Last night at dusk, Clancy called me out for a walk. The objective was to get far enough from the house to admire the new porch. He had just nailed the last piece of plywood on the roof. Tonight the drip cap, roofing felt, and flashing...shingles by the weekend! There was even one sheet of roofing plywood left over. Clancy said we could build a little chicken coop with it. And then I had a brilliant idea: why don't we just put those 6 chickens in the freezer this fall and start fresh next spring? We really weren't prepared for the little chicks that came home from Kindergarten class this year. We haven't had time to build a coop. And if we are going to have a coop I want it big enough to hold the flock of 25-30 chickens I'm hoping to have by next year. When Clancy and I hold hands and walk around the yard after dark I usually have at least one of these great epiphanies. As a plus, the extra sheet goods and scraps can be used to build that new dog house I wanted. Cool. Uh, yeaaaaah. Our Barred Rock rooster just learned to crow on Monday. Look at this handsome fellow. He has two Barred Rock hens, two Buff Bramah Banty hens, and one Gold Star hen (I think) in his harem. They are so beautiful roaming across the yard. All that gorgeous color... It makes perfect sense to put these birds in the freezer. I can rarely even find them in the daytime. They spend most of their time in the deep woods. Until the dogs start leaving egg shells on the deck, I'll probably not even know when they begin laying. They raid the tomatoes every morning before I can get out of bed. They insist on roosting on the edge of a good piece of plywood that is supposed to be installed in the house. Every day Clancy pulls the plastic back over it. Every night they tear it off and roost. Maybe we should use that piece of plywood for the coop... A few days ago I put the ewes into a new paddock with lots of spruce trees. Three days later I noticed Dova had the beginnings of "pink eye." This would be her third case of the year in that same eye. It never spreads to the other eye or the rest of the flock. I've done the research...it appears as though that eye received some trauma (scratch) that makes it susceptible. But I decided enough was enough. I called Headwater's Meats and arranged to have her brought in next Tuesday. Her eye distress seems to be healing up now. And of course, I won't treat her this time since she is destined for the freezer. Yes, she is the friendliest of all the yearlings. She adores people. Such a quiet good sweetheart. She's the little black lamb up in the Welcome corner of my blog. But I feel this is the right thing to do if I want to maintain a healthy, hearty flock that doesn't need a lot of extra input. So I know I can do the smart farming thing. I know it. Building a teacup-sized chicken coop does not fall under the category of smart farming in my mind. Not when I have to build a bigger one next year... Anyone have a great Save the Chickens idea?