On a beautiful, golden Sunday morning, this Mother Hen sits outside next to her flock enjoying their quiet clucks and sounds of preening feathers (mixed with the sounds of the neighbor rednecks blaring their techno garbage at 189 decibels while washing their lot of stolen cars).
The scene: Me in my periwinkle Adirondack chair on the pathway next to the chicken run, big mug of coffee (and, well, yes, Baileys) on the arm, Sunday St. Pete times perched on my lap. Bug spray applied generously to ward off the horde of blood-sucking mosquitoes. iPod strumming Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road.” Mabel is grooming Goldie (Are chickens supposed to do that?) while Goldie sits quietly in a nicely hollowed-out sand burrow. Marguerite stands watch, the designated alarm bell for the flock. Spotman (my outdoor cat) moseys by, tail dragging along the mesh surface of the run. “BOK BOK BOK,” Marge erupts crisply. She’s seen Spot a thousand times, but feels compelled to announce his presence every time.
Just two days ago, Goldie “broke up.” This, for all of you chicken novices, means she has finally, officially come out of her “broody stage.” It also means — ironically — that just two days before Mother’s Day, Goldie stops feeling so motherly. Thank goodness. Having a chicken sit in a nesting box for almost three straight weeks is not cool. She doesn’t eat, walk around, lay eggs, or interact with the others. She greets any visitor (including me) with a puffed-up display of ferocity and vigorous head-shaking. Like I said: not cool.
Mother’s Day! For all the mother hens out there, I salute you. I’ve never had children, but I would hope that three chickens, five cats and a horse qualify for some recognition on this day. Not nearly the recognition my mother deserves for raising a child such as me, but…some. So happy Mom’s Day, Mom! Thanks for all the years of beak-straightening you imposed upon your flock. We turned out okay.