LAKE PLACID — The chickens at the Friedlander residence are more than just pets to 12-year-old Addie — they’re her passion.
Addie said she remembers the exact moment she fell in love with her feathered friends; it happened while doing her barn chores at North Country School in Lake Placid.
Assigned to chicken duty for her second barn chore, in September 2010, Addie became fascinated with the animals. The students go into the barn and bring the chickens out of the boxes very carefully so they can get some exercise and eat.
“Sometimes the chickens are still in the nesting box keeping the eggs warm,” Addie said. “I got to take one out, and the feathers were really soft. I was in love.”
Every two weeks, students at the boarding school rotate assigned jobs such as composting; tending to the farm’s horses, pigs, sheep and goats; and raking leaves to help take care of the facilities.
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
Addie said the hands-on approach gives them a lot of experience to learn about the environment and sustainability.
After falling in love with the birds, Addie wrote her mom, Trish Friedlander, a persuasive essay, pleading for chickens to call her own.
“I said absolutely not,” Trish said. “(But) Addie kept coming home with information” and proved that it could be real “and it wouldn’t be that difficult.”
Addie persisted for months, Trish said, until she finally caved and told her daughter she could have chickens. One need remained, however: a coop.
With help from Nip Rogers, a local friend and artist in the area, Addie and her mother began brainstorming plans to build a coop in the spring.
Using mostly recycled materials from the dump and leftover shingles from a roofing job that Rogers’ brother had recently finished, they all worked together to build the colorful coop for Addie’s chickens. But a few months later, they would find a small mistake in the construction plans.