Our two youngest son's joined a 4H group at the end of 2010. Well, it went from getting rabbits to getting chickens and of course the promise from the boys that they would do all the feeding and caring for the animals. We all know how that usually goes. Their chickens and rabbits love me. The conditional type of love, I am sure, where the critters know that either I will be feeding them or that I will be booting some boys in their direction to feed them. My 10 year old is the kind of kid who does things slowly, not because he is a perfectionist, but because he has two speeds, slow and stop. He has yet to totally overcome his fear of the chickens and I use this as an opportunity to torture the child. He has no issue with going into the run and feeding the birds, he gets upset when they start pecking at his feet. The wife has the same problem with the chickens when she is in the pen with her flip flops and the birds flock to her feet. I know the secret, but have yet felt the need to share. My youngest son doesn't care when he is flocked. He thinks that they all want picked up and when he reaches to grab one, it ends their flocking since they are now scattering to avoid the awkward handling from a six year old. (I make sure when he gets one he holds her properly...so no chickens are harmed in this story) Well, Monday we were out at the run and the ten year old had the bucket of feed. He walked in the run in his usual speed, slow, and was greeted by all. They went to town on his tennis shoes as usual. However, today, Blackie, our black austrolorp, didnt want to give up when he tried to get away. I saw the light bulb go off over his head before he sounded the words, "They are trying to get my shoe laces!" I was kinda sad, seeing my son grow up and knowing that he now knew the secret, but I was also proud that I didn't have to call his name and add, "Bless your heart" when I would make a semi-sarcastic comment at his expense. For those who do not know, it is a Southern thing in a sense to say "Bless your heart" or "Bless his/her heart" when someone has done something stupid or is a bit dense at times. I didn't come up with this explanation and I don't know who to actually credit. Okay....on with the rambling... After discovering the fact that the shoe laces were the key, he untied them so that there was a good eight inches of shoe lace trailing behind him and he made a game of it. Blackie, along with the others were chasing him around and then going for the laces. He then began walking backwards so he could see the attacks and laugh at the birds fighting for his laces. A dirt pen, with thick pine shavings and untied shoes. It wasn't until I said, "Bless your heart, you are going to have poop on your laces" that he stopped. This is a true story about him, the laces and me finding another reason to bless him. Now it is becoming winter and my wife, who claims she is a country girl, gets a bad case of frost bite when the thermometer dips below 80F. She doesn't wear her flip flops outside as much to the chicken run, which, for health reasons I would not recommend to begin with. But, knowing how she likes to get her toe nails painted, I will just wait until spring for her to get the chicken flocking and her not knowing why. It is the simple things in life that make me laugh myself to sleep at night! Thanks for reading!