Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yesterday after lunch, I tied up the dogs and let the chickens out to free range for the afternoon. When I got home from work, they had nested together in the brush around the old bus. I herded them toward their tractor, but they didn’t want to go inside. I let Stacy off the leash, since she’s less excited by them, and she paid them absolutely no attention. Then I let Zeus off the leash and he also paid them no attention. I walked with Stacy and Zeus in the direction where the chickens had gone, and when the chickens saw that the dogs were loose, they got all excited and flapped their wings and clucked. This excited the dogs and they chased them into the brush. I called the dogs into the trailer and went back out to check on the chickens. I didn’t see them anywhere in the brush. Then I heard them bok-bok’ing at me. I looked up and saw three chicken legs ‘upstairs’ in the tractor! I took the opportunity to close them up for the night. At least they know where home is. I let them out this morning while the dogs were loose, and the dogs didn’t even seem to notice. Hopefully we can let them free-range during the day most days.

This morning I decided that we should let the kittens out of their cage, since they’ve been there for a week. I propped the cage door open and they came out to explore the barn. Murphy immediately disappeared into the barn ‘stuff’. Oliver followed me everywhere I went. I thought he might follow me outside the barn, but he saw Zeus at the door and decided to stay put. I came and went several times, and every time I called, Oliver came running out to me. I could hear Murphy talking to me, but he never came out. I left their food, water, litter box and cushion in the cage, so hopefully they’ll still see it as their home and a safe place. I saw Oliver checking out the dog bed, so that could get interesting! I tied up the dogs before I opened the barn doors, and as soon as they caught sight of Oliver, they maxed out their leash inside the barn. That’s how I left them when I went to work.

Everybody is learning to live together, and I’m pretty happy with the progress so far.