Friday, October 22, 2010

Who's Chicken??

Years ago, while living on the family ranch, there was a very large, very old turkey. We had about 30 laying hens, but this big turkey ran loose all over the ranch.

On more than one occasion he would not allow people out of their vehicles. On a daily basis, my 4-year-old son would exit the house wielding a large stick to fend the turkey off while he gathered the eggs. I was somewhat impressed that he would go, considering they stood eye to eye. My ex husband always thought it was funny, to watch the turkey chasing me and/or the kids around.

When I was still a teenager, I camped out on the downstairs of a ‘house’ (using the term loosely) built on the side of a hill, using lumber taken off the roof of a century old farmhouse, which had a rock and whatever else was handy on the corners to level it up. It shook when you walked thru. There was a rooster that hung around, and, being summer, I was clad in shorts and a bathing suit top, on a particular day. The rooster ‘crowed’ at me, and I good-naturedly crowed back at him. Apparently, I had crowed something highly offensive, because the next thing I knew, that rooster had his spurs hooked into my waist and was beating me with his wings and pecking at me.

The ‘house’ I was sleeping in, had no doors or windows, as nothing was square. I just climbed in a sleeping bag and was grateful to be up off the ground and away from the bugs. Next morning, there was a calf, a lamb, and a few chickens that had joined me…and at the foot of my bag, there was that darned rooster! Although he thought he had me effectively pinned, I managed to suck myself down and roll towards the door, effectively dislodging him and foiling his evil plan for the morning.

The guy and his wife, who lived in the ‘upstairs’ of the house, which consisted of a narrow stairway ending at a claw-leg, cast iron bathtub at the top, which had been placed by throwing a rope thru the upstairs window and me dallying up with my horse to pull it and that’s as far as it got, owned the rooster. Their upstairs chamber was pretty much the same as my downstairs, except they had a bathtub, and I had a doorway. I was working’ for them for the summer, and in turn, I got 3 meals a day of fried zucchini, and some kind of heavy material, that she called bread, but I think she used Portland cement dust for flour. We almost never got any meat. I remember one morning the fellow saying the rooster had done something offensive to him and that night, we had a wholesome dinner of some tough, rubbery chicken for dinner. I don’t know what that bird did, but I bet it had something to do with crowing.

One day, my ex-husband bet me $2 that he could hypnotize a chicken. He had learned it from some nice Oakie folk, who made the worlds best biscuits and gravy, and was gonna prove to me that a chicken had enough concentration to be hypnotized. He told me you just take their beak and draw 2 lines in the ground with it, or some such nonsense. He captured himself a hen, and proceeded to bend over and show me how it worked. Just about that time, a utility crew truck was driving by, just in time to witness that turkey go into action, as he apparently decided that my ex was now looking more his size. He leaped onto his back and started flapping, and pecking, and scratching. I never saw such an angry bird, such highly amused utility technicians, nor such a silly looking man, bent over with a chicken in his hands and a turkey on his back.

Later that day, my son Matt, and I were down around the henhouse, when we saw his dad sneak behind a building with the 12 ga. shotgun. The turkey was clueless-ly poking around the other side of the building, when suddenly, with a large BOOM! The hapless bird was dispatched. I think back in amazement, that this same turkey hunter, who hid behind a building, later made the S.W.A.T. team…but then, I guess that is one of the methods they use, so I suppose he was a natural.

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