© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed
It had been an amusing couple of weeks, to say the least. It all started when our neighbor’s chickens crossed the road and came to breakfast at our bird feeder. All 10 of them—eight hens and two roosters—cleaned up the stray bits of bread crumbs and seed set out for the sparrows, juncos, titmouse, woodpeckers, and such. No, the blackbirds were not allowed…no way! It is a posted area. I’d show you the sign but can’t seem to find it anywhere.
The chickens quickly had their way with the breadcrumbs and scurried back across the road, faithfully returning on a daily basis every morning for a month or so. We eventually felt sorry for them and brought home a bag of chicken scratch. My husband was in his glory as he would strew the feed out front, followed by the throng of hungry chickens. Their owner lived at the residence but seemed to be behind on “lunch-money,” as the entire flock would search the neighborhood frantically for grub. We don’t know what the problem really was; there just wasn’t much activity over there…except for the chickens. Anyway, my husband waved while getting our mail one day and told Charlie we’d been feeding his chickens. He hollered a quick “Thanks,” saying he’d gather some eggs for us in return for the chicken scratch.
Time went by and suddenly it was Thanksgiving Day. Busily fixing dinner and all the trimmings, I noticed an egg crate by the back door as I set out some trash. There sat 18 large brown eggs, all wet and smudged with dirt but unbroken and rather handsome. I brought them inside and showed them to my husband. We were so delighted at our neighbor’s kept promise.
Early the next morning the chicken man appeared in his yard, gassing up his 4-wheeler and readying to go off deer hunting. Bursting with a ton of holiday spirit, I hastily tore off a leg and most of one breast from our roasted turkey, threw in an enormous slice of apple pie, wrapped them in foil and sent my husband out to give to the poor fellow for giving us all those good eggs. The man was tickled pink and asked my husband if we liked venison, to which my husband replied, “Sure.” The fellow said if he got a deer, he’d give us some. I guess he didn’t have any luck, as we haven’t seen any deer meat at the back door.
The chickens continue to run the roads of the neighborhood, always stopping off to chomp up whatever is left over from the little birdies. Their number is down to nine now, as one of the brown hens didn’t make it across the road fast enough. I don’t think it was Henny Penny, as she was the fastest in the bunch. Yes, I had gotten to calling them names already. Makes it sort of personal, I guess. I’m sure those black old buzzards had a heaping big breakfast that morning, whoever it was that was too slow crossing the road. Not much left now ‘cept for a few leg bones and a feather or two. I’ve heard the age-old question, “Why did the chicken cross the road,” a hundred times but didn’t really know the answer. Well, now I know…to fix breakfast for the buzzards!
It’s funny…the neighborhood sparrows have come to hang out in our boxwood shrubs out front. They hide in them til the chickens are gone then the lookout peeks its tiny head out of the green branches, does an about-face and gives the all clear. The air just hums as they all come swarming out of their hiding places and fly over to the feeder again. I was telling my husband, I hope they haven’t come to take up residence. I love birds, but enough is enough.
Well, I must get to checking the crockpot for the country pork stew I set out this morning. It’s almost suppertime. You all have a good day now…ya heer?!