We went to the zoo this week. It was a lot of fun and we saw a lot of animals, but I believe we could have just stayed home and toured the animals there.

We added four baby chicks to our flock in February. My son, Zeb, who can actually say he was raised in a barn because his room is being used as a barn, kept the chicks in an old horse trough in his bedroom with a heat lamp until they could go outside. We now have seven fat and healthy hens in our coop (outside).

My son also has a guinea pig and a parakeet in his room. I look in on them regularly to be sure they have food and water, etc. I walked in one day in April and the parakeet’s cage was clean and locked up tight, plenty of food and water; not one thing was out of place. But the parakeet was not inside the cage.

We never figured out what happened to that bird. We just never saw it again.

In May, my daughter asked for a hamster. We had it for one day before my son accidentally let it loose in our house. Three days later, the cat found him for us. I went to town and bought a new hamster. His name is Neville. He is doing very well.

I have to wonder here if the cat knows anything about that missing parakeet.

Last week, the same cat, Kevin, brought me a mouse. He left it in the bedroom floor, on my side of the bed. I found it around 1 a.m. Within a few minutes, I realized the mouse looked a lot like Neville. I crawled into Neville’s room with a flashlight and saw that hamster #2 was in his cage, safe and sound.

So, it looks like we have mice, too.

A few days ago, I was feeding our rabbit, and a black snake was in the rabbit’s pen. The snake slithered out toward the front porch and disappeared. I can only hope he doesn’t show up in the house like the rest of them.

My husband, Will, sent me a picture earlier today of four baby skunks who are apparently living in our actual barn. The two horses and two goats haven’t seemed to mind them. But our two dogs are itching to get sprayed.

I’m wondering if we could charge admission for folks to come to our house, like when they go to the zoo. Our bathrooms are just about as clean as theirs. And, it’s a lot less crowded. I would be willing to give a discount if our guests would take some animals home with them.

Melissa Kinton is a stay-at-home mom. She is currently rearing one son, one daughter, one cat, one rabbit, one guinea pig, one hamster, seven chickens, two dogs, two goats, two horses, various fish and one husband. She may be reached at melissagkinton@gmail.com.

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