The fortress was cracked open.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

As I am sure our readers are well aware that the Winter's are about to pack up the Winter Stead and hit the road. We hope to find ourselves in some type of mobile something or other (RV). We know it might be a pain to travel with two cats but they are coming with us. Our chickens though are not so lucky, we can not travel with them. 

So today I am going to share the recipe we used to fry them up... Just kidding!!

We found them a home. They are with Kayla’s cousin who has a large piece of land and plenty of other chickens for them to play with. I know that sounds like something you tell the kids when their pet dies but really we did not eat the chickens. 

At first I thought I would be just fine, they are after all just chickens. But when the time came we were all a little sad to see them go. And though I know that they are just chickens I think they were sad to go too. 

I had the hardest time getting them out of their coop. You see when they were just little yellow bitties we handled them a lot. Little Lou had a wonky foot so we had to wrap her foot every day to try and turn it the right way around. I do not know if it helped but after a while it looked better and she was able to get around all right, so I am glad we tried. 

In the beginning we kept them inside the basement and would let them outside on nice days. But we lived surrounded by woods with all types of animals that would eat our chickens and a fortress needed to be built. 

Once we put them up in their fortress it was their home. They did not come out after that and they were not accustom to being handled any more. It was not all bad that they were stuck in their home. It was a nice home. I have never built a chicken coop before but I know how to cut a board and swing a hammer so we got to building. 

Well we tried to. It was hard as we had no money. 

Luckily we had friends and family. Kayla’s aunt and uncle had a lot of used wood in their yard so we went hunting. It was all a bit old some from an old restaurant some from an old house and some leftovers from when the sawmill was up and running. Though no two pieces were the same we had all we needed to build our chicken fortress. So for the next few days I pieced together my reclaimed parts and made my chickens a home. 

It was small, not too small for our four chickens but small. It was solid, I had climbed all over that thing before I had finished it. It was not pretty but we had some old, barn red paint left over from a job we had done not long ago. Nothing was getting in there, not even the dog next door who would try any time she got lose. 

It was a good home and they did not want to leave it. So I had to tear it down. The outside pen that was attached to the coop that I had wrapped in hardware mesh had to be ripped open. As I undid the seam I had sewn in the mesh I thought of the blood I had spilled when had I first sewn it. When I went for them though they ran from me in to the safety of their fortress. 

We thought we had a good idea, we would wait 'till after dark when they went to roost and pull them out then. So we waited for the night and when it came we went to grab the birds. Normally they are heavy sleepers not tonight though, they heard me coming and they ran. As small as the coop was I could not just reach inside and grab them. The thing was made to keep things out and that meant me as well. So the only thing I could do was rip the roof off. 

I remembered how heavy the shingles were when I had to carry them around the house the first time, and that was not just a plywood roof either... that would have been too easy. All I had left after the walls and floor was some heavy old 2x6. I mean old like when a 2x6 was really 2x6. 

So I squatted low next to the overhang and with a grunt I shot up. It creaked and popped in protest but it gave. I stood over the chicken coop like some kind of giant. The birds hid in the corner like frightened, well.. chickens. One by one I plucked them up from the once safe coop and placed them in their cages for transport. 

Then they were gone. The birds we had raised from little yellow tufts of fur. Who gave me fresh eggs for breakfast even through the cold winter months. Who I feed and watered every day. The birds I had cursed with every crowing come the dawn. The coop, their once impenetrable fortress, sat cracked open like one of the many eggs we collected from the comfortable nesting boxes.

It was part madness part inexperience and it looked like it. When I built it I stood as proud as a new father standing above his new born babe. Now my triumph looks like the day after the storm. The sunrise came today without pomp and fanfare. I slept till noon and when I jumped from bed and thought I had slept through my alarm I ran to the box were the chicken feed once was. Then I remembered that I had not slept through my alarm... but that my alarm was gone.


  1. I too on my first day off at home slept til 9:30 and wondered what was wrong with the chickens? Very cool story Robert! I enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed watching from the inside behind the windows. I really hate the chickens had to go, but am glad they went where they are cared for and loved. MOM :)

  2. Great story Robert. Brought tears to my eyes. I want some chickens, hubby will not build me a coop. Keep the stories coming love to read them all. From a Lil' corner in N,C.


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