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There’s good news and bad news. The bad news first: Jackie and I did not make the trip to Tennessee this weekend for Sarah & Eric’s wedding. Katie went, but we felt the ten-hour trip with one day between travel days would just be too much for the little one.

The good news is that Jackie and I were able to make the fourth annual Tour d’Coop, which showcased more than 20 different urban chicken coops inside (hen-side) Raleigh’s I-440 beltline. Six of the coops are within a one-mile radius of our house, so Jackie and I set out on foot/stroller to check them out.

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I’ve had an interest in having chickens of our own for a couple of years now, and it was great to see the diversity of fowl-friendly accommodations so close to home. Like any type of pet, the chickens and their dwellings reflect the people who own them. Some coops were elaborate, even to the point that they matched the architectural detail of the adjacent houses. Other coops were simpler and less ornate. Every chicken owner we met today had a simple process for feeding, egg-gathering, and composting. The really interesting part was the small backyard footprint that each coop required — some had three or four chickens in less than 100 square feet.

Today’s tour convinced me that as long as there’s no co-mingling with Baxter and Robah, chickens would be a great addition to our family. I hope to start working on our coop sometime in the next year. On the other hand, Katie has already reminded me of the other changes we want to make to this house. For some reason, she seems to think that home-improvement endeavors might be higher on the list of priorities. Katie’s flan was killer; I think the only way to make it better would be to start with home-laid eggs.

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Just a quick pat on the back to Katie, who whipped up a homemade flan for Family Supper Club a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never tasted a better custard in any form. She may be a working mom with a lot going on, but she still has the skill set and energy to crank out good eats!

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Over the past couple of weeks, Katie has convinced me that Jackie is ready for a little variety in her diet. The nursing and bottles of breast milk are still going very well (from this spectator’s perspective), but Jackie seems to want a little more to eat than her five feedings a day can provide. On top of that, she is mesmerized when she watches Katie and me eat or drink.

Her interest and growing hunger prompted us to try giving her rice cereal mixed with milk. The verdict is still out, but I’m pretty sure she won’t list rice cereal as her favorite food in the official Carolina Women’s Soccer media guide 18 years from now.

Here’s some video evidence that what goes down sometimes comes up (director’s note: the point of highest drama occurs at the very end).

I’ve added some pictures we took while Katie’s grandmother, mother, and sister were in Raleigh.

Katie’s grandmother, mother, and sister visited us in April, and I think the baby was held and adored continuously, every hour of every day, until they left Raleigh. This kind of doting is not uncommon when Nana Burns is on premises, but to see the four generations of Burns/Jeffcoats women oohing and aahing in unison was something to behold.

At one point, Katie, Mawmaw, Holly and Janet had a conversation that lasted several minutes, but they never once made eye contact with each other. Each woman’s gaze converged at the same focal point — their eyes were fixated on Jackie the entire time they were talking.

Holly and Mawmaw drove all the way from Louisiana to spend time with us. Judging by her interaction with Jackie, it’s obvious that Holly will make a great mother herself one of these days. As for Mawmaw, we knew she would be able to make the long trip from Simsboro, but we didn’t expect her to be so spry when climbing up and down the 18 steps in our staircase.

She didn’t come out and say it (or anything else for that matter), but I know that Jackie loved meeting her great grandmother and her aunt. Thanks for making the trip!

Katie’s father also drove to Raleigh, and we enjoyed our time with him. He earned a gold star and a steak dinner for removing ivy from the sides of our house on the day after his birthday. Thanks Ben!

Image from Raleigh

Urban dirt-biking

I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.

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