We have four “urban” chickens who, every spring and summer, lay more eggs than we can possibly eat without a steady diet of omelettes and French toast.

One of their passions (and chickens have few passions besides eating and henpecking each other), is dust bathing. My husband built the chickens a pretty nice chicken run where they have access to dirt to scratch for bugs and dust bathe in luxury.

As of this writing, the chickens have bathed so deeply into the run that when they lie down and flap their wings, you only see the drift of dust passing overhead.

At first, they dug up an inexplicable layer of lava rock. Then today I noticed that they’ve dug up two toy cars and what looks like a part of a Nerf dart. Also, a lonesome domino turned up in the dead grass just outside the run all on its own.

I know that the people who lived here before us were childless, but the house is sixty years old and has seen a lot of owners and I wonder who it was that lost an ambulance and a green sedan in the dirt out back under the cyprus trees and I wonder whether those items were ever missed, the way I miss the small treasures I lost as a child.

I’m looking forward to the chickens digging yet deeper, The Great Escape style, and seeing what else they find (besides a way out again).