Time for a little nostalgia, with the story of our first chicken.
When Jonnie was in first grade, a student of the fantabulous Mrs. Schroeder, the class hatched eggs in an incubator. It was an annual tradition in Mrs Schroeder's class.
Annie was a about four at the time, and I often took her with me to help out in the classroom. We watched the eggs as they were hatching, which was fascinating for us as we had never seen it before. And then we watched the chickies every time we visited the classroom and found our favourite. It was a docile little chick and when it was a couple of weeks old we got to take it home.
We assumed it was a girl (experience makes me amazed that it worked out that way) and called her Attila the Hen. Because Jeff jokingly called her our attack chicken, when she was really the sweetest chicken you could ever wish to meet.
We kept Tillie in the house for as long as we could. She liked to roost on the back of the couch and on our heads.
One day, not long after she came to stay with us, Annie and Tillie were outside by the front door. Suddenly, I heard Annie screaming, so I ran outside and she was crying that a cat had taken Tillie. I ran around the house looking for her and heard my neighbour out on her back porch scolding her cat. It was playing with Tillie, a prelude to the eating of her, but luckily she was rescued and handed over the back fence, traumatized but alive.
Tillie was a small bird. She had a wonderful summer, following us around as we dug in the garden...
...and going for walks and the occasional bike ride. Every time we passed a likely scratching spot she would jump off, have a good scratch in the dirt and then I would lift her back onto the handlebars and off we would go.
We didn't think she was laying eggs until one of the kids found a big pile of little brown eggs in some long grass.
I was so ignorant that I didn't know anything about the proper food or egg-laying schedules or anything else about raising chickens. I missed Google more than I knew.
She spent the winter in the garage, roosting on top of the freezer and pooping all over everything.
I had forgotten this, but the photos tell a story of taking Tillie back to school for a visit, I think it might have been a science fair. The sign says it was two years hence, but I think it was probably one.
The sign reads: Tillie is a "returning student." She was hatched 2 years ago in Mrs. Schroeder's room. At that time we called her Licorice. She now is the loved pet of the Osborne family.
And she was.