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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Call me a Chicken

Confession.  For the most part, if it isn’t human and it moves, I’m scared of it.  Even our cat, who left us for the great litter box in the sky last March, exploited this cowardice.  For ten years she dove, claws extended, for my legs.  When I sat, she aimed for my neck.  “She’s fresh,” the vet said.  You think?  After our Winkie succumbed to kitty diabetes last March, I vowed I’d never own another pet.

Consider that, as I tell you that over the weekend, I interviewed a woman who raises backyard chickens, leaving with a dozen fresh eggs on the seat beside me and a smile stretched across my face. 
I always say yes when an editor reaches out to me, even though most times, I hiccup and think, but I don’t know anything about…fill in the blank.  This time—the topic was chickens.  The story is about a garden designer who purchased her first chicks for the sh—ah, fertilizer, and fell in love with the birds.

It’s the latest feature article I’ll get credit for writing, though in truth this one wrote itself.  How could it not, when a woman wearing a chicken T-shirt and a rooster belt-buckle, serves me warm-from-the-oven cookies, baked with fresh eggs?  Or when she describes riding around town on her bike, delivering eggs from a basket over her handlebars?  Or on witnessing her crow of delight when she discovers her favorite six-year-old hen has produced its first sage-green egg in two months, in time for me to hold it—warm. 
Her “girls” became creatures with personality.  Petunia, of the green egg, who comes when she is called, and follows her mistress around the yard.  Another, who’s name I forget, who gets “broody” and sits on her eggs for days, unaware interaction with a rooster is required if she's going to hatch them.  For the first time in my life, I stroked a chicken’s soft feathers, admiring Buff Orpintons, a Speckled Succex, and Brahmas with fluffy, feathered legs.

Interview over, I made omelets for my daughter and me for lunch, both of us stunned by the mouth feel of hours-old eggs—a creamy richness that spoiled me for supermarket eggs in one go.  All afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about everything chicken, sitting down to pound out the story with the joy that comes from writing about someone who communicates passion.
After a fried egg sandwich Sunday morning, I even spent a minute or two daydreaming about whether it might ever be possible for me to cope with a coop.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, hopefully the chickens don't have it out for you like the cat did!

mshatch said...

I always get my eggs from my brother who raises chickens - happy eggs are better eggs :)

And I'd love to have a few chickens!

Robin said...

It is funny that you write about this topic. We recently heard on the news that our city was giving out so many licenses for people to raise chickens in their back yard. I thought to myself, "I would love to have chickens."

Last year I tried my hand for the first time at a vegetable garden. It was a miserable failure. I didn't know nearly enough to do anything right. This year, I am hoping for better... and chicken fertilizer would be great.

I have also eaten fresh eggs and they just can't be beaten. So, I was thrilled by the idea of raising chickens.

We have a terrier who is a huntress. So, the reality is that she would probably kill our chickens and we would have no eggs or fertilizer. Just headless chickens to dispose of... eeks. And that ended that fantasy.

As for you... I hope you do endeavor to try it one day. The healthier the food we put into our bodies... the healthier we are!

glnroz said...

Awwwhh,, fresh eggs,, and all that goes with it.. "The Boss" and I have been arguing (friendly) for years, over me getting some chickens.. We already have the barn)coop) and she would only have to tend to them a couple times a day..I don't understand her objections.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I grew up on a farm and we had fresh eggs all the time. But I find birds of any kind a bit creepy. They have evil eyes.

Anonymous said...

Fun story, thanks for sharing your chicken adventure with us, and nice to meet you!

Bish Denham said...

Nothing like fresh eggs, but for me chickens are kind of messy and roosters are noisy.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Backyard coops seem to be all the rage now. My grandfather used to have a poultry farm years ago, and it was a lot of work, but a small brood wouldn't be too bad. And you're right about how good fresh eggs are. (Hard boiled ones can't be beat!)

Anonymous said...

This post made me want to go out and get some chickens! I love fresh eggs and grew up with eggs from a farmer and milk straight from the cow--mom and dad always found a farmer willing to sell to "city folk".

Kittie Howard said...

Great post! Those chickens turned into little personalities fun to meet. Hmm, a little chicken coop? Be warned, it's tons of work . . . and messy . . . my grandmother had one. Perhaps you could buy eggs from that lady? Lots easier!!!