Friday, March 9, 2012

Hell freezes; chickens have won!

If you travel by my house this weekend, look for a white flag flying, emblazened with images of barnyard fowl.

I have lost my battle...to the chickens.

The chickens won't be there, however.

They won't make an appearance until the first week of May when we pick them up at Knight's Farm Supply in Augusta.

And even when they do appear, they won't be living at my house, but rather up the road at the home of my wife's co-conspirator Jody Mertzel, who helped "hatch" the plan of raising chickens.

So that's a moral victory, I guess.

Still, I was the one who ventured to Knight's earlier this week and wrote a check to purchase 15 broilers from the kind woman behind the counter who listened sympathetically as I explained my situation.

I told her how my wife had seen her pastel-colored ad in the newspaper, urging readers to "buy your spring chickens" with a nice image of a tiny little fluffy chick.

How she immediately called Jody to determine the number of chicks they would buy.

How Jody's boyfriend Jason was adapting a section of their barn for their poultry.

I was just the errand boy, I said. My wife and her crony would be the chicken farmers. It was their adventure...with possible help from the children.

"So you're just here to write the check, then?" she asked, trying to contain a smile.

"Pretty much," I replied solemnly.

I told her I'd return in a few weeks, with another check, to cover the cost of feed, medicine and assorted chicken-related accessories and gadgets.

And I left the store confused, trying to recall just when my wife started having visions of homesteading.

Speaking of the broilers, I believe they may be "broilers" in theory only. I'm not convinced that one drumstick will ever find its way onto my dinner plate.

My 11-year-old daughter Grace, sage that she is, sensed my dismay. She informed the family that the chickens could not be named.

"If you name them, then we can't eat them," she said.

The rest of the family nodded in agreement...but I don't trust them.

I foresee what will happen when the fluffy little peeping things are ready for pickup:
  • "Oh, look at them...they're so cute!"
  • "I like the one with the feathers sticking up. Can that one be mine?"
  • "I call this one. See how it's staying right in my hand. I think I'll name him Max."
And it'll be all downhill from there.
  • We'll spend money on feed and medication for the birds..."so they'll be healthy when we take them to the butcher."
  • Missy, Jody and the kids will fatten the fowl during the summer and early fall.
  • The "day of reckoning" will come.
And we'll have 15 new pets to share with the Mertzels.

Of course, I can still dream... of roast chicken, chicken enchiladas or possibly a hearty chicken soup.

But the reality is - come September - the only bird I'll be eating is "crow."

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