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Eat This November 19, 2012

Posted by J. in Domesticity.
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You may have noticed, though probably not, that I missed a Reader’s Choice Monday. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger with crabs trying to get ready for the Christmas at Clough Tavern Farm sale/show/shop, and really didn’t have the time to sit down and bash out anything intelligent about chickens. I still don’t, really. Have the time, that is. My special orders list is still pretty freaking long, and I’m working on a new story that’s giving me fifty fits.

First world problems, people.

But I do have a kind of funny chicken story. It’s actually about roosters.

My aunt Elaine lived next door to me all my life (until she died, that is) and she got it in her head to raise chickens. She occasionally got the odd notion like that. She always wanted a goat, but that dream never came to be. But the chickens came to stay for years and I still miss the eggs. Man, there is just NOTHING like eating an egg the same day that it shot out of a chicken’s ass. Big, high, orange yolks–none of those flat, pale yellow things you get at the grocery store.

Anyway, she had just a little coop beside the barn, and I don’t think she ever had more than a dozen chickens at any given time. I loved the eggs, and while the throaty screech–to call it a “crow” is a misnomer of epic proportions–of the rooster was jarring at first, in time I barely even heard it anymore. It was part of the every day sounds of life. Sort of how when you live in the city you get used to the noises you hear incessantly, like horns and sirens, car engines, tires squealing. It’s like that with the cheerful clucking and squawking of hens and the unholy grunt-howling of roosters.

She’d had them for awhile, and I believe at the time this story takes place she had two roosters in residence. Our neighbor used to deliver bread for a living and would leave for work at 3:30 every morning, which to normal people is the middle of the night. He’d leave the driveway with his lights off and not turn them on until he was off the street so they wouldn’t wake the rooster up.

Oh, and roosters don’t strangle-cry at dawn. Oh no. They do it any old damn time they’re moved to. Middle of the night. Noon. Whatever. Whenever. Roosters are the honey badgers of the poultry world–they do not give a shit.

So one day my aunt gets a knock at the door and there’s a cop standing there.

I should also point out that the Lyman’s have a farm just the other side of the rectory. They keep geese, ducks, and chickens, and have been known to have cows as well. It’s not at all unusual for the Belmont Police to deal with calls like “Mrs. Lyman’s geese are terrorizing Main Street like some sort of Old MacDonald’s version of the Crips.” I myself have called and let them know that there was a cow on my lawn.

“A cow?”

“Yes, a cow.”

“Is it your cow?”

“Would I be calling you if it was my cow?”

“Is it one of Mrs. Lyman’s?”

“I’m not sure. She didn’t say. She just mooed.”

“I’ll call the sheriff’s department.”

“Okey dokey.”

In fact, they usually called Fr. Albert, who would put on his Wellies and grab a bucket and hit it with a stick, saying “Come on girls, time to eat,” and they’d placidly follow him back to their own yard.

Anyway, this day the young officer is sent to Aunt Elaine’s house to investigate a complaint. It seems, and I quote, “One of the neighbors has been complaining about your rooster.”

“Oh,” says Aunt Elaine. “What’s the complaint?”

“The neighbor says that the rooster crows really early in the morning.”

Aunt Elaine, completely unruffled, says, “Well, isn’t that what roosters do?”

She said the officer stood there and looked at her for a second, then smiled. “Yes, yes that is what they do. You’re right.”

She went on to explain that we are zoned for chickens, she’s not breaking any laws, and really, there’s not much she was inclined to do about it. She toyed with the idea of getting rid of one of the roosters but then decided, well…fuck you, neighbor. Aunt Elaine had a bit of the honey badger in her, too.

And we never did find out who had the beef with her chickens.

 

 

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