My Husband, The Genius

If no one has told you yet, let me be the first.

Chicken keeping is addictive.

When you first start making your plans to add chickens to your world, you might start by saying something like this: “Three, yes. Three chicks would be the perfect place to start.”

Of course, then you go to the local feed store in Springtime and see the beyond adorable chicks. On the way home you find yourself thinking thoughts like, “Eight is probably a better number… Wouldn’t be that much more room to house…”

How you get from eight to twenty-two (including roosters that had to go away) is anyone’s guess!

Sufficeit to say that by the time you settle down to fifteen hens and NO roosters, things seem, well, comfortable.

Here’s the thing, though. When you’re into chicken keeping, you’re pretty much sure everyone else ought to join you in this wonderful pursuit! So, when a friend happens to mention that she’s been dreaming of starting her own flock one day – all she wants is some started pullets… You help!

Over the course of time things happen. Five go to friends. One dies from some mystery malady. Two get eaten by neighbor dogs. One goes broody.

Before you know it, you’re down to just four or five eggs a day.

That, my friends, is just not enough!

Especially not when you’ve got BiL’s Farm Fresh Eggs to supply!

So – you might start saying things like, “Well… if William is really going to do an egg business this coming year, just how many chicks should we order?”

You, of course, temper those statements with things like, “We probably shouldn’t get chicks – at least not this year. I mean I’m going to have major orthopedic surgery!” (This would be why you’re up to midnight the night before said orthopedic surgery placing your chick order!)

So… somewhere along the line an assumption is made that yes, some chicks should be ordered. Someone might have said ten chicks. Someone else might have said, maybe 12 chicks. And somewhere along the line the order gets morphed into – oh, thirty chicks!

Thirty adorable chicks.

Five Blue Andalusians (one was a rooster).

Five Speckled Sussex.

Five Delawares (two went missing, one came back).

Five Cuckoo Marans.

Five Amaracaunas (one was a rooster).

Five Minorcas – three buff (one’s a rooster, one died), and two black.

See? I NEEDED thirty chicks! J

And, accordingly, we needed a larger coop and run! (Particularly in light of our new neighbor dogs! UGH!)

This is not a job for the faint of heart! It might even require some blood, sweat, and tears! Or at least a blister or two!

John, my genius husband, has designed and drafted plans for the expansion.

Have I mentioned recently what a genius he is? Cause if not – let me just be sure to keep you in the know – he IS! Seriously!

The coop was the first structure he ever built.

It’s been nothing short of amazing and phenomenal. Many people have stopped to remark how nicely it’s built, and what a great design it is.

Yes, like I said – genius!

So, my genius husband has drafted – as in AutoCAD drafted – the plans for the addition. They’re pretty cool looking. But I’m thinking the built-out model will be EVEN cooler still!

This new addition will more than double the space of the coop! This wall will have six new nest boxes.

The new big door will open into the expanded, new, and improved chicken run.

And my brilliant husband even thought to build in a spot for a fan – for the hot days of summer. Last thing we need is a chicken with heat stroke!

I love this door! He built this all by himself! Isn’t it cool?

And here you can see that the cattle fencing has been stretched to it’s new anchor on the corner of the addition. The girls are going to like this so much!

And here’s a peek at the new chicken yard addition – an actual area with grass for them to hang out in! They’ve already tried it out and seem to think it’s a great idea!

So – now we wait. We’ve got 25 chicks who will begin laying sometime around mid-August. John’s got a schedule all worked out to make sure everything is finished up and all of the new nest boxes are in place in plenty of time for that!

In the meantime – we’re on chick hatch watch:

Shelly is on day 20 on Sunday. It takes 21 days of a hen setting consistently on her eggs for them to start hatching out. I’ll be sure to report any signs of progress!

So that’s it from Hip Chick Chronicles central!

Well, it’s official…

…well, at least we think so! We think we know what got our California White the other day! (Read about it here.)

Last evening John and I were sitting out in the yard enjoying the evening, watching the girls free range in the yard. All of a sudden there was a racket – and two of the chicks came flying past us at break-neck speed… being hotly pursued by the three neighbor dogs from two houses down.

We quickly stepped in the way of the dogs – got our dog to heel and stay (she’s such a smart, good, obedient dog!) – and aggressively confronted them and told them to go home, clapping and shouting all the way! We basically got them to back up – barking, snarling, nipping at us all the way – until they finally turned tail and ran home.

One of them looked just like this:

A Pitt Bull!

The second one looked more like this:

A Bull Terrier

The third, maybe a mixture of the two. The Pitt Bull being the most aggressive of the three.

We got back to our own yard, were feeling uneasy, and decided to walk up the driveway a bit to make sure they were staying put in their own yard.

They weren’t.

We used our same prior tactics, but since we were closer to their home turf, backed them up to there. It was then that the new neighbor (whom we had yet to meet) came out. She basically told us that they got out fairly easily. She didn’t seem particularly concerned about it. She did tell us that the Pitt was not her own – but was living with her for the time being, and had been reported to the Humane Society for his aggression.


I told her we’d had a chicken killed in our yard this week. She said, “Oh.”

I guess what bothers me the most is the fact that they have a beautiful fenced front yard – easily appropriate to keep these three dogs in. Her completely casual attitude about the whole thing didn’t help, either.

She didn’t seem to mind at all, either, that the Pitt continued to act quite aggressively toward me.  I turned around for a moment to stabilize my footing – I was further from home on uneven ground than I should have been without a cane, and in a walking cast – and he came quite close to nipping my calf.

So – she put the dogs away. We walked home. And we started planning.

We’re going to have to fence.


We really can’t afford it. But we’re going to have to.

Who wants to fence a rental?! Not us. But – is there any choice left?

No, there’s not.

So – poor girls! They’re going to have to stay in the run until we can get the at least even a temporary fenced area in the yard. Poor John – he has so much on his plate already!

(One of the babies thinking, “What are you talking about Willis?!” at the thought of not free ranging at will!)

But I’m so thankful to have such a wonderful husband – who stays calm. Who reacts appropriately. Who is so smart and within minutes has already got the preliminary engineering going on in his head. What a blessed woman am I!

Not a good sign…

Today I was in and out of the house for various reasons. The girls (big and little alike) rushed to meet me each time – they always expect snacks. How can I deny such enthusiasm?

At about 1pm I went out to get eggs. Everything was hunkey dorey.

John got home at 4pm. He came in from the back and asked, “Was there a chicken showdown today?”

You see, there’s been LOTS of posturing going on the past few days. I’ve wondered if it’s pecking order being worked out, or if it’s roos starting to feel the effect of puberty.

We went outside and he showed me this sight – LOTS of white feathers. No blood – but LOTS of white feathers. There were a few more over further into the front yard. And just a smattering by the back porch – but these ones from a Blue Andalusian.

So who is missing white feathers? Or is someone missing? We did a quick survey and can’t seem to find our big girl white chickens – the California Whites. Oh dear. (Shelley, of course, is still broody and is safely tucked away in the dog kennel sitting on her dozen eggs happily.)

We did a quick head count and found the White Ameraucana – I’m wondering if this one is a girl or a boy! See… (sorry, fuzzy! He/She wasn’t so sure he/she was happy to have a close up picture taken!)

Look at those tail feathers… They’re definitely longer than the average hen’s… Only we’ve only ever had one Ameraucana – Crayon – and she’s definitely an egg layer!

Anyway – found the White Ameraucana. He/She? was fine – missing no feathers.

Found all four of the remaining Delawares. All present and accounted for – no missing feathers, either.

So… that leaves the California Whites. What could have happened? We do have a new neighbor two houses down – with big dogs – that have been seen roaming freely this week. Our neighbor across the street was quite cross with them and their owner yesterday over some destruction they did in her perfectly manicured yard.

When putting the girls to bed tonight and doing a head count, we realized that, indeed, one of California Whites (the no-name one), AND one of the Blue Andalusian baby girls are missing.


When did this happen? I was in the house – at the kitchen sink (looking out over the coop and side yard), at the desk (looking out from a different angle over the coop and the side yard), in the laundry room (same view, slightly different angle), my room (looking into the branches of one of the Camellia’s they hang out on during the day often). How did I not hear anything?!

This is not a good outcome thus far! Two of the big girls gone, two of the little girls gone.

Wondering if I should be worried – a lot. Some worry will come perfectly naturally, of course! That’s just paranoid Mom’s way!

It makes me glad we’ve got Shelley setting on those dozen eggs, though! I wonder what the outcomes/odds on successful hatch will be. We’re ten days in on her setting – here’s hoping she takes her job seriously!

I’ll update if we find out anything else. I sure hope it wasn’t those new neighbor’s dogs!

We’re not the only ones in the neighborhood…

The funniest thing happened the other day. We were on our way back from the airport – having met our niece who was going to be staying with us for nearly a week – hooray! (She was in town interviewing for a medical residency program at OHSU – we’re so proud of her!)

Anyway… we were nearly home – just about four or five houses down the street from ours – I glance over at the newly cleared lot that someone has purchased and I would assume will build on before long – and lo and behold! What do I see?

“OH MY WORD!” I announce.

“What?!” Dawn, Jess, and William ask in unison.

“Look! It’s one of the girls!” I pointed to said cleared lot.

“OH MY GOSH!” the kids responded. Dawn wasn’t quite sure what we were talking about, I’d think.

There was a line of traffic behind me, so we formulated a plan as we headed home to turn around. “Okay, Jess, William – I’ll turn around, we’ll go back to the lot, and I’ll drop you and you’ll have to catch her. Do you think it’s Millie?” I asked, knowing it was a dark colored chicken I’d spied.

Both kids seemed sure it was either Ducky or BB. So turn around we did, headed down the street, and I let the kids out. Dawn and I watched for a moment, but again traffic was building so we headed home.

A few minutes later Jessica and William returned – panting and laughing.

“Did you catch her?” I asked.

“Nope!” They responded and laughed. “It wasn’t our chicken!”

How hilarious is that?

So… we aren’t alone in our chicken ways! Of course, we hear the rooster a couple of blocks over like clockwork… But I hadn’t realized there were other chickens so close!

And, speaking of chickens… I was gone for several hours this morning and when I came home and collected eggs – here’s what I came away with:
Yes! I have a LOT of eggs in my refrigerator!

While it’s a little sad that it’s not Spring or Summer and our garden filled to overflowing with potential – there’s something just – well, right about this season where the yard’s leaves are raked up and piled on… And the chickens may scratch about in without fear of what burgeoning plant they might decimate!
I wondered how they’d act during the wintertime… and you know what? Pretty much exactly the same as in the Spring and Summer. They still love the yard. They still love worms. They still come running whenever I step out the door.
They don’t get to free range as much as they did during the summer months, but the girls would still rather be out and in the yard than anywhere else – no matter what the weather.

Ever vigilent – Pepper, the wonder chicken dog – watches the girls carefully as they free range in the yard.

I once had a lovely, prepared flower bed…. then I got chickens. LOL!

And I know – it’s just fungi – but really – isn’t it pretty?

Okay – I’m willing to admit it now. Winter isn’t so bad. Especially the part where the seed catalogs start showing up again! 🙂

Will she make it through the winter?

Speedy, as you may well recall, has not had an easy time of it. She is smaller, less coordinated, definitely lowest girl on the pecking order, and well – sad. That’s her on the left.

I think it’s so interesting that some of her pals – the girls who are the same age (aka the California Whites, Ducky, and BB) will take turns hanging out with her – typically making sure she’s not alone much. Here she is with one of the Whites and BB.

We’ve talked much about the fact that Speedy may not make it through the winter. We’ve really only had a few nights where the low has gotten close to freezing – but I have to wonder as the winter progresses, will she make it? She’s so light. She seems to have so many fewer feathers than her peers. And she struggles so to do things the other girls do routinely.

She definitely has not started laying – in fact, we’d be blown away if she did! Poor thing – she’s so peeked and pathetic. We’re worried.

This is Shelly. Doesn’t she look hilarious with that crazy comb?

Here’s one of the Welsumer babies. They’re old enough to start laying now, but haven’t begun quite yet. Their combs and wattles are becoming more pronounced and redder – shouldn’t be long now.
And here’s Ducky. Remember the big conclusion that Ducky was laying those gorgeous dark eggs with the freckles? Well – ummm… maybe not! I went back to my photo archives after some suspicions and found that sure enough – our Ducky does NOT, in fact, lay those gorgeous dark freckled eggs – BB does! Ducky lays a lighter egg with lighter freckles – much like it sounds Vonda’s chick does! Just when you think you’ve figured your chicks out! LOL!

So you gotta see the new bigger run that my brilliant husband has put together!

It gives the girls a much larger area to hang out – while still being confined somewhat.

You see – they’ve developed a bit of wanderlust, these girls. I keep finding them going DOWN THE STREET toward the various neighbors yards. That had to change!

So John added this additional fenced yard. Part of it is under the big old willow, part gets sun.

Thus far, the girls seem quite happy with the new digs!

Gosh, my husband is the coolest!

Our Rooster Laid an EGG!!!

So we have this neighbor…

Well, I should back up a bit… If you remember Harlan the rooster, you’ll remember the neighbor – you can get the whole story here. Suffice it to say – our neighbor does not approve of roosters.

In the past week I’ve had several alarming mornings… picture this… me, in my nightgown, wearing my muckers (the world’s best shoes for running around a dew-wet yard), a cardigan, my hair all over the place… madly trying to coax my California White chickens out of the neighbor’s (yes THAT neighbor’s) newly seeded lawn. I nearly have a heart attack every time I glance out the bathroom window and see that they’re THERE – AGAIN!

About a week ago the neighbor’s wife came and knocked on the door to let me know our chickens were in her yard and I should come remove them… I, of course, quickly donned shoes and followed her to the sight of them scratching in her yard.

This neighbor and I have never spoken before. It was an interesting conversation. She mentioned casually that she used to raise chickens. She shared some tidbits on the best methods to raise chickens. And then she informed me that one of my California Whites was, in fact, a cockerel – not a pullet and that I should be cautious. I responded that I was pretty sure that it was, in fact, a pullet, not a rooster – we’d already gotten rid of our California White rooster – and that it wasn’t unusual for the pullets to develop more pronounced combs and wattles right before they started laying eggs – just about the age of these chicks. She made certain to let me know that she had no doubts we had a roo on our hands, and that she’d be keeping an eye out.

Today – our “rooster” laid an egg!

Here SHE is… she doesn’t have a name, but since she’s so easily identified visually from her peers now, I suppose we’re going to have to come up with a name for her! Any suggestions?

And here’s her egg. It’s our first white egg! Woo hoo! It was petite – only 1.375 oz – but perfectly beautiful!

How’s that for a display of variety?! The darkest eggs are Millie’s, the lightest of the brown eggs are Henrietta’s, and the medium brown ones are Hallie’s.

Oh – and Jake has found a new favorite place to nap during the day:

Yes, that’s him curled up right underneath the nest boxes. The girls don’t seem to mind him there – and he doesn’t seem to mind them, either. He’s such a goof!

It’ll be interesting to see if he’s allowed to continue to nap there as more and more of the chicks start laying… The middle girls are now of an age where that will begin. I’ll be sure to report!

The whys and wherefores of cucumbers.

For years I tried to grow cucumbers. I love them, afterall, so why should I not? Well, it seemed that the forces of nature were pitted against me and year after dismal year I’d fail – yet again! – at getting cucumbers to grow. It was quite disheartening.

Then, one year my uncle informed me that his neighbors, who have a bona fide farm and grow a variety of things very well, never plant until Memorial Day weekend. Egad!, thought I. That’s late! But, keeping in mind that we live in cool, often quite rainy, NW Oregon – well, I pondered that there may be some merit to this approach.

A few years ago John and I determined that we should perhaps try several different varieties of cucumbers – maybe the kinds that we’d planted previously just were not working for us based on the type that they were. That was also the year that my Mom’s health was declining rapidly – simultaneous to my Grammy’s final illness and subsequent death, and so we got a very late start on everything. I think it was probably June first by the time we got around to planting everything – and it was late enough that we decided we really ought to start with plants, not seeds. Because of our past failures, we reasoned that we ought to get several plants of several different varieties. We are also wholehearedly committed to planting heirloom – NOT hybrid – everything. We’re just picky that way.

So we got a dozen cucumber plants and got them planted. John built an ingenous trellis to train them on (see picture below), and we made sure to mound the soil up around the plants.

We found that planting when it was warm enough (duh!) and giving the plants a nice trellis were really the key elements to successful cucumber growing. Oh, and remembering to water them faithfully doesn’t hurt either!

Since then, we’ve tried a new thing… it has to do with the fact that we really don’t like wasting water, and that I’m pretty lazy when it comes right down to it. What we do now is this…

First, we make a bit of a hill – a long hilled up row, actually – where the plants will be planted. When it’s warm enough, we get them into the ground. (Some years – depending on how nutty life is – we plant seeds (and if we do, we typically start them indoors first), and other years we buy seedlings.) Once they’ve been planted and watered well and established a few days, then we sprinkle DE ( on the ground around the plants, then place a layer of news paper around the plants – tearing it so that the newspaper acts something like a skirt, then putting bark mulch on top of that. This process helps with pest control, weed control, and keeping the soil moist longer – so fewer waterings necessary!

Voila! It makes for wonderful cucumber plants, and even more wonderful cucumbers. We use the cucumbers in lots and lots of ways. The kids pretty much just straight up. I’ve got bazillions of recipes that I use them for, as well. As I said previously – there just isn’t any way possible to have too many cucumbers! If I ever find that I’m cucumbered out, then I have lots of friends to share them with until I’m ready to eat them again!

I should also say that my husband made some amazing dill pickle relish the year before last that used a variety of pickles – which is nice, because we typically have a variety of pickles! – and turned out beautifully. It’s about time to make some more!

The boys have gotta go…

It’s official. We just can’t have roosters here. We’ve tried various methods of keeping things quiet in the mornings – but it’s just not working.

Its interesting, the past couple of weeks we’ve had quite a few of the neighbors stop by and mention how much they enjoy the fact that we have chickens now. A couple even stopped by to say how much they enjoyed having Harlan nearby (must be morning people! LOL!). But there is one neighbor particularly who is not amused – much more than not amused – by our chicken keeping. Suffice it to say that as renters – not home owners – we must tread lightly.

Our intial hope was that we’d find a place to move to (maybe even buy someday?!) with some more elbow room than we currently have where roosters are do what roosters do – including crow. We hoped our little roos would hold out on the crowing arena until then. My, we were naiive.

Of course, the boys have been practicing crowing for a little more than a week now. Amazing how far they progress in perfecting their technique each day! Equally amazing – how each morning seems to be a little bit earlier that the crowing begins than the one preceding.

We tried Danni’s wonderful crate them and keep it dark enough to prolong the “nighttime” effect so that they don’t start crowing quite so early protocol. It actually worked fairly well the first morning. But I think the fact that we have a neighbor rooster who starts “singing” pretty early in the day is working against us!

We came to a consensus yesterday that all of the boys must go. It only makes sense – and honestly, it’s much better for the roos, too. We were fortunate to find three homes to send the five roos to. The little Welsumer rooster will go to a wonderful home with Victoria next week – thankfully, he’s young enough that he hasn’t found his voice yet! Sami has a more rural home and came yesterday to take our California White to be king of the coop at his place. And a young man who is wanting to raise chickens came today and adopted the three Dominique roos. All five roos will now live pretty posh – on a chicken standard, anyway! – lives on at the very least mini farms. Hooray!

So… we’re left with a redefined flock. The three big girls (RIR’s). The four California Whites. The three Dominiques. And the five Welsumers. If our calculations are correct – the big girls will start laying sometime 2 or 3 weeks from now. THAT will be exciting!

Now to head back to my online real estate browsing! There must be a home out there for us somewhere!

Phew – it’s finally cooler

After all of my whining about the cool weather I’m a little ashamed of complaining about the heat! Does it make it any better that it got up to 100+ degrees here? Does that make me less of a wuss? LOL! Today… sigh…. it was a beautiful 85 degrees here. My, it was lovely. I love 85. I even love 90. I don’t love humidity, though – I confess.

We’ve gotten so much done!

We got the chicken wire up around the rest of the garden – hooray!

We got bark mulch around the plants in the garden that the chickens had scratched the first layer away from.

We got the rest of the flower bed along the street planted and bark mulched – what a relief to have that done!

With those things done my garden is looking so much healthier, happier, and just generally beautiful. I love that.
(The green beans are growing like crazy!)

I’ve got to say that having the kids home to help has been invaluable. They’ve worked so hard – and helped in so many ways. And with virtually NO reluctance to pitch in and give a helping hand. I’m so proud of them! And of course my beloved husband who gets up at the crack of dawn, works a long day at work, then comes home to work further here at home on our various projects – well, he just blesses me like I really honestly just don’t know how to adequately express. Gosh, I like him so much. Yes, of course, I love him (I mean, I did marry him, afterall!) – but, gosh, he’s so cool! I love hanging out with him! I love talking to him! I love spending time with him out in the garden, or working on some project together, or just sitting on the lawn furniture enjoying the quiet of the afternoon. I’m so glad that God doesn’t work on the merit theorum!
I promised more pictures of Roos. Here is Alexis – one of Jessica’s friends (Alexi) named him – 🙂 He’s 9 weeks old now and nearly as big as the big girls. He’s definitely the alpha male around here. [Don’t panic – the stump he’s perching on is the one the boys used to spray paint the bottom of William’s skate board red!]

This is kind of a typical event at our place… right after I’ve given Speedy her special treat (still giving her preferential treatment) I let the babies a little turn at whatever might be left over, and then the middle chicks get a run at it all. They all particularly love the oatmeal with fruit and a dollop of yogurt on top the best. Note the babies (who’ve just eaten their fill and walked away from the treat) are looking longingly on at the middle chicks who are now getting their turn!

Tonight we are trying our junior rooster crowing control experiment. Thanks to Danni for the great suggestion. We’ve taken Pepper’s “bed” – a cage-like dog crate (it’s huge – so is she!), put it on the back porch (which is protected on 3 sides), covered it with the exception of a small corner so that there’s good ventilation, and put the four oldest (and now all crowing) boys in it. We’ve noticed over the past few days that they are all polishing their ahem – abilities – in the crowing arena. It’s time to take steps. If this doesn’t work out, sad but true – they’ll have to go. We must maintain good neighbor relations!

I’ll report back on the rooster control tomorrow.

The week of the rooster!

This is Joe… He’s a young, pretty dumb raccoon that comes often during the daytime hours to hang out on our back porch. Our dog doesn’t seem to mind much – unless the chickens are out free ranging – then she gets hacked off. And – oddly enough, our cats don’t seem to give a rip at all! I personally think Joe’s front right paw is injured. I also think Joe may need to go on a little trip to the woods where he can live somewhere other than suburbia!

Jess took this picture the other day. This is Jake (one of our kittens) realizing his sneaky hiding place to observe the chickens was no secret to anyone and he may as well come out from under the car! He’s such a goof!
Isn’t this the sweetest little flower?
Caleb – hanging out on the top of the chicken run. He loves hanging out and watching the girls do their thing! Now that they’re all so big, he just watches – doesn’t seem to have much interest in having any run ins.

Here’s Harlan – never far from the girls – keeping a close eye on them and everyone else! He takes his job seriously.
Henrietta is by far our most social girl. She is not at all opposed to just hanging out sitting on my lap while we’re out in the yard. She is very intrigued by my air cast, though!
Here they are – playing follow the leader yet again – it’s always a riot, though, when they all end up in the corner and wondering why the heck they are there!
Do you see rooster here? Cause I see rooster here!

Here are the baby girls – out for a field trip to the yard. They seem to enjoy the outdoors quite a bit. They are just about three weeks old.
There is nothing quite so right as a flock of free ranging chickens in your yard, garden, and compost heap!
Our week started – for all intents and purposes – when Harlan (yes, as in Sanders, you know, the KFC founder – yes, that’s what he got named!) the Welsumer Rooster came to stay last Sunday. You’ve never seen such a stunning, sweet-tempered specimen of rooster! We learned in pretty quick order that he’s a right at 4:15 a.m. every morning to rise kind of a guy – and that’s when the crowing would start. Then the rooster a couple of blocks over would answer, then Harlan would answer back… and so on, and so forth…

Suffice it all to stay that the neighbors are not thrilled.
I can’t say as I blame them. While we all in this particular corner of the world are on 1/2 to 3/4th acre plots the house direct to the West of us is the least amused. Today they made it clear that Harlan would no longer be tolerated.
We’re bummed – we really have come to love him. He’s absolutely hilarious to watch, and is quite intelligent – not to mention, of course, beautiful to behold. But we want to be good neighbors, so Harlan will return to Sno-Kit Farm tomorrow – much to our sorrow. We hope that in the near future we will have a home of our own with enough elbow room to welcome him back to our flock. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing Harlan with us for this week!

[Here’s Harlan – sunbathing – BUT – keeping an eye out on his flock! It was hilarious when he’d doze off – startle and awaken, then hop up on his feet and crow for all he was worth to prove his vigilance!]

School is out for the summer. It will be wonderful to have the kids home. I love this time of year!