Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Initiation into the Hobby Farm Life

I grew up in the suburbs, but my grandparents lived on a real farm about an hour from me. They had chickens and cows and grew their food and I loved going there. We went about every other weekend it seems, and during the summer we would go and stay a week or two at a time. Even when I was in college I would sometimes leave school on Friday afternoon and go spend the night with them. It was the most wonderful place for a child to be. I had two grandparents who thought I was the cat's meow and two great-grandparents who lived within walking distance down the road. My grandmother could cook like nobody's business and there were always yummy things to eat at her house. We could sit and watch TV all day long and no one said a word. My grandmother loved her some General Hospital and she would let us watch it with her, something my mother never would let us do at home. I learned all I needed to know about Luke and Laura at my grandmother's house. We could stay up as late as we wanted and pretty much if we asked for it we got it. Sheer bliss for the grandkids.

There was one rule though: STAY AWAY FROM THE ANIMALS! I realize now this rule was put into place to protect the ANIMALS, but at the time we thought it was to protect us. You see, according to my grandaddy if you looked at a chicken the wrong way it would peck your eyes out. And, if you even got near a cow she would stomp on you and kill you. I being the firstborn had to do everything by the rules (to keep my standing as the only grandchild who never got spanked ~ I'll tell that story sometime Jill!) and there was no way I was going near those animals. Also, my grandmother and mother hated the chickens so I just thought it was best to stay away from them altogether.

Well, fast forward many years and we moved to our little house and begin to turn it into a hobby farm. Mark quickly built the Hotel Marriott of chicken houses and coops and by July we have our first new chickens. Oh, when they are first hatched they are the smallest, fluffiest things ever. I took such good care of those chicks. All 25 of them. I could not believe that at one time I was ever scared of chickens. Usually when you get a batch of 25 you can expect 2 to 3 of them to die. Well, Mark and I prided ourselves in the fact that all 25 of them lived. Including 3 roosters. You see, you don't know they are roosters until they are much older. Our kids loved those chickens and by that time we thought it would be hard to get rid of the other two roosters. So eventually we moved all 25 of them to the big coop. They grew and were beautiful chickens and we were so excited the day we got our first egg.

We soon learned though that, for a variety of reasons, there should only be one rooster to one flock of chickens. Big Daddy Roosters don't like other roosters around their harem. Those three roosters would fight and they got meaner and meaner. And then they got meaner to us and did not want us to come in and get the eggs. They would patrol in front of the nests to try to stop us from getting the eggs. Usually I would timidly just try to push them out of the way with my leg or make a lot of noise and they would leave.

Well, one day they decided to stake their claim. Abbie and I went to get the eggs with my sweet little egg basket Mark had gotten me. I went in shooing and kicking the roosters away. I started to reach over to get the eggs and both roosters started flying at me and I will just tell you with no shame that I went hysterical. All I could hear was my grandaddy saying over and over the chickens would peck my eyes out. I started yelling, "Run Abbie, Run!!" She took off running and I was right behind her. I didn't even stop to close the coop door so those two roosters ran right after us. Abbie had just turned four and she was not very fast. I was yelling for her to run to the house and everyone once in awhile I would turn around and kick at them or swing my egg basket at them. Abbie was screaming like a mad woman. We made it to the back porch and those roosters actually followed us onto the porch. After we got inside and shut the door they stood by the porch and walked back and forth daring us to come out. They could dare all day long, but I wasn't coming out. All the other chickens began to get out because the door was open, but there was no way I was going out there. I called Mark and told him and he laughed and laughed. At the time I DID not think it was funny.

And guess which two suddenly disappeared from the flock the next weekend?

When I told Rebekah this story she also laughed and laughed and for my next birthday she gave me this beautiful bag with a rooster on it. Attached was this poem:

For a friend who is a true'ster

Here is a bag with your favorite rooster!

I know I gave you one last year;

But pretend I didn't and be a dear!

You can use it for a purse,

Or you can use it for a sack!

But, if you use it for you eggs,

Try not to get attacked!

A chicken update: I am no longer scared of the chickens and I'm still pretty sure they are not going to peck my eyes out!


  1. OK, crack me up! I don't remember that story. I also don't remember Grandmother letting us watch General Hospital. BUT I DO remember being scared of the cows AND the chickens AND I still am today!

  2. I am laughing all over again! Now what is really wierd is that I thought of this the other night! If they bother you again just swing that rooster cutting board. :-)

    This confirms my thinking that our first flock may be all GIRLS!!!

  3. Mark might have laughed at you, but I remember when we were kids and Mom and Dad would send us up to collect eggs from our tiny little Bantam hens we would both cry and beg not to. We weren't scared of chickens - in fact, we had a pet rooster named Fred that we carried around everywhere. We were afraid because they would peck your hands when you reached into the nests for the eggs. I remember trying to wear Dad's thick, long, leather welding gloves, but of course a kid with small hands like mine couldn't grasp an egg with their hands in those things.
    Don't blame you at all. Besides, our Nana was chased up onto the porch and into the house by some other fowl (ducks or geese - I can't remember).

  4. NO one can fry chicken like my Mama could and I am so glad my children experienced life with Marvis and Pearline,my parents. It doesn't get any better than that. All children and grandchildren should be loved like we were.

  5. Great story! LOL! Now, I have to dare you to see what I ran away from yesterday! You have to read it on today's blog post!

  6. hee hee! That is so funny! Roosters can be mean.
    Glad you are feeling better!