Chickens! And MOAR Chickens!

While we are waiting for more info from the Vietnam Summit and kibitzing about the Cohen testimony, I thought it might be a good time for a distraction…. and a story.
This is a story about two worlds with my feet in both worlds, and being humbled by those who are the very best of Americans = Dogs, self-sufficient country women, and incredibly gracious and masculine men.
Settle in, rest your computer fingers, and unwind with me. Today, we need it. Here we go.
I’ll admit it, I succumbed to the siren song of the big city. I was a suburban girl, and I took my shot at the big league. Manhattan and Miami were a 24/7 blur of activity. As a kid, my parents had a few uber wealthy friends, but the first week I was in Miami, I was on Trump’s yacht and Rod Stewart was performing. Life was good. I worked hard, moved up, made partner, and moved into a penthouse with all the trappings of what I THOUGHT was success. I’ll admit, I like little private planes, cigarette boats and sailing ‘vessels’, fast cars, good restaurants. Good Lord, I even collected wine.
When I cashed out to go to law school, I ended up moving to a small rural town where my grandmother lived. I fell in love with a local (but that’s another story), and bought a B&B instead of becoming a lawyer. Best decision I ever made. Yet, rural life was a constantly humbling experience. In the city, I could control my world but in the country, skill is required to respond to events. I lacked that skill. I was ignorant and devoid of self-sufficiency, traits strongly admired by my neighbors. I was amazed by other women, my same age, who seemed to possess a mental encyclopedia of information on how to fix ANYTHING. They had tips and tricks at their fingertips.
I recall being in a neighbor lady’s kitchen, Sarah, in the first few weeks after moving home. She was a friend of my grandmother, late 60’s, and I had known her all my life. Her son is a federal judge, now, but as kids we played together, naked, in a plastic blue pool. That day, Sarah was processing, “putting up”, 300lbs of plums for jam/jelly, and she needed help. Grandma sent me to help. Me, the ignorant one.
Sarah took in babysitting, and almost the entire day, she had a baby on her hip, organized smaller children, her own grandchildren, answered phones, made lunch, boiled/cut/processed 300lbs of plums……, which looked like fine jewelry by the time she was done. She had a glow around her like she was an angel, completely unphased by the bedlam around her. She could have easily done battle with any dictator I knew, and she would have prevailed. She had powers I didn’t understand. That day, I wisely surrendered, admitted defeat, and knew I had a lot to learn about country life. I took the ‘crash’ course.
A few years later, married, with the B&B renovated, my girlfriends and I were sitting on the side porch. We returned home from a local fair and were surveying our purchased treasures. We were talking about an upcoming birthday, the decorations, and cake. One girlfriend asked me if I used fresh eggs for my cakes – because all county women, who are self-sufficient, know that fresh eggs make a cake rise higher and taste better. Immediately accessing my new mental encyclopedia, I acknowledged fresh eggs were, indeed, better, but because I went through so many eggs on a weekly basis, I hadn’t yet “sourced” my fresh eggs. The girls got kind of quiet and looked at me in a funny way.
Twisting their eyebrows, like only close friends do, she said, “What do you mean you don’t use fresh eggs?” and “What the hell, Daughn, …. SOURCED?”.  My vocabulary was still a little bit urban and it slipped out every now and again. One girlfriend, giggled and scrambled down the side porch steps. She cocked her hip for added drama and pointed to the 28 box, dark green, chicken coop, which had been in my backyard for 100 years and said, “What are you doing, Daughn?” I responded and tried to change subjects, “Yeah, yeah, I know…. I’ll work on it”. One girlfriend elbowed the other and whispered. We moved on….
A few weeks later, another friend of a friend knocked on the side door with a “present” for me. It was 6 baby hens and one baby rooster in a cardboard box. I gushed all over the babies, they were so darling. I had only seen baby hens in movies, and I finally got to hold one. I had no idea what was to come. Like a gazelle, my friend hopped up into the back of her pick-up and said, “Didn’t know if you had any fresh hay, so I brought you a couple bales.” She cast them over the side, effortlessly, onto my driveway. She was a strong woman worthy of a title, “Queen of the Country”. I glanced at the hay, perplexed for a moment and thought, “Hay….., it’s dusty……, what’s the hay for……, oh yeah, chickens need a nest……., okay……., I can do this.”
She picked up on my confusion and sat down with me on the bottom step to talk to me…., like I was the unexpectant virginal bride on a wedding night. I asked about eggs and she laughed, “No, they won’t produce until they’re about 6 months old – they’re just babies now.” My brain was screaming, “Six months!!!!!”, but I tried to appear grateful. I asked what to feed them and how to care for them. “You’ll love it” she said, before she departed. She popped her horn a few times and waved goodbye. There I sat, all alone, with my baby chicks.
Over the several days, I tore apart the old chicken coop. Our house was abandoned for 23yrs when we bought it, and I imagined chickens had not lived here for at least 50 years. I did battle with spiders and a salamander. The dust was incredible. Yet, I had a veritable PALACE of chicken coops. It even had a small wooden picket back door so the chickens could go into their “yard”, shaded by a 100yr old pecan tree. It also meant I had to build a little fence. “Ahhhh, that’s why they call it chicken wire”, I thought. My self-sufficient girlfriend shook her head at my naivety.
My first husband laughed but relished my efforts. He ran electric for me and within 24 hours, I had a sink for the garden side of the chicken coop (one side was hen boxes and one side was a garden shed). I built the fence (with help), cleared the brush growing in the chicken yard, swept the concrete floor, dug a ditch for drainage, planted flowers in front, and put up a hand painted sign. Other girlfriends painted pots for me – they could do ANYTHING. I learned so much. By the end of the weekend, I had a chicken coop worthy of Southern Living AND a brand new garden shed. It was beautiful and inviting.
I checked on my chickens several times a day. I named them, of course. My step-son and other kids in the neighborhood fed them. I let them out and they followed me as I dug new gardens, turning over worms and grubs, in the yard. My rooster was beautiful and yes, he crowed loudly at daybreak. Some guests asked if I had a ‘recording’ of a rooster and thought it was a charming effect. Spring melded into summer, then fall. My hens grew and grew until one day, I had an egg.
I called my girlfriends, and they all came to look at the egg. We could only remove it for a little while because it had to stay warm. A few of my girlfriends laughed at me, ready to cook the egg. My eyes went wide, “Murder!”, and “No”, I thought, along with the others, “We have a baby on the way.”
We had more baby chicks for Easter. Within the year, my coop was full and I was doubling up chickens in their boxes. A local farmer was taking my extras before I became a division of Tyson Foods. I still had not cooked one single egg. I couldn’t. I could eat other fresh eggs, but not from my own babies. I curbed my brood to my original 6 hens and rooster. They had become pets, and they bolstered my image as “country woman”.
Our backyard is pretty much enclosed by a brick walled garden, driveway, and the house. The yard extends to a larger field, out back, but the chickens didn’t wander out there and the Rooster herded the hens. I would let them out in the morning and they would peck around the back yard until about noon. The school kids would look out the windows and loved my chickens. The rooster was fairly cooperative until one day, a girlfriend from urban CT tried to ‘pet him’.
One spring day, the neighbor’s lab, Sally, got loose and nabbed my rooster. The scene was pure carnage but Sally had a great lunch that day. I returned Sally, across the street to my neighbor with feathers still in her mouth. BUT, by the weekend, Sally was hungry again, for MOAR chicken. Our neighbor has three full-grown labs.
We had a wedding that weekend. It was a beautiful affair, white wooden chairs set up in the brick garden, satin aisle runner, flowers dripping off the garden gate where the bride and groom would stand, flower beds immaculately groomed. Our staff set up pretty garden tables, and we had about 150 guests sipping various teas, waiting on the ceremony to begin. A violinist strolled through the garden….. idyllic.
Husband was in the den watching sports. I was upstairs with the women of the wedding party, helping the bride, maids, and moms finish dressing. I was in a room with a large bay window. A bridesmaid was bent over a bedroom chair with her butt up in the air, so I could cut the errant threads from her dress, when I saw the flash of a neon orange dog’s collar in the periphery of my vision – but I wasn’t sure. It couldn’t be, but it was.
Earlier and unknown to me, the wife of the CEO of my bank, decided to entertain the children who were in the wedding party. The kids heard some of my hens clucking in the chicken coop and they wanted to see what it was. The wife walked them over to the coop and opened the door to entertain the children. Inside the coop they went. Taking the cue from a prominent wife, other women entered my darling chicken coop as well. The kids were ‘petting’ my hens and all was well – when the three full grown labs arrived, storming the chicken coop.
The next ten minutes were sheer hell. I heard screaming downstairs – from outside. I thought about not going outside, but the screaming got louder. I flew down the stairs as the ladies of the wedding strained to see what was happening from the window. I met my husband at the back door who looked at me disapprovingly. Of course it was all my fault, whatever ‘it’ was. My husband went upstairs to corral the women while I opened the back door and paused to survey the scene.
It was chaos, and I arrived just in time to see three labs carrying off my live chickens, through the midst of my guests. Two of the dogs were proud of their kill and marched right down the satin aisle runner, shaking the chickens, spewing feathers left and right, until they escaped to the open field. People were swing their chairs at the dogs. Men tried to catch them but the labs wanted to play. I was focused on my sinking reputation and the disaster before me when the situation got worse.
One of the highlights: My staff guy, armed with a sterling silver punch ladle, swinging back and forth, chasing the dogs. My grandmother would have never imagined such a use for her punch ladle. I bit my lip.
Obviously, one dog was still in the chicken coop and there was still screaming emanating from the coop. My staff guys, and older men who were guests, were helping 5-6 women plus an equal number of children OUT of the chicken coop, through a very narrow door. One final chocolate lab emerged and squirmed away with my last hen, clenched in his teeth. The children were horrified and crying. The hens they were so gently petting moments before, had been captured and murdered before their eyes.
Lucy Ricardo would have been proud. Several of the women were wearing spring hats, pumps, and brand new linen dresses. Their updos were undone. They looked like they had been through a tornado. Their perfect spring dresses were splattered with dirt, feathers, hay, everything. The children, who were SUPPOSED to be flower girls and ring bearers, dressed in expensive white English linen, were completely destroyed. They looked like they had been rolling in the dirt, hay, and some….., with chicken blood.
The moms of the kids had other clothing, play clothing for the reception, with them. Thank heavens our self-sufficient country women plan in advance. I put them all in one room and they changed and cleaned up. At one point, there were three little kids, standing in a jacuzzi, with one mom hosing them down. Another woman was mending a skirt. Another woman was already soaking the linen outfits with hairspray and club soda to save the English linen. Again, self-suffiency, they all knew what to do. The older women, I placed in another bedroom and bath, mine, so they had access to cosmetics and hair products. The wife of the CEO was apologetic but it was an episode of Murphy’s Law, come to life. The older women, within 20 minutes, looked as if they just stepped from a Parisian salon – perfectly fluffed and they smelled good.
The staff guys and the men who were guests were FABULOUS. They calmed the women down and a small army swept up chicken remnants and feathers. My husband was upstairs and would NOT allow the women of the bridal party to leave their large dressing room until order had been restored.
Within 20 minutes, the violinist was strolling the garden once more, the punch ladle was STERILIZED, and we popped the champagne early. People laughed and giggled. The wedding was spectacular….. but the wedding photos were very interesting.
No MOAR chickens for me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Wolf Moon | Threat to Demonocracy

*monocle falls into soup bowl*

Wolf Moon | Threat to Demonocracy

Seriously – a great story! <3

para59r

Where’s the up button? 🐣

Nor'easter

Bravo, Daughn !!!
“An unforgettable wedding” 😉

Volgarian8301

You definitely need to write a book, or at least publish short stories.
This sounds like material that would be included in Chicken Soup for the Soul….
wait, what? 🤣
No pun intended

Cuppa Covfefe

Poultry in motion!!!

PeteC

I’m upset about the chickens!!! Could care less about the wedding! 😳😳

Gil

No more chickens but what kind of apology did that ceo wife make to everybody? Or maybe it didnt matter after the wedding still happened and the bubbly bubnled? 🤔

grandmaintexas

Ahahahaha!! Great story!!
I’m still in the process of becoming. But I do manage to eat our chicken eggs, though I have been known to nurse sick hens in my bedroom and cry when they croak.

Tonawanda

Wonderful!

Tonawanda

TY! BTW, it could be turned into a great movie, and your story read like a movie script (as well as a great story).

itswoot

One along those lines involving chickens was made back in 1947. It’s a romantic comedy along the lines of the TV series “Green Acres”. Also, the first movie Ma and Pa Kettle appeared in. I saw it back in the 1980s on VHS tapecomment image
Movie info:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039349/

Tonawanda

There you go!
Daughn’s story has a lot of interesting contrasts/situations which could make it very funny and also very touching on film.

itswoot

Pa looks nervous with that shovel so close at hand.comment image

Tonawanda

Definitely Claudette!

Gail Combs

OH MY!….
Yeah, neighborhood dogs with a taste for blood can be a real problem. But I have never had that combination…
(The darn jack donkey from across the street was serenading our Jenny all last night again and Hubby is complaining about the ‘visit’ from him and the three horses.)

Gail Combs

The neighbor came over on an ATV and ‘herded’ them back home this morning. TV??? we don’t need no TV!
Then there was the mini-jack who was trying to breed our standard Jenny who was running as fast as she could… Have you ever seen a six legged donkey gallop? Oh for a video camera.

redlegleader68

Wonderful writing / story telling, Daughn! So very proud of you.
Do your neighbors know that you’re really, truly Deplorable?? 🙂

Marica

Daughn!! Perfect Palate Cleanser for the DC Circus day today!! My have you been busy!! Live posting Cohen and still time to punch out this awesome chicken story. Guess what? I had chickens too!!! I will tell ya that story at some point!! But they were Martha Stewart Chickens that laid pink, green and blue eggs… Hugs and thanks for this adorable story!

Gail Combs

comment image
Breeds that lay colored eggs:
Araucanas, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers….

Gail Combs

Chickens can be fun. There are some really wonderful breeds out there. I like Silkies and Dominques for their sweet personalities.

Marica

Thank you Gail! My eggs weren’t quite so vivid!! But still pretty!!

sunnydaysall

I have 5 EasterEggers, 2 Araucanas and 2 Copper Marian hens (an EE roo)! I have the Bule and Gold Laced Polish hens(a white crested Polish roo) and Orpingtons to boot! I get blue, chocolate, olive green, green, pink, brown and white eggs! We are all set for Easter!! 🙂
I truly love this story! We lost almost half our chickens to our neighbor’s dogs and it really hit home for me but we are happy with our batch that is left! The saddest part for the chickens is that they can no longer let them “free range”. 🙁 We do have 4 free-ranging geese but the dogs are afraid of the gander!comment image

Molly Pitcher

Daughn , you’re a Steel Magnolia kind of gal! There’s a screenplay somewhere with your B&B tales.
Great story!

drillerelite

Another wonderful story, you really have a knack daughn ❤

Charlie

Hahahahaha! Labs read like they were sooooo happy with their trophies. What happen to the chicken coop?
You gotta have chickens, ducks et al and maybe a protector “the sheepdog”. Great story!

wheatietoo

Great story, Daughn!
Thanks for taking the time to write it out for us.
😀

wheatietoo

PS…
I had always thought that All Dogs went after birds and considered them prey.
But then…my big german shepherd had absolutely no interest in feathered creatures.
He even acted as ‘protector’ for our backyard birds who come to our feeders.
He would chase off the neighbors’ cats and bark at the hawks that came in to prey on our backyard birds.
Our songbirds and doves even started realizing that he meant them no harm…and would fly down peck the ground for bugs, right next to him!
He was around chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, on a few occasions…and showed no interest in them either.
Labradors have been bred to be ‘bird dogs’ though…I think.
I hope the owners of those Labs who invaded your chicken yard, at least apologized for the disaster that their dogs caused!

TakeBackOurRepublic

Another great story but in spite of the success of the wedding, I get left feeling angry. Coyotes kill chickens for prey but labs killed yours for play is just wrong. I’m furious with your neighbor’s dogs.

TakeBackOurRepublic

I’m betting that mean spirited woman wasn’t the least bit apologetic about what her dogs did to your chickens. We had one of those types in our neighborhood back when my kids were little and we had a 3 year old Scottish Terrier. She was an amazing dog and loved to follow them while they rode their bikes on the sidewalks. One unfortunate day the mean neighborhood lady, while on her cell phone, ran over and killed our dog while the kids were riding their bikes. She had the nerve to tell us it was our fault for her being illegally off leash. Spit. Mean spirited will eventually get what they deserve.

TakeBackOurRepublic

There are people that surprise us with unexpected acts of kindness. And there are the others. We learn life lessons from both. I hope you didn’t send a wedding gift….or if you did it was a cheap one (snicker)!

Cuppa Covfefe

Maybe send the pumpkin back as a wedding present? 😉

TakeBackOurRepublic

LMAO!

ladypenquin

I’m with you, Daughn, wouldn’t have been able to take the hens’ eggs, they were their babies.

Pat Frederick

I almost missed this thread–so glad I read your story! all your stories are great…and I agree–you should write a book–I’d buy it!

Steeny Lou

That was an interesting and well-written story. I can’t figure out what MOAR means, though. Is it an acronym for something?