Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why I Have A Bunch Of Chickens In My Backyard, by Pappa Rooster

(Guest post today by my own Sweet Hubby, Pappa Rooster)

A friend of ours asked me why in the world a modern person would choose of his own volition to have a bunch of chickens live in his yard. I told him that it was a subject that he would not understand, as he was born in Miami. I further pointed out that, as he has spent his entire working life in a public relations firm here in Birmingham, the honest life of a rural person will always elude him.

As he told me, it is his job to take a truth and bend, stretch, and mutilate it until it serves his purpose. Then he takes that truth and varnishes it, and then he packages it in a container that is much more attractive than the original. As he said, by the time the truth hits the consumer, it no longer represents the original truth, but since it is still loosely based on truth, in this accursed post modern world, it can still be considered the truth. He also has considerable beachfront property in Central Nebraska if anyone is interested.

But I digress; I do have 21 chickens as many of you gentle readers know. They are a hobby. We sell a few eggs to friends who want them. But eggs are dang cheep so we won’t be getting rich selling eggs. I like the idea of my kids knowing about some aspect of country life, their grandkids will not have that opportunity. I like to hear the roosters crow first thing in the morning. Farm and country life is going the way of a firm handshake with eye contact, and real sugar in your tea.

Working a small farm is a religious experience; you spend lots of time working by yourself out under the sun in repetitious activities. Lots of hymns get sung when I am tilling the soil. (Sorry if you’re a neighbor)

I also plan to raise Quail. I want my kids to know the call of bobwhite in the evening. I may even raise goats or maybe a cow or two. There is something very humbling about seeing farm animals brought into the world. And there is something profoundly good for the soul about having to clean manure off of your shoes and feed those animals

When I was a kid Dad got up at the crack of dawn every morning to milk our sweet old cow Big Sister. I remember going up there with him and watching him squirt milk in the cat’s mouths. I remember the smell of Big Sister and the feel of her hair under my hands. I remember the sound of Big Sister chewing her feed and the sound of the milk streaming rhythmically into the bucket. I remember sitting on my Daddy’s milk stool trying to milk and failing.

I vividly remember hearing the rooster crow, and asking crazy questions as to how grass turns to milk. I remember the beauty of the crack of dawn, and the spider webs shimmering coat of dew in the pasture on the crisp fall morning. I remember my Father in his rubber boots, lifting me over the muck into the milk stall, the same milk stall that I had to tear down last winter before it collapsed and hurt someone.

I remember Momma churning the milk, and making butter and the smell and taste of fresh butter and a glass of real milk. I remember Momma putting money in the “butter and egg” jar. Some days those memories warm me, halcyon days of youth,,,,,,.

The barn is gone and the fence that enclosed our pasture is but a bit of memory in my mind. I crave to rebuild them both and in some way rebuild a simpler time when life made sense, and happiness abounded, and no one tried to convince me that truth is relative. I have started the rebuild, and would have finished already, but time and money have once again conspired against me. I will get it done one day.

That is why I have a bunch of chickens in my backyard.

But no pigs……I hate pigs.


  1. Pappa Rooster,
    I enjoyed your post. We all laughed out loud. I hope you all get to see your dream of re-building come true!

  2. WOW! Pappa Hen, you are a great writer--was that your major at UM?
    I am surprised you only had 1 comment so far.
    We did quails when we lived in a more rural area. Well, my husband and kids did the quails.....I do not touch animals. I would love to live out in the country, but just to get the privacy. My kids and hubby would do some farming though--I'm sure.