The first order of business: construction of a chicken coop and starting her own little egg farm. “I buy four, five, or more dozen eggs a week,” she said. “That’s it, we’re getting chickens.”
And so they did – with the help of Farmer Dave and Farmer Dan, who trucked in an easy-to-assemble coop for 16 chickens and one rooster.
The whole clan pitched in to help, a phenomenon Kate dubbed the “Farmer Dan Effect.”
“The kids were willing to carry pieces of the coop and in no time all of those pieces were in the field,” she said. “These are moments that make me very happy. The kids were suddenly very willing to participate … It was a family event – we’re putting together our chicken coop.”
The boys, Collin, Aaden and Joel, enjoyed other things as well, like naming the chickens – Fluffy, Fuzzy, Furry – and pondering the concept of farm animals: “We’re never going to eat our pet chickens,” they decided.
Once the coop was put together, Kate saw an opportunity in the act of cleaning it out. “There’s going to be chicken poop on here and you have to help pull it out and I’m going to give you things to scrape it off,” she said. “Whoever disobeys will be assigned this chore.”
Also on the agenda for the summer: power-cleaning the outside of the house, checking its water filtration systems, paparazzi-proofing the area of the yard – “I’m willing to spend whatever it takes so the kids will have privacy when they’re playing,” Kate said. “We’ve decided to buy a lot of trees and shrubbery,” – and writing and compiling the Gosselin Household Systems & Maintenance Manual: Everything a Single Mom Needs to Know to Run Our Little Piece of the World.
As a way of celebrating their hard work and their first egg harvest, Kate decided to make a special dinner of egg salad sandwiches, deviled eggs and egg custard. The family enjoyed the dinner but it got off to a disgusting start when they went to retrieve the eggs and found a bloodied rooster.
“The poor thing was henpecked,” Kate said. “There’s possibly some irony. We’ve got issues with roosters.”