the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Featured community question that my father should just go ahead and skip

Today’s featured question comes yet again from user Brookelyn Bridge, mainly because it is so timely for me:

I’ve mentioned my friend Kate before (and no, this is not going to be a post about my lesbian fantasies, I gave those up when I realized that I really, really like penises), and she has this enormous garden in her backyard where she grows everything: lettuce, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, asparagus, you name it. I think she may even grow cream cheese and birthday cakes.

I find this really inspiring for several reasons. I mean, it’s great for the environment to grow your own food, but there she is fixing entire meals from food she’s grown in her backyard. She gifted me a potted tomato plant for Mother’s Day, and I was all, dude, you have set me up! I can’t walk away from a challenge, and now I have to do all this work and research to become the valedictorian of potted tomato plants.

If that plant dies I can guarantee you that NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW.

Anyway, to the point. There is one, I promise. The porn is in here. Sadly, it does not include lacy underwear or talk of anyone’s private bits. Which reminds me… okay. I lied. Private bits, here we come!

I can’t believe I’m going to write about this on this here Family Friendly Website, but the first penis I ever saw was on the small side. Like, tiny. And so going forward that was the benchmark: small and quaint. Hey, little buddy! What’s up, little guy? Here’s a stool you can use to reach the faucet to wash your hands!

And then the second penis I ever saw, wow. AWKWARD. It was supposed to be a special moment, but I thought maybe he was ill, or that something terrible was happening, because it was about ten times the size of the benchmark. And so instead of getting all romantic, I’m leaping backwards screaming ARE YOU OKAY?! THAT CANNOT BE COMFORTABLE. CALL 911! CALL 911!


Where was I? Tomato plant. Right. So, it turns out that our neighborhood is zoned in such a way that we could raise chickens in our backyard. I am not even kidding. Chickens. Like on a farm! COCKADOODLEDO! And since most of Kate’s yard is occupied by her garden, she doesn’t have room for a coop. BUT GUESS WHOSE BACKYARD DOES?

You guys, chickens. Can you imagine the content? I mean, Coco’s reaction alone would fill weeks and weeks of Internet Website Blogging. And I would name them all, and cuddle them, and love them. Fresh eggs every morning! Cluck, cluck, cluck! This is not an insane idea at all!

Except, Jon. He who is known as Armstrong, he actually threatened divorce if I put a chicken coop in our backyard, that’s how strongly he feels about this. Can you believe how unreasonable he’s being? It’s not like I’m asking for a pet pig that lives indoors! (He actually walked out of the room when I brought up that idea. Yesterday.)

All I’m asking for is three or four chickens to call my own. And now whenever I even start to say the word, when he hears the CHHH— he completely explodes and heads for the closet where we keep our luggage. And I find this totally hilarious. Because now I have leverage over his clogs: I have the chickens.

Really? No chickens? THEN NO CLOGS.


And then yesterday morning there was some interaction in our office, and suddenly I get a notice on my phone that Armstrong has tweeted something:

I think that answers the question.

  • lesliepaige78

    2010/05/19 at 2:35 pm

    my mom and i have discussed a few heirloom chickens. they are cute and heirloom, who doesnt want one of those?!! i think you should totally have a few chickens. tell armstrong the internet said so.

  • jon

    2010/05/19 at 2:38 pm


  • dooce

    2010/05/19 at 2:39 pm

    I think we should put it to a vote. Where only the “yays” count.

  • fidothefatcat

    2010/05/19 at 2:42 pm

    Perhaps Armstrong should have his name changed again. He sounds more like a “Buzzkill McGee” to me. What’s wrong with chickens? Seems like a totally reasonable request to me.

  • OnceUpon

    2010/05/19 at 2:46 pm


    More chicken porn from a fun blog I read:

    Hehe. Sorry Jon.

  • annehayes

    2010/05/19 at 2:57 pm

    One of my good friends has a farm animal obsession and has had (in the past): miniature goats; chickens; ducks; turkeys; rabbits… she even had a miniature pig.

    She loved the chickens, but you need a well constructed coop or else they’ll get eaten at night. As for the pig, it was litterbox trained but still, it was a pig and smelled like a pig. 🙂

    As for the chickens – they don’t seem like a lot of work as long as you can segregate their “pooping” area from the rest of the yard and the kiddos….. I say Yay!

  • Athena

    2010/05/19 at 2:59 pm

    Chickens! Yes! You can go out and get your breakfast eggs in the morning and they will be like no eggs you’ve had before!

    Not sure what you do with chickens in Utah in the winter though. Hmmmm.

  • jon

    2010/05/19 at 3:00 pm


  • mandinka

    2010/05/19 at 3:01 pm

    I wish I could have a chicken coop in my yard.
    You don’t know how lucky you are Jon.
    Besides, it’s the roosters that are noisy – if that’s your objection.

  • kristanhoffman

    2010/05/19 at 3:08 pm

    LOL I was wondering what the heck that Tweet was about yesterday.

    PS: How many times do we think Jon is going to comment “NO CHICKENS”?

  • Janice

    2010/05/19 at 3:09 pm

    Y’all are gonna live your lives and it’s none of my business, but Jon, I remember a graph you posted once on your web site that showed your stress levels for various life events. I remember a particularly tall stress line for Coco. So tossing in my two cents:


  • CraftyCrab

    2010/05/19 at 3:10 pm

    I have the same disagreement with my husband. All I want is to have two chickens. TWO. He says, “We can have a kid, or we can have the chickens.” What a farce! But, I’m pregnant now, so you know where that so-called “choice” led. I’ll break his will eventually.

    BTW – I had a similar series of experiences with penises (small…..BIG!), and yet I really love those funny-looking things. It’s so weird that we share these things on the Internet.

  • HDC

    2010/05/19 at 3:11 pm

    Here Jon, I’ll help.

    Heather, you know how gross it was when either of your four legged high chair washers lost bowel control in the house? Yeah, well fowl also shed feathers and walk through their poo all day long, dragging that stuff everywhere. Along with chicken feed. Everywhere.

    Instead, you ought to consider a sloth. They only pooh once a month!

    You’re welcome Jon!

  • Ethel Poostain

    2010/05/19 at 3:16 pm

    I’m in the yay camp. Get chickens! Send me fresh eggs! (they’ll travel ok to the UK, right?)

  • maille_k

    2010/05/19 at 3:26 pm

    Chickens are assholes, but I can’t deny the greatness of fresh eggs every day. It’s a huge weight off the mind knowing where your food comes from. We recently moved out of the Big City so sourcing free range happy food and growing at least some of our own would be easier. The benefits are apparent almost immediately.

  • Heather G

    2010/05/19 at 3:28 pm

    I had the same fantasy and got two chickens. Um we gave them away recently. They are cute and homely but… they go off the lay when moulting, when it’s cold (4 months in NZ longer where you are), when they get stressed out ie dogs and children, when they go broody. The process of debrooding hens is kindof cruel too. After all that the per egg cost is huge. Then they can get ill, worms, fly blown, plus you have to clean out their shit regularly and they make the ground into a mud bath in winter and if they get out they eat your plants.

  • robynh

    2010/05/19 at 3:29 pm

    I have four chickens and they are the most hilarious addition to our household. Not only do they provide endless entertainment, their eggs taste AMAZING. You’ve never eaten eggs like these. Sorry, but I gotta go with YAY.

  • SaltTooth

    2010/05/19 at 3:34 pm

    I say YAY!!

    My mom brought home a baby chicken from the farmer’s market as a pet for my brother and I in middle school. We named him Antoine. He would sit in your lap like a cat and you could pet him and carry him around. He even hung out with our dog and they shared each other’s food! Of course we had to give him away when we realized he was a rooster and started cockadoodling. He was an awesome pet!

    You have my full support Heather!

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    2010/05/19 at 3:37 pm

    Heather. Seriously. AWESOME.
    I love the county fair here where all the 4-H kids have the animals they’ve raised on display. I particularly love the chickens and the fancy-over-the-top feathered ones get me laughing every time.
    Personally, I don’t think I would want chickens. They can be mean little fuckers and I have a friend who was tormented by their rooster (I was going to put “cock” but I refrained – or maybe I didn’t).
    I like ducks. And we can have ducks here in our town. Maybe in a few years I’ll get myself a couple ducks.
    (and just to mention, my captcha is “it dickier”)

  • ronnagail

    2010/05/19 at 3:38 pm

    Perhaps a compromise? See how it goes with the tomato plant first. Just for the sake of your own sanity.

  • Leball

    2010/05/19 at 3:40 pm

    LMFAO! Seriously. I am laughing out loud at work. So inapporpriate! Penises! So flipping funny. And yeah, come on Blurb! Get the chicken coop! O my, I can just imagine the photos and stories! Do it Dooce! Take away the clogs!

  • KatR

    2010/05/19 at 3:50 pm

    I can’t believe you are going to deny us pictures of Chuck with a chicken balanced on his head, JON.

  • khadley

    2010/05/19 at 3:52 pm

    chicken coop in the yard, why not? i’m trying to convince my partner that the backyard would be perfect for a few chickens, but not having much luck. so share your strategies with is will ya? hmmmmm maybe if i some how can create a link between porn and chickens i might get somewhere?

  • tallnoe

    2010/05/19 at 3:59 pm


    Because I think the stories would be awesome. And the pictures would be awesome.

    Even if I think they’re crazy, and loud. I enjoyed showing my chickens at the county fair. Did I just admit that I was in 4H on the interwebs? Yes, yes I did.

    My captcha is “in summer” – see? In summer Chickens are great.

  • strawberrygoldie

    2010/05/19 at 4:00 pm

    I want chickens. Bad.

    I want fat, fluffy chickens, with feathers that grow down their legs, and bouffant featherheads, that lay different colored eggs.

    That’s right.


    Chicken porn. Check it. Also. Duck porn. Peacock porn (hehehe…cock)

    Jon. You must know that you are about to be pummelled with comments by Dooce followers. Good luck, man. Good luck.

  • strawberrygoldie

    2010/05/19 at 4:01 pm

    I want chickens. Bad.

    I want fat, fluffy chickens, with feathers that grow down their legs, and bouffant featherheads, that lay different colored eggs.

    That’s right.


    Chicken porn. Check it. Also. Duck porn. Peacock porn (hehehe…cock)

    Jon. You must know that you are about to be pummelled with comments by Dooce followers. Good luck, man. Good luck.

  • meme0908

    2010/05/19 at 4:16 pm


    I have friends in Sugarhouse with their own chickens, and it’s the best. thing. ever.

    and their neighbors have chickens… so everybody’s doing it, Jon.

    you (probably) won’t regret it.

  • Chicken

    2010/05/19 at 4:21 pm

    Maybe I would be a good compromise. I think the weather might be very nice where you are, I don’t smell usually and I don’t eat a lot. I also love penises, so we have that in common. I don’t really lay eggs, but I can drive to the market for you. My neck is very sensitive, so there would need to be some kind of precohabitation agreement in regards to my safety and well being. No axes, no vampires. Let me know.

  • TexasKatie

    2010/05/19 at 4:27 pm

    You know, I have a garden in my yard and I love it – and I have thought many a times about having some chickens and a rooster. I thought it was so awesome when I was in the Bronx visiting my sister and her neighbor has a rooster that sits out front. Super cool. So, I say YAY!!!!!

  • MichelleD

    2010/05/19 at 4:31 pm

    Normally I would be all “YAY! Chickens!” but I have one word for you- COCO.

    Chickens need to roam free sometimes and I just can’t see this being a happy situation.

  • JennfromCanada

    2010/05/19 at 4:36 pm

    Vancouver, BC is adopting a by-law (or something like it) to have chicken coops in the urban areas. People are all over it. My hubby said that if he wasn’t vegan he’d get some chickens. I said, “why don’t we just get a pig too then?” Good grief. he’s all about “knowing where your food came from”. But I think even if he knew where his food came from he still wouldn’t eat meat.

    It’s the slaughtering practices and how they treat the animals that gets him.

  • Starr

    2010/05/19 at 4:40 pm

    Are we the same couple? Because I told my husband I am taking this class in June:
    And the description:

  • MontanaJen

    2010/05/19 at 4:57 pm

    Oh – you mean like THESE coops made SPECIFICALLY for the BACKYARD AND URBAN FARMER?!?

    I feel you. I so feel you.

    Coco may kill them, though. Careful, that.

  • Qathii

    2010/05/21 at 5:28 pm


  • piflower

    2010/05/21 at 5:59 pm

    YAY for chickens!!!! i soooo want chickens too! and we can have them in town too!!! but alas my husband is like yours and makes a face and says no, one day though, one day.

  • faeth

    2010/05/19 at 5:11 pm

    We should have our chickens next week. The coop has been done for a couple of weeks now and we should have a plethora of eggs. I’ll drop some by! If you really want to, you can keep a chicken or two at our place. Scott won’t mind!

  • filmlady

    2010/05/19 at 5:12 pm

    So we moved into our semi-rural neighborhood 20+ years ago and the neighbors had five free-range chickens. Meaning they used to come and sit under the bushes at the front of our house and make chickeny sounds. Loved it loved it loved it, we could always see them coming, marching single-file. Until one day only four came over, then three, then two, then silence. Victims, every one, of our local hawks and coyotes. Sigh. I still miss them.

  • kimb

    2010/05/19 at 5:30 pm

    No. Seriously, step away from the chickens. I know, all Currier & Ives and stuff, but really… don’t do it. We fell into the chicken trap at one, probably when we were about your age and our kids were Leta & Marlo’s age. Huge mistake. And, beyond the mess they make if they get out of their coop/pen, and the carnage when dogs/weasels/foxes etc. murder them, there’s the problem of what to do with them once they stop laying. Which they do after a few years. Ready to kill and eat them?

  • MN Sukie

    2010/05/19 at 5:31 pm

    Ohhh go for the chickens! Then you can use the poop in the composter.

    Our block also allows chickens — up to 6 per family. I am still working on my husband — we have three dogs and he is afraid he will get stuck with chicken poo duty too.

  • Lucy mom

    2010/05/19 at 5:38 pm

    I’m going out tonight with a group of friends and I think I will raise this question with them. Although I think I already know how it will go, they’re all city girls.

    So here’s my two cents although I think I sound wishy-washy. I grew up in a rural area and my grandmother had chickens. When I stayed with her I had the job of feeding them. I remember being pecked and chased a lot. I also remember they were incredibly dirty and their poop seemed to end up every where in the yard. But I also loved those eggs, I’ve never tasted better since. (The chickens themselves were also pretty delicious but it doesn’t sound like you are considering that option in chicken ownership.)

    Maybe you could find a local chicken farmer who would sell you fresh eggs weekly? Because really, there is no other reason to me to have chickens around – they just aren’t that cute and fun.

  • npevey

    2010/05/19 at 6:09 pm
  • heylucy

    2010/05/19 at 6:24 pm

    You get a very enthusiastic YAY vote from me!
    I’ve been raising chickens for over three years now, and I hope to never have to live without them, ever!

    What are Jon’s objections? I could give you counter arguments for every possible one. A few hens are not going to be that messy, dogs can be taught to get along with them (we have a golden retriever-hello! bird dog! and a sheepdog, and they hunt squirrels and other cute things, but have never hurt our chickens), hens are not very noisy, it’s the roosters that make all the noise. If you raise your chickens from day-old chicks, they are less likely to be mean and peck at you.

    Chickens are so fun to watch, and fresh eggs are a wonderful luxury and so much better than what you get at the grocery store. I have hens that are 3 1/2 years old and still laying like crazy. Also, there’s this:
    Cute, right?

  • imaynotremember

    2010/05/19 at 6:32 pm

    Jon just think of all the free eggs in the morning? =) Aaannnd, all the harvesting/reproduction of chickens there would be? “Armstrong Chicken Farms”! =D

  • theotherlion

    2010/05/19 at 7:14 pm

    Chickens STINK, Heather. Literally, STINK. The stank is so damned stanky. You do not want that in your backyard. No. Team Armstrong.

  • Missives From Suburbia

    2010/05/19 at 7:28 pm

    We have a children’s bookstore here in Minneapolis that has live chickens wandering around. Chickens. Wandering. Clucking. Pecking. Pooping.

    Admittedly, it’s good fun to watch preschoolers chase chickens around a store, but I don’t allow my offspring to touch anything that might have hit the carpeting (CARPETING!) where the white meat has trod.

    The store has cats, too. I don’t really understand why the cats have lost interest in the chickens. Kitty Prozac? We won’t discuss the ferrets. Or the doves. Or the hamsters. Or… suffice to say it’s a menagerie, and they all make poop.

    I’m with Jon. I don’t care if my vote counts.

  • AmberE

    2010/05/19 at 9:11 pm


    I live in an urban area with two old dogs, less than one mile from downtown Houston. Two years ago, I got two Rhode Island Red juvenile chickens, and I’m so glad I did.

    They each have their own personality, trained (with treats, like a dog) to come when to me when called, will sit in my lab, and are easy, low maintenance pets. I would recommend getting young or baby chickens so they will be tame and friendly.

    During the day they stay in a fenced-in area along the side of the house; at night they are locked in a large dog kennel outside; and during the weekends I hang out with them in the yard and they free range. Watching them is relaxing.

    Hens are very quiet, will eat leftover fruit/veg scraps, and great entertainment for kids. My neighbors love them.

    I really hope Jon changes his mind. If it would help, I have photos of the chickens on flickr, pm me for the link.

  • sonjabean

    2010/05/19 at 7:40 pm

    Oh, I am so jealous! I wish we could have chickens in our backyard, but the city of Philadelphia forbids it, those bastards! I’m not sure what my partner would really say about us having chickens. She’s been quite noncommittal in her comments, I think because the city laws have already made our choice for us.

  • amandalk

    2010/05/19 at 7:48 pm

    This reminds me…My Mom decided she wanted ducks when I was growing up. Ducks that just aimlessly wandered around our farm. A neighbor told her that if she kept them in a shed for X amount of time, that when she let them out of the shed, they’d just magically stay. After X amount of time my Mother let those ducks out of the shed and…they flew away never to be seen from again. Priceless!

  • farmreport

    2010/05/19 at 8:42 pm

    Hooray for chickens!

    (Although I will admit I have a pair of clogs somewhere in my closet, too.)

    A month ago we got five chicks, and have fallen head over heels. If you need more convincing, I can send you the photos where our seven-year-old has them all tucked into doll beds and they’re happily snoozing away, which is essentially a vortex of cute. And has the potential to allow Chuck to retire.


  • Hnreading

    2010/05/19 at 8:44 pm

    I want chickens too. I have named my future chickens and I have all these grand plans. I email people (ok, my husband) pictures of my friends’ chickens and go “One day I’ll have these too”.
    And my husband just shakes his head and thanks God that we aren’t zoned to have chickens in our current neighborhood.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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