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Friday, August 26, 2005 

Why are there a bunch of chickens in my yard

Why I have a bunch of chickens in my backyard.
A friend of ours asked me why in the world a modern person would choose of his own volition to have a bunch of chickens live in his yard. I told him that it was a subject that he would not understand, as he was born in Miami. I further pointed out that, as he has spent his entire working life in a public relations firm here in Birmingham, the honest life of a rural person will always elude him.

As he told me, it is his job to take a truth and bend, stretch, and mutilate it until it serves his purpose. Then he takes that truth and packages it in a package that is much more attractive than the original truth. As he said, by the time the truth hits the consumer, it no longer represents the original truth, but since it is still loosely based on truth, it can still be considered the truth. He also has considerable beachfront property in Las Vegas Nevada if anyone is interested.

But I digress; I do have 21 chickens as followers of this blog know. They are a hobby. I hope one day to sell some eggs to friends who want them. But eggs are dang cheep so I will not make much money off of them. I like the idea of my kids knowing about some aspect of country life, their grandkids will not have that opportunity. I like to hear those roosters crow first thing in the morning. Farm and country live is going the way of conservative democrats, and rock and roll bands that sing lyrics that are intelligible.

I also plan to raise Quail. I want my kids to know the call of bobwhite in the evening. I may even raise goats or maybe a cow or two. There is something very humbling about seeing farm animals brought into the world. And there is something profoundly good for the soul about having to clean manure off of your shoes and feed those animals.

When I was a kid I got up about 4:30 to milk cows. I vividly remember walking across the frozen oat stubble to the dairy next door in the pre morning darkness. I remember the freezing air on my face and the numb hands. I remember the smells of the dairy barn the smell of the cows and the feel of the teats as I milked those friendly old cows who could not be milked by machine. I remember warming up my hands with Mr. Bailey in the sink before milking the cows so that they would not spook. I remember the smell of Jacks pipe as he herded and fed the cows. These are good memories of men working and me at 14 doing the work of a grown man. I dont want my kids to have to work but, I did not have to do it either. I could have slept late and been just another kid with no money.

These memories get me through a bunch of hard times. I wish my kids could have these memories to get them through some hard times that eventually will come. I will have to just see if I can’t help make them.

That is why I have a bunch of chickens in my backyard.

But no pigs……I hate pigs.