Pretend you’re Elton John when you read that and you’ll get a feel for how I feel about my hen.
I won’t go dissin’ your hen…
If I had time I’d finish out with some fancy lyrics for Kiki Dee’s part and we’d have us a parody…alas, I have things to do.
Like make up an egg sammich.
See, my husband, my chicken-hater-from-childhood, my guy who swore off chickens and, I suspect, snuck it into our wedding vows somewhere that we’d neverEVERRRR have chickens, at least until death-do-we-part…
…well, he’s found himself in the romantically accommodating role of chicken farmer (aka Reluctant Farmer) for the past four years or so, ever since his little mini-him decided to get a few chickens one summer for 4-H and, in the years since, has grown into a teenager who’s decided to forgo the teenage sarcasm and angst, skip the life of hiding out in a dark teen cave filled with video games and gladiator posters, and go straight and full-on into his career of Chicken Whisperer.
What’s a dad to do right?
He’s come to tolerate the chickens.
We obviously had to renew the vows to include chickens (and miniature horses…and guinea pigs…and pheasants…and guinea fowl…and sheep…and pigs…and geese…and oh yes, a house quail named Chuck…did I mention he’s a good and patient man and loves me and the children very much?…)
But he still tends to give a little fake-scowl when their name comes up.
Especially if they’re my favorite.
Like Big Chicken.
Our Maran, our eldest hen, our only chicken who gives us eggs that are rich and huge, with a yolk almost the color of orange and a shell that’s as dark and creamy as caramel…she lays the eggs that prompt us to line the egg-gathering basket with satin and sing the Alleluia chorus as we march it triumphantly into the house for it’s place of high honor in a special dish reserved only for Big Chicken’s eggs.
We pretty much adore our Big Chicken.
My reluctant farmer calls her a freeloader.
He calls her old.
He teases how she runs like a wobble with stick legs to the snack pile.
I defend her valiantly.
We all gasp when he tells her she better get back to work.
And just last night…LAST NIGHT…in the middle of this dark, cold, bleak, Alaskan winter, during this, the month of our shortest days…
…he questions whether Big Chicken is even a laying hen anymore.
((Moment of silence for poor, poor Big Chicken…))
Of course the kids and I all ban together in defense of our galiant hen and we tell our handsome chicken-hater that OF COURSE she’s a laying hen and that in fact, we’ve brought TWO Big Chicken eggs into the house just this very week thankyouverymuch.
He knows when he’s outnumbered so he just hmphs in his poultry pouty way and goes back to dreaming I’m sure of what life was like before there were all these chickens sleeping in his shed and mooching off his leftovers.
…this was what my Big Chicken offered up.
Plopped right into the nest she lovingly built right on his workbench…
We all touched it.
We measured it.
We would’ve weighed it if we weren’t afraid to break it.
And now I’m thinking I should bronze it.
Except I won’t.
Because my Reluctant Farmer?
He’s gonna get the BIGGEST fried egg sandwich he’s EVER seen when he gets home from work tonight.
And I bet we won’t hear him teasing our Big Chicken any more.