Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Boys’ Club
Part 3 of 3
by C. Hope Clark
High Hope for the Freelance Writer
“Split them up,” I said as I listened to chicken bodies banging the side of the box. “Those roosters are stirring trouble again.”
Our brooder box had once seemed immense to our twenty chicks. Eight weeks later they could barely move, and five roosters had each decided he was the bird in charge. We hadn’t ordered the males, but the company had thrown them in as extra. Now we had two boxes of chickens in the garage.
Our neighbors owned small flocks, each with an established rooster. That left Martin, a local landscaper who had a 50-bird flock. He said he’d take the boys. But Martin’s chickens often went in the freezer.
“Let me think about it,” I told my husband.
“Most chickens go in a stew pot sooner or later, hon.”
I pulled out a large dog pen, bought another waterer, and moved the four largest guys to a new temporary home. The fifth, the runt of the guys, won the fifteen-hen harem. I figured he’d be less aggressive.
A month later, the main flock moved outside to the coop. My boys remained in the garage, the largest one greeting me each morning with a vigorous cock-a-doodle-doo. “When you want me to call Martin?” my husband asked. “Those birds are spreading dust everywhere.”
“Not yet,” I said as I hand-fed the rat-pack cracked corn. I scratched one under his wing as another vied for my attention, wanting his chest rubbed. “Maybe not ever,” I whispered as the beige one hopped on the open door of the cage, asking to be held. “Nobody turns my birds into dinner, do they, Boy?”
Four little heads cocked to the side in unison, knowing exactly what I meant.
The Chicken Trilogy
Part 3 of 3
by Cynthia Briggs
Read more about Cynthia's books by clicking here:
Part 3 of 3
It was in the spring of 1943, and 6-year old Bobbi peeked through the wooden slats of the back yard gate. She crossed her legs and wiggled. The outhouse was in clear view.
“Where’s Felicity? That mean old chicken!” Bobbi muttered.
Tiny and petite for her years, Bobbi felt utterly defenseless against the cranky bird. Didn’t the chicken understand that when nature called she had to walk the path to the outhouse?
Bobbi was puzzled because Mommy, Daddy, Grandma or Grandpa wouldn’t help her. They just kept saying, “Honey, you’ve got to learn to defend yourself!”
Bobbi made every effort to avoid Felicity. She’d watch closely, from inside the gate to make sure the chicken wasn’t in sight, then with her eyes fixed on the outhouse door, she’d quickly open the gate and make a run for the privy. The bird would suddenly jump from behind a nearby woodpile batting Bobbi with her swift wings.
Bobbi thought perhaps the gate noise was alerting the insensitive creature. So, she left the gate standing open and patiently waited for signs of Felicity. With the chicken out of sight and a clear footpath, Bobbi sprinted up the trail, only to be blocked again by the persistent fowl! Then there were times when the sly bird would let Bobbi go to the outhouse only to ambush her upon the return trip.
“Does Felicity ever sleep?” Bobbi wondered. Morning, noon and night the crotchety fowl menaced her. In Bobbi’s more desperate moments, with no hope of eluding the chicken, Bobbi resorted to squatting in the yard, only to be caught and scolded by her mother. Consequently, trying to out-wait the bird didn’t work either. Her guess was that the hen’s bladder was bigger, better and stronger.
“Bobbi, you’ve got to show the chicken who’s boss.” Dad reminded her. “Stand up for yourself. No one else is going to.”
“But, Daddy, I’m afraid of her!” Bobbi cried hopelessly.
The old bird continued to get the best of Bobbi. And to make matters worse all the grownups were on the chicken’s side!
One morning Bobbi woke up feeling grumpy. She was fed-up with having to grapple with the chicken.
“Leave me alone, I have to go potty!” Bobbi barked at her mother as she marched outside. Her blond curls bounced off her shoulders and her short, determined legs carried her toward the outdoor facilities.
Predictably, Felicity leaped from behind a bale of straw. She lunged at Bobbi and arched her neck, threatening Bobbi with her sharp beak.
At that moment something snapped in Bobbi. The chicken had bullied her for the last time.
With her hands on her hips, she bent down and faced the chicken head-on. Bobbi waved her arms and hands in a mad frenzy and bellowed like a banshee as she squared-off, nose to beak, with the flabbergasted hen.
“Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!” Felicity protested. A scuffle ensued. Needless to say, thereafter, Felicity gave Bobbi a wide path, including the one to the outhouse.
Bobbi learned the importance of sticking up for herself. She also discovered the benefits of coming to a sweet understanding with someone who has a sour disposition.
Sweet & Sour Chicken
1 fryer, cutup or 6 chicken breasts
1-8 ounce bottle Russian or Catalina Salad Dressing
1 package onion soup mix, dry
8 ounces orange marmalade
Mix salad dressing, onion soup mix and marmalade together in a medium size bowl. Pour mixture over chicken that has been placed in a rectangular baking pan. Bake; uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Yield: 4-5 servings with a rice accompaniment.
Coming in April: Springtime Desserts and Salads