Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The chickens have flown the coop, here at The F.A.R.M. And it’s about time!
We’ve had a flock of Buff Orpington laying hens for a couple of years, along with two roosters named Bert and Fred. Too late, we discovered that Orps rate low on the scale of good egg producers, despite having done homework prior to purchasing the little chicks. I guess I’d paid more attention to their cold-weather hardiness than their egg producing abilities when I made my decision to purchase the young flock. Lately, we’d been lucky to get three eggs a day. And so…it was time for the darlings to enter the next phase of our farming operation. They were headed for the freezer this coming Saturday.
Now, I like to think of myself as a sound businesswoman and a practical farmer. But that’s just how I like to THINK of myself! In reality, when push comes to shove... I’m the pushover.
Instead of slaughtering them, instead of selling them…I gave the biddies away.
The whys and where-fors of the situation are moot, at this point. Suffice it to say that it involved a kindly, big-hearted, elderly lady…and a tough, bone-headed, middle-aged woman who had a meeting of the minds and souls. Who needs Fred fricassee, anyway, when rice all by itself is perfectly palatable?
If a little bland…
I hope Fred realizes how lucky he is, because I really hated that bird. That homely, beady-eyed rooster with the obvious comb-over was constantly riding my ass. And I mean that literally. Every time I turned my back on the fowl creature, he was raking his spurs down the backs of my thighs. But he’d never attack me head-on! Oh, no! He’d wait until my defenses were down and my attention was elsewhere before he’d dare to strike. Chicken!
Still…I’ve got to admit that I’m pleased as punch that the boys and their seventeen much-put-upon ladies are now comfortably ensconced with twenty-one other chickens, a crow, a robin, some geese, a few ducks and seven parakeets. Their lives have been spared, and really…it’s no skin off my back! Or my thighs…
I did have to take a little bit of grief due to my economically unsound decision. One friend had the nerve to say I was going ‘soft’. Naturally, them’s fighting words to a gristly old girl such as myself. There’s nothing soft about me! Except for my stomach, maybe. And my thighs. And perhaps…my butt. Sigh…
All in all, though, I’m tough as old leather!
Mr. Grumbles was also less than enthused by my spontaneous bout of generosity. How could I tell, you ask? Well. It started with a folding of his arms across his chest. From there, his exasperation travelled northward, to his mouth, where the corners skewed themselves downward as his chicken lips pursed. Upwards the irritation moved, until his eyes began rolling in their sockets. He must have been especially annoyed, for I witnessed a rare phenomenon. Mr. Grumbles’ left eyed rolled counter-clockwise, while his right eye revolved in the opposite direction. And like the power of the coriolis effect, there was no changing directions mid-rotation.
I’ve gotta tell you…it was rather creepy.
As I stood there staring, wondering what awesome display of pique his hair would display, my husband spoke. He uttered five short words, but they cut me to the chick.
‘I KNEW you’d do that!’
Well, now… that was just a lie! There’s NO WAY he could have known that I would have had a plucking party planned one moment, and a rooster rescue instigated, the next. No way! And I said so!
He shook his head in exasperation (which made me rather nauseous, what with his eyes doing all those whirls and whorls right in front of me. Ghastly!)
‘Oh,’ he said, as I battled the effects of vertigo, ‘I didn’t know WHO you’d give them to. And I didn’t know WHEN you’d change your mind about slaughtering them. But I KNEW you’d pullet off, somehow. But to GIVE them away??? At least you could have asked for some small, measly, poultry little fee!’ He shook his head again, his expression resigned. ‘Did you give her the mash, the grit, the oyster shells, too?’
What an eggsellent idea! I hadn’t, of course. I’d gone off half-cocked, all in a rush to deliver the flocking things! But I will. Just as soon as Mr. Grumbles’ feathers aren’t ruffled anymore, I’ll run those supplies up the road to the Orps’ new home. But I’ll do it grudgingly, of course.
Because, after all--I’m a tough old bird.
The above photo is of Fred Fricassee and some of his biddies. The pic was taken by Josie-Earl Pease. Because, you see...I was too scared of him to get that close.