proud enough to take a picture

Each summer, when the Salisbury Post publishes “The Garden Game” series, I admire the produce and quietly snicker.

I’m standing in judgment, not actually assessing those who think they’re such hot stuff because they can grow an unbelievably large tomato — but certainly judging those who have so much time on their hands that they would make a trip to town in order to have their pictures taken with said fruit.

So what does it say about a man who would brag about the size of an egg laid by his chicken.

I am here to do that.

My chickens have been laying some whoppers.

Really big ones. Double yokers. Fairly consistently.

It’s gotta hurt.

And I’m so proud that I took this picture.


free range time

Each afternoon, we give our chickens a chance to free range.

They get about 90 minutes of freedom, before dark.

That’s enough time for them to eat a few bugs and enjoy themselves, but not so much that they become a nuisance to the neighbors or become a target for hawks or big, loose dogs.

They love it.

And I love it.

It always makes me laugh.

First, they run for the hydrangea bush beside our back door. We throw vegetable scraps into the bush and, when they get loose, they race to see what treast await them.

After about five minutes there, they suddenly — all at once — get the idea to run and fly across the yard and into my neighbor’s yard. He sometimes leaves them a treat.

It’s hilarious — and what makes it funny is the way they take off, so fast and in a pack, running to get to where they want to go. Once there, they either get the treat or hunt and peck for bugs.

Today, they somehow had a sense that my neighbor was out of town. Instead they raced around to the front yard and spent time there.

This video shows first twenty seconds of their freedom, just after I open the door of the henhouse.

Omelette? Fried? Scrambled? Hole-in-One?

Yesterday, I’m stepping out of my office, which is a converted garage attached to my house, and I notice that all six of our chickens are gathered in a pack in the front yard.

So I lower myself to take a picture and they come running — either gathering for the picture or trying to peck my phone.

our chickens
Is she going to peck my camera?

We’ve had these chickens a few months.

It all started a couple of years ago. Randy Solt, owner of Consign 120, used to advertise with our business, Coffee News.

Randy has chickens, and he brings eggs to his store and sells them for $2 a dozen.

And I got hooked on the eggs. Fresh eggs taste better. Randy knew I was hooked — so much so that, when the girls were busy and laying a lot and he had a lot on hand, he would call me up and I’d drive to Concord. For eggs.

Then, one day, I get a call from another Randy, Randy Klocke, owner of Rooster Hill Farms.

Randy Klocke buys an ad in Coffee News for the henpens he sells, and we work out a deal.

The deal includes an ad for Randy and a fully functional henpen for the Post family.  We pick our color — green — and it’s there in a few days, complete with six golden comet chickens and everything required to take care of chickens — including Randy’s thorough, well-written, and entertaining user’s manual.

And every day since, we’re enjoying fresh eggs, every morning, and feeding and watering and talking to the chickens in our yard.

We do not live on a farm. We live in the city, a couple of blocks from Catawba College and only three blocks (easy walking distance) from all kinds of shopping (Food Lion, Walgreens, convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants).

Our yard is normal size. Neighbors are close.

It’s not Manhattan, but you’d have to say it’s an urban area.

And I love these chickens.

We don’t have a fence, yet.  So we only let them free range for a couple of ours each day, in the late afternoons, for about two hours.

We open the henpen door about six o’clock. When darkness descends, they return to their pen and we shut the door.

In the morning, we gather the eggs.

And then it’s decision time. Omelette?  Fried?  Scrambled? Or, when I’m in the mood for something really tasty, my favorite: the Hole-in-One.

the makings of a great chicken wing advertising campaign

There are many platitudes about finding the good in the bad.  Silver linings.  Lemonade.  Yin and Yang.

It occurs to me that Italy Café could use this story to market their chicken wings.

Might I suggest an advertising campaign?

italy cafe
Italy Cafe

“A taste of our chicken wings is enough to make you commit armed robbery.”

I’m sure there are better ideas than that.  But, seriously, a full-blown advertising campaign, built around this story, could probably sell a lot of chicken wings.

After all, the perps weren’t just hungry.  They specifically wanted those chicken wings.  They must be pretty good wings.