The chickens have flown the coop. What remains is an empty coop holding possibilities.

What you may know now, if you read last month’s newsletter, is that I have a museum in my backyard, in an abandoned chicken coop.

I began raising backyard chickens in 1985, when we lived Woodside, California where there was room to spread our wings in a rambling, redwood tree-fringed backyard.  We built a chicken coop and filled it with a dozen hens, and one rooster. Together they produced a steady flow of fresh eggs with bright yellow yolks.

Our backyard chicken project continued for decades and eventually ended in Austin, Texas where we moved in 2010, where the summers were on fire and chicken predators were determined and evil.

I built a coop that eventually took on the appearance of a military armored tank.  And even then, racoons and skunks had their day with our dear hens. One night, after making my usual security check and bed turn-down service in the coop, a skunk that had entered the coop and was most likely ready to pick off another unsuspecting hen, sprayed me as I was about to leave. That ended years of backyard chickens and now the coop is becoming a museum.

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