Thursday, September 12, 2013

Off topic: In trouble with the law!

Two days ago, a letter arrived at my home:

I never even got a detention as a kid, now this??

It looks like the authorities have caught up with us!

To me, when I take on the responsibility of a pet, even a farm animal, that means I am committed to taking care of their needs.  This absolutely includes $6 chickens.

Luckily my husband indulges my values.

El Paso ordinance prohibits our chickens from living within 30 feet of our neighbors houses.

To do this in our tiny backyard, we broke out some my 8th grade math teacher, yes, you were right after all...and we found the one spot where we can set a coop for our chickens.

D reports that our chicken reinvestigation (today) went like this:

"You only have these two hens?"
"No roosters?"
So only these two hens?"
"Are you planning on getting any more hens?"
"And you only have these two hens?"
"No roosters?"

It's a good thing I'm out of town as I might have gotten a tad crabbier than D is physically able.  Bless him!

The odd thing is, we have some very noisy people in our neighborhood.  And some pretty quiet hens.

And we have several other families in our neighborhood who collect EVERY DAMN LAWN ORNAMENT EVER PRODUCED for full display, full time, in the front yard.  Some other families believe that "lawn ornament" is another word for "nonoperational vehicle."  Oy.

If you slice it like I do, D and I are running a glorified bird feeder.  This arrangement reduces our kitchen waste, provides entertainment, reduces the number of insects, and provides a great organic protein food source while preventing us from spending money on eggs from battery hens, who are raised in certainly miserable conditions.

But yeah, in El Paso, apparently two people and their two hens are the real criminals...not the raging drug problem or even the punk kid who smashed in four of our windows with a hammer several months ago.

We've had these hens for 18 months and if I find out who decided to call the authorities and complain (it's not our neighbors, who on all sides find the gals entertaining and love the free fresh eggs, and no, there is no smell), I would like to pelt this person with my organic free range eggs.  And to anyone who thinks that our hens are lowering property values, my gals can't even be seen from the front of the house.  I would also refer you to the piles of trash in some people's driveways or the aforementioned lawn ornament hoarders.  I'll take this leap, chicken keeping is part of our American way of life, and a link to my heritage.  And a hen or two can really class up the, well, our neighborhood in fact.  I may be sightly prejudiced and also reaching a tad, with that American way of life bit...but hey, what would pioneers do?  Raise some damn hens, that's what.

The total penalty for our eggregious chicken lifestyle is that we bought a new, larger coop big enough for them to exercise and lounge around in since their free-range days are over.  I admit, though, I am still going to let them free-range in the evening and on weekends.  They deserve it.  

I suspect D's initial instinct included returning the chickens to the farm where I purchased them.  I would've understood this, especially since we are going to be apart for 2014 as well, but he knows how much I love raising them and how much I love my Chicken TV and I love him even more when he, in addition to being Pack Leader, became Chicken Defender on my behalf while I'm away.  Even though the chickens are not his favorite thing in the world, he does a large portion of the coop-cleaning.  100% of it if you want to be exact.

El Paso Environmental Services, nice to know you have your $#!& together.  You might be the only agency in the city about which that can be said.  Thanks for keeping long-distance marriages strong by providing chicken challenges.  El Paso, I still love you...knuckles...

Of note, the local Walmart and pet store both sell 40# bags of chick starter feed, laying hen feed, and sunflower seed as well as egg wipes, chicken waterers and egg cleaning solution.  Hmmm....