Okay, pull up a stool and pass me a margarita! First day of VIP Preschool did NOT go well. <sigh> Um, make that two, will you please? I have to deal with her when she gets home too. Thanks. So, about sneaking up on chickens. Not that it's any big story - I'm sure it's happened to every one of you. But this was the first time for me, and I think the neighbors across the street were getting ready to pull out the lawn chairs, popcorn and video cameras. Ken let the girls out in the evening, like we usually do. But this time I was in the middle of a project in the house so I wasn't out there to assist. Things were going well. He had the garden hose out so I knew the chickens would stay out of my flowers, which is always my main concern. Then just at sundown he came and got the scrap pail, telling me he was going to put the chickens away. Ten minutes later I hear, "DIANE! I need your help!" I dropped what I was doing, hit the deck running and slid on my coop shoes. I came around the corner of the trailer and didn't see anything earth shaking going on. The chickens were in the run going at the scraps like they hadn't seen food in a week and run door was closed but not latched yet. Then he yells, "Back here!" Out behind the garage were Ken and Bumblebee, the littlest EE. He couldn't get her to go into the run. He couldn't even get her headed that way! So I choked back my superior-chicken-expert-smirk and said, "I'll get her." Yeah, right. Apparently Bumblebee wasn't ready to stop playing yet. I bent down to pick her up and almost had her - SQUIRT, right out between my feet and into the vegetable garden. Now, she's the same age as the other EEs but I swear somebody put her in the wrong bin and she's really a bantam. And she's dark. Real dark. I couldn't spot her. Ken couldn't spot her. Then I saw the squash leaves moving. Ah, there she is! Ken got on one side of the squash and I got on the other. I told him to be ready to herd her toward the run and I started moving up on her all stealthy like. I could see this little dark shadow moving just as stealthily away from me, toward Ken. WHOOSH! She took off like a pheasant in hunting season and flew right past me. How the heck did she turn that fast? Okay. She's just a chicken and I'm bigger and smarter. I got this. But she was under the camper. This backside is not small enough to fit the ground clearance on that camper even if I COULD bend down that low. It would be like a bimbo doing the limbo. So I got a bamboo stake that was in the garden and I crouched as low as I could, coaxing one minute and poking the next. It went on like that for an eternity - I'd mosey to one side of the camper and she'd hunker down on the opposite side. I knew by then she had to be scared witless (or something-less) so I said, "We're done. Let's let her settle down and see if she heads for the coop on her own." I made sure all of the other chickens were still in the run and shut the pop door. I propped open the door to the coop and we moved back. By now the street lights are just coming on and any sensible chicken would have been on the roost long ago. Did I mention that in addition to being dark and little, Bumblebee is not sensible? We waited her out for a good 15 minutes. She wasn't budging. So I finally went over to the garden and picked a split tomato. I tossed down a piece of busted tomato and slowly she inched out from under the camper to wolf it down. I tossed down another piece and she came a little further. So far this is working great! Then as she turned the corner toward the open coop door, we heard the front gate slam and Katie running to the backyard yelling, "Hey, you want me to help you catch that evil little beast?" Apparently Katie had been watching the whole thing from her front yard with sinister glee. Bumblebee forgot the bit of tomato and hightailed it to the cedar tree on the side yard. I told Katie, "Well, since you helped stall our progress you might as well." This cedar tree is not very tall, but it is wide and low to the ground. It is also prickley and stinky. And she was in a branch about 5 feet up. Oh, great. So out came the tomato. Eventually one of two things was going to happen. Either Bumblebee was going to head for the coop peacefully with a crop full of juice and seeds or I was going to run out of tomato. We formed a half circle around the opposite side of the tree and waited to see if she'd come down for the bribe. She did, bless her little chicken liver. We all inched around the tree closer to the coop to head her off if she turned tail on us again and I tossed another little bit. She took that one too. Closer - slowly, silently, all four of us - one little girl, two old people, and one chicken - made our way closer to the coop. By now we were so sick of the whole affair that we were actually tiptoeing! Can you imagine that? Tiptoeing so we didn't upset a chicken, for crying out loud! Inch by inch we eased her toward the coop. The other girls are squawking and carrying on at the pop door, wanting to get to the roost before all the good spots were taken. A normal chicken would have seen the safety of the coop, the open door, heard her flockmates, and beat feet for home. Did I mention that in addition to being dark, little and not sensible, Bumblebee is also not normal? But one final little bribe and she was in the coop! I crouched down low and sneaked over to shut the door. She panicked, flew out over my head and headed for the cedar. She slept out there that night. I figured she was pretty safe. If Ken, Katie and I couldn't sneak up on her I doubted if anything else could either.