Focus, Focus, focus and focus

The most important thing I must remember is to focus, focus, focus on one topic and write about it from every angle. Tonight I will focus on my chickens and I'll let it take me where it will. (note: this note is added after I wrote everything below. Remember that this is draft. When I start working with this draft I'll highlight changes. The next entry will be a second draft. I'm not correcting anything at this time so it might be a bumpy road as you read.)

One day last spring I was listening to the radio and heard a woman call in to the trading show and say, "Free chickens if you want them." I did want them I've always wanted chickens. I let her know I'd take all nine of them but I couldn't pick them up until day after next.

I hung up the phone and got dressed in my jeans and sweatshirt and wondered how my husband and I could build a chicken house in one day. Then I remembered a neighbor up the road aways used to sell eggs but after her husband died, she quit doing chickens. Her large chicken house sat empty. We had a truck. Maybe....

The big chicken house was too large but about 20ft away was a little building about the size and shape of an outhouse. "My husband built that to look like an outhouse but it was used for bantams," she said. It worked for me so we tilted it into the truck bed and placed it on a cement block foundation where I could see it when I sat on the screen porch.

I painted it barn red with white trim. Larry cut out a big square and sealed the opening with rabbit wire and we added some roosts. One chicken house -- done. We then drove about 40 miles to get the chickens: two hens, one rooster, and six little yellow chicks. I loved them all at first site.

A storm was brewing overhead as we headed for home. The sky was black and the clouds rolled. We had two carrying boxes of chickens in the backseat. We sped up to get ahead of the storm. It followed us. When we got home the rain started down on us.

We rushed the carrying cases down to the chicken house and open the cage doors so they could get out when they wanted to. There was food and water. Thunder clapped and we ran into the house.

The next morning I rushed out to the most beautiful chicken house I'd ever seen and opened the door. Not one chicken had come out. I gently tilted the cage with the two hens and chicks in it and they came out and went into the little chicken yard I'd fenced in (using 3 foot chicken wire). I'd heard chickens can't fly. Not true.

Then I tried to get the beautiful gold and black rooster out but he wouldn't budge and I couldn't reach in to get him so I tilted the cage up but nothing happened so I just shook the cage a bit and out he came and over the fence he went and faster than I thought possible he was in the woods north of the house.

My heart sank. He'd be eaten in no time.

The next day, early morning, we heard him crow and knew he had survived the night in the woods. We never did catch him and he lived in the woods north of the house from April until October. He strutted into our yard each morning and waited for us to let the hens and chicks out into the yard and they'd stay together all day but at night, he said his goodbyes and headed north and roosted on a limb up in an oak tree near the road.

We'd given up trying to catch him and just let it be the way is was. But winter was coming and Rocky's luck couldn't hold out forever so Larry and I built a nice 8'x8' chicken house for them all in October.

It has two windows, plenty of high roosts, laying nests, everything. When we were ready for them to live in the new chicken house, we didn't have to do anything other than open the little hatch door and Rocky the Rooster was the first one to go in and he's lived there ever since.

What you have just read is a first draft. I'm going to leave it as that for now. Much can be done with this story, perhaps a children's story. Maybe a How-Not-To Book about Chickens. Come back and find what it becomes and see the process.


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Thank you for your questions and comments. Much appreciated. Susan

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