My oldest raps a bamboo garden stick against the now-empty metal bird bath.
"Chickens!" she calls. "There will be a meeting for all backyard chickens held in the Sunflower Corner. You are all required to attend!"
Four chickens promptly scatter in opposite directions across the yard at the terrifying sound.
"Chickens! I mean it! This is IMPORTANT!"
"Mo-om, the chickens aren't listening to me."
"They are chickens, honey. They aren't little sisters. You can't boss them around, they won't listen."
Hmph. She will make those chickens listen to her, just you wait and see!
Following is the sight so frequently seen in our backyard: a hen, wings pinned to her side, neck outstretched, racing across the yard, an eight year old monster clomping along behind her in pink rubber chore boots, arms reached out to grasp when the opportunity strikes. This chase always ends the same, with the chicken in the arms of the girl, but those poor hens never stop trying to get away.
One by one, she catches the hens, carries them to Sunflower Corner, and sets them down. Then she turns to find the next
"Chickens! This meeting is important! You all need to hear this! Your SAFETY is involved!" she cries, as she attempts to keep the chickens herded into the back corner. Chickens, when scared out of their wits, usually attempt to run. She was trying hard not to let them.
"Well, fine then. Never mind! I was just going to explain to you what you should do when the SNOW comes, but you can just figure it out for yourselves." Off stomp the pink chore boots with a very miffed little girl inside them.
Snow is on it's way here at our little homestead-in-the-city. The fruits and veggies are packed neatly into the freezer and onto the shelves, the garden is empty and awaiting a fresh tilling before the snow covers it completely. The heater is on, the rice heating packs are ready to warm little toes at bedtime. The sidewalk chalk is replaced by crayons and colored pencils, fresh coloring books await dark, cold evenings. And the the chickens? Well, they'll figure it out.