Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

October 22, 2012

Pleasant Hill Ramblings: Pet sitting for dogs, cats and chickens

CROSSVILLE — Most pet owners face the dilemma of who will care for their pets when they travel. Should they impose on neighbors or family, take them to a pricey kennel or try to take them with them?

Joan and Joe Gittings of Pleasant Hill have a unique problem. Not only do they have a dog and cat, but they also harbor five chickens and a silky rooster. They enjoy traveling in their retirement years and often face the dilemma of what to do with their cherished animals.

When they were up north for the month of June, wonderful neighbors Duncan and Barbara Everett minded the brood, making sure they had food and water in the backyard coop and chicken yard of the Gittings' home. Other neighbors enjoy taking scraps to them and watching their antics also.

However, the Gittings' home is surrounded by dense woods and is rather isolated from their nearest neighbors. A wily raccoon (maybe two) soon realized that no one was home at the Gittings' at night. One-by-one the chickens and rooster disappeared until only a few were left.

Dismayed by this loss, the Gittings decided to take measures to prevent this from happening again. As many do these days, they googled portable chicken coop and through the magic of the internet located a “chicken tractor” constructed by a high school boy living north of Cookeville to earn extra money.

This coop has a 3x8 foot yard with a 3x6 foot house on top of it. It has two nesting boxes, a wire bottom in the house, with one door. Joe modified the coop to give the chickens more “wing room.” The yard has two doors to make it accessible from both ends. The most important innovation is that it is on wheels.

They restocked their little farmyard with one Black Star pullet, two white Delawares, one Dominicker and one Welsumer from a farm nearby in Browntown. All were happy with the new digs. Now, the Gittings were faced with a new problem. How to transport this elegant coop from their backyard to their good neighbor “chicken sitters.”

On the advice of a friend to visit a festival on Hwy. 127 N, Joe was intrigued with Farmall Cub tractors. Back to the internet and Google he went. He found a 1955 Farmall Cub tractor for sale in Deer Lodge, Morgan County. When he proudly boasted to his daughter on the phone about what he had bought, she excitedly interrupted him with “Corvette!” after hearing 1955.

Well, anyway, the tractor is just right for transporting the portable coop. There are other members of their animal family, too. They also own a horse, Ditto, and a donkey, Chico. They board at the small farm of another Pleasant Hill family, the Stampfls. Their silky rooster came from the Stampfls' flock. Joe rides Ditto around Pleasant Hill and sometimes hitches Chico up to an Amish style carriage. If needed, Joe can attach a sickle bar mower to the tractor to cut weeds in the farmyard and has a disc plow and full set of cultivators in case the land needs plowing.

The portable chicken coop, or chicken tractor as it is called, got its first trial run in September when the Gittings went to the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in Tennessee/Virginia and to Land of the Lakes in Tennessee. The coop was transported to the Everetts' fenced-in yard. The chickens like to have outings occasionally. So all of the neighbors were treated to the flock de-bugging the Everetts’ vegetable garden and sometimes crossing the road to check out their lawns. They all made it safely back to the coop, and the Gittings were delighted with these new arrangements.

Now, did Joe and Joan grow up on farms? No, but when he was growing up, Joe's family had a cottage in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he became friends with the kids living nearby, often riding horses with them and helping with their farm chores. Joan has always loved animals and shared the care of a flock of Rhode Island Reds in Massachusetts. She enjoys the diverse personalities of “her girls,” considering them “living lawn ornaments” who rid the yard of ticks, bugs and even garter snakes.

Joe is the president of the Victim/Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), on committees at the Pleasant Hill Community Church and participates in peace vigils at Oak Ridge and elsewhere. Joan volunteers at the Second Chance thrift store in Crossville and leads the Caregivers’ Support Group for the Pleasant Hill community.

They both visit the three Head Start Centers in Crab Orchard, Bondecroft and Monterey, where they share music and storytelling. Many of their songs (Joe plays the banjo) revolve around their pets. They participate in Dave Myers’ Community Supported Agriculture project and enjoy visiting his farm. Myers has also cared for their flock in the past. What a delight to have this talented and caring couple for Pleasant Hill neighbors.

***

The Shalom Center for Continuing Education is sponsoring programs Oct. 25 and 26 in Pleasant Hill regarding "Faithfully Facing Dying." Schera Chadwick of Final Exit Network Associates will give information of options during the time of dying.

On Thursday evening following a 5:30 p.m. potluck in Adshead Hall of Fletcher House, there will be an introduction and overview to issues, including the difficulties of conversation with loved ones and family. On Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, Chadwick will discuss the Final Exit Network program.

There is no charge for the program, but bring a dish to share if attending the potluck.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Habitat-Group photo-Crisp Dedication .jpg Habitat celebrates 55th home dedication

    Anne Crisp is excited that she and her two daughters have a home to call their own. Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH) dedicated the 55th home to be built in partnership with low-income families. Crisp put more than 500 hours of "sweat equity" into her home and has completed 50 hours of self-improvement, where she attended classes on budgeting, home maintenance and good neighbor among others.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gypsy Rose to visit Fair Park

    The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently performing the award-winning Broadway play “Gypsy.” A great American story set during the 1920s fading vaudeville circuit, "Gypsy" portrays the rise of famed burlesque performer and stage mother Gypsy Rose Lee as she journeys across the country with her mother and sister during a time when Vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. The complex character of Rose could be described as bold and brassy, as she steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters June and Louise into child stars.

    July 28, 2014

  • plateau gardening-springBlooms4361.jpg Match August garden tasks to plant biology

    During all seasons in temperate climates like ours the greenery around us is changing. New shoots appear and leaves pop out of swollen buds after spring rains.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pleasant Hill Ramblings.jpg Landis reunites with Japanese teacher

    There is a special lady living in Pleasant Hill who spent 42 years of her life in Sendai, Japan, teaching English at a Japanese Christian school and as a missionary with the United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lion of Year.jpg Lions Club recognizes Lion of the Year

    Charles Loveday, charter member of the Crossville Lions Club, was recognized as the Lion of the Year at the annual installation of officers picnic July 8. Loveday earned this award for his service as first vice president, membership chairman, eye glass chairman and his help with fundraisers and other matters where needed. From left are Loveday and President Gary Laura.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014

  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014