Last spring my husband brought home three White Leghorn chicks. The feed store had dyed them for Easter. (I'm not sure how I feel about dying an animal, but no one involved asked me what I thought.) It's not that we didn't already have a bazillion chickens - but we didn't have a pink one...or an orange one...or a green one. He was already planning on visiting my daughters' Pre-K class with chicks. He thought the colorful ones would be a hit. They were.
Now, a couple months later, those chicks have grown up considerably. They are white now, except for a tiny bit of color left around their eyes. (Again, I'm not sure I like the idea of a dyed animal. It just seems wrong to me.) The chicks are friendly and don't mind being held. This makes them a prime target for my daughter, the Chicken Chaser. Her favorite chicken to chase is the one with green around its eyes. I think it (can't tell yet if its a he or a she) enjoys the game, to tell the truth. It keeps on coming back for more.
She takes this chicken chasing seriously, my little one. She thinks... she plans...
Plan A- sneaking, stalking
She instructed everyone around to shush and freeze while she approached the victim...er, chicken.....in this elaborate tiptoe (think Looney Tunes). The chicken would be happily pecking around in the grass, seemingly unaware that it was being stalked. Suddenly, the Chicken Chaser would dash forward and the chase was on! Green Eyes was getting pretty good at this. Time to shake things up a little.
Plan B- the laundry basket
I was headed into the backyard to take some sheets off the line when I saw the Chicken Chaser with my laundry basket raised above her head. (Again, the elaborate tiptoe.) Poor Green Eyes was over by the edge of the woods investigating an ant hill, completely unaware of what was about to happen. Luckily for Green Eyes, I had to get that laundry in and get back to a tomato pie I had in the oven. I reclaimed my basket while the Chaser was in mid stalk. Her plans were temporarily foiled, but she wasn't giving up that easily.
Plan C- enlist help
I was taking the last of the sheets from the line when I heard her calling Cricket, our Blue Heeler. BAD IDEA. Blue Heelers are bred to chase things. Intelligent and faithful, that dog would probably try to climb a tree if one of us asked her to do it. However, whatever she chases she generally catches. And whatever she catches, she tends to see as rightfully hers. Green Eyes does NOT deserve this. Mom intervened. I informed her that she was NOT, under any circumstances, to involve Cricket in ANY of her chicken plans. Period. I then heard her whisper to the dog, "Come on and help me Cricket! Just don't tell Mama" Thankfully, Cricket listens to me, even if no one else does.
Plan D- blackberry bait
The Chicken Chaser and her dad went blackberry picking yesterday. She rushed through the kitchen door proudly holding the bowl of blackberries and declared, "Daddy and me picked this bowl of booberries. They're just for me and you-- not daddy!" She plopped them on to the table and rushed back out the door. Hmmm...not sure what heinous crime Daddy committed that brought about this banishment from blackberries... Oh well, more for me!
She was gone about 10 minutes before she rushed back into the kitchen. "I need some of those booberries!! I gonna use 'em to catch that chicken!" She careful selected a few berries and was gone in a whirlwind. Ah ha! She's using bait now. She's getting smarter! Poor Green Eyes! Hope he/she can resist.
Evidently, Green Eyes is not a blackberry fan. Either that, or he/she can eat on the run.
Plan E- better uniform
I was removing the tomato pie from the oven when Chicken Chaser returned. "Oh, hey!", she said as she headed for her room.
"Oh hey!" I replied, trying to see what she was up to now.
She was rumbling in her closet. "I gotta get my boots...like daddy wears! They'll help me catch that chicken!" I assumed she meant her pink John Deere boots. (Every country kid needs a pair.) But, no- she comes back into the kitchen wearing her suede "school boots". Really? Well, they were too small anyway. I shrugged and let her pass.
When it was beginning to get dark outside, the little Chicken Chaser came inside with her dad. She was tired, but determined. Green Eyes headed off to roost, equally exhausted and equally determined.
It's a rainy Sunday morning now and Chicken Chaser sits quietly nibbling a biscuit and watching cartoons. She is thinking. You can almost hear those wheels turning in her mind. The rain and church have put a momentary halt to her plans...for now. Green Eyes has likely found a dry spot in the shed and is enjoying this temporary respite.
This is only a temporary truce. Come afternoon, the chase will be on!