her brother had done.
I don’t think she believed me. But what better way to get back on the blogging track than with a happy ending story. I love happy endings.
What about you? Have you had any happy endings lately?