Summer days lead to day dreams | Roundabout

I was deep in the humorous mires of “Cold Comfort Farm,” when my 11-year-old came in.

Another summer morning, nowhere we needed to be. I went upstairs to get dressed. My bed was still unmade, my current novel sitting on the bedside table.  I crawled back under the covers, and read.

I was deep in the humorous mires of “Cold Comfort Farm,” when my 11-year-old came in.

“How much is chicken feed?” Jacob asked. “In Iceland.”

I lowered my book, and looked across the expanse of my bedspread to Jacob, standing expectantly at the end of my bed.


“Well,” he said, “we could move there, and have a chicken farm. Iceland is warmer than Greenland, if you’re worrying about how cold it will be.”

“I think it’s still pretty cold.”

“How much do you think it would be?”


“Chicken feed. In Iceland.”

“I’m not sure. Depends on how big the bag is, I suppose.”

“How about … 5 pounds.”

“Okay. Maybe 50 cents.”

What do I know about chicken feed?

He smiled, pleased.

“But the farm itself will cost more,” I said, lest he get it firmly into his head that we are moving to Iceland.

“Don’t worry about paying for chickens,” he said, waving his arms reassuringly. “Once we get there, I have a plan. I’ll borrow a chicken from a neighbor.  When it lays eggs, we’ll have chicks. Then I can return the neighbor’s chicken. Won’t cost us a thing.”

He smiled. He was still in his pajamas, too, and I noticed he was growing out of them.

“How will we get there?” I asked.

“We’ll take an airplane.  How much are tickets to Iceland?”

“I don’t know.”

“What would you guess?”

“I really don’t – ”

“Just guess.”

“A thousand dollars.”

“For the whole family?”

“For each person.”

Suddenly, relocating to a chicken farm in Iceland didn’t sound so simple.

“We’re going to have to earn some money for plane tickets,” he said.

“I suppose we would need to do that.”

“We need something to sell.”

He started looking around my room. I intervened before something caught his eye.

“Come on,” I said, putting down my book and throwing off the covers.  “Let’s get breakfast.”

How many more years do I have of Jacob dreaming up Icelandic chicken farms, and other such adventures?  Not many, I’d guess.

Later that day, he went out into the yard to scout out money-making resources. He found two things:  a rock with a green tint (when you squint), which he assured us is a raw emerald; and a bumpy stick that made a nice wand, aka Harry Potter. He is 11, after all, and as every Harry Potter fan knows, 11 is the age for wands. The wand didn’t help him get closer to his chicken farm, but he did point it at the gray, cloudy sky, and command, “Scattify!” This, he told me, was meant to generate rain, which the sky obligingly produced later that night.

The value of the greenish rock is still under discussion.

Back to our lazy morning.  When we had finally had our breakfasts, I returned upstairs for the second time to get dressed. There was my bed, still unmade, and my book.

I love summer.

— Contact Denise Roundy at