Yesterday, I ended up taking the entire day off from work because I had an appointment and needed to take care of some other business. So it really wasn’t that much of a day off. It’s really just a matter of geography. I was still working, but just not in my windowless office growing ever more translucent and pale from the lack of sunshine and Vitamin D.
As usual, I shlepped out to the coop first thing to check on the beak faces. They were all standing at the door to the run when I unlocked the big doors to the coop, peeping sadly. I’m sure chickens have no sense of time because they looked like they thought that they’d never see the outside of the coop again, which is something that I can totally relate to when I’m sitting in my office at 2 pm in the afternoon and I can’t leave for another two and half hours.
I explained that it was cold outside and that maybe they should stay in for the day and work on their clucking. They were having NONE of that idea. So I opened the door to the run and the mass chicken exodus began and ended in about 5.4 seconds, leaving me standing alone in the poof of dust they created as they went screaming out the door.
As I walked out of the coop and locked the door behind me, I turned my head to look at the run and there they all stood.
All of them were scratching around in the dirt but Vinnie and Oprah and they were standing at the fence peeping and looking at me with one eye. Clearly, I had forgotten to throw the morning ration of scratch. So, back in the coop, threw some scratch, there was a lot of excited peeping and by this time, my caffeine level was so low, I didn’t know if I could make it to the house.
In case you’re worried…I did make it the house…but BARELY.
So, I got all of the running around and “stuff” done in the morning, and when I got home I checked the chicken mafia and they were all doing fine. OH…I left something out…while we were out running errands, seeing doctors and doing things of high importance (Greg and Tom were with me), it dawned on us that we needed to stop for dog biscuits otherwise there would be a mass uprising from the canine residents of the family.
They’re serious about their biscuits.
We think there’s crack in this particular brand of biscuit.
Anyway, Greg and I were nosing around in the live animal section of the pet food store we frequent (home of the moldy straw we bought). The live animal section is your usual mix of fish, ferrets, chinchillas, surly rabbits, hamsters, mice, scaly things, and birds. For some reason, for the first time, I noticed a large tank of crickets.
“GREG….Crickets for the CHICKKKKKKENS!!!!”
“You’ve got to get some!!”
I bought a double serving of crickets, which turns out to cost $2.00. You can’t do ANYTHING fun for two dollars!
Unless you have chickens….and you buy $2.00 worth of crickets.
We finally headed back home…I balanced the clear, plastic bag of crickets on the console of Tom’s truck because they are CREEPY. We decided to wait until chicken bedtime to have the cricket rodeo. I carried the bag around with two fingers, looking for a place to put it and finally settled on the kitchen table, because everyone who knows us, knows the kitchen table is used for setting things on that you don’t know what to do with, but surely you’re going to use soon.
I kind of forgot about the crickets once they were out of my immediate view and thought I might do some baking.
Hell immediately froze solid. There are trees down, electric went out and Satan keeps calling me asking me to knock it off because he had a soul barbecue planned for the evening and NO ONE was going to have any fun if the whole placed was iced over.
I rarely bake. Greg has been so helpful and has crawled through a significant amount of chicken poop whenever he has to chase the little rascals back in the coop at night, so I thought I’d bake a new recipe for peanut butter cookies that I’d found online.
I’ve recently bought some cute, old-fashioned aprons to wear when I work in the garden and chicken coop to protect my clothes. They’re just the half aprons that you tie at the waist and they go down to about the middle of my shins. Adorable, vintage reproduction fabrics in tiny prints and lots of pockets. I put one on and started happily to assemble ingredients for the cookies. Then my daughter walked in…she’s 11…and if she keeps it up, she won’t see 12.
“WHAAAAAAAAT are you WEARING?????? Is that an APRON?”
“What’s wrong with wearing an apron? I’m trying not to wipe my hands on my JEANS which I’m sure a chicken has sat on at one point or another today.”
“Well you just aren’t the type of PERSON who wears an APRON”
“What type of person wears an apron then?”
“Well…like an average mom.”
“What am I then?????”
“Better than average mom?”
Good answer. I stomped around the kitchen putting the recipe together while Emma tried for about 30 seconds to redeem herself, shrugged her shoulders and went back to her room.
About that time, Greg and Tom arrived home from the store with supplies for dinner.
I glared at them as they came in with bags of groceries…and then Tom made a fatal comment…
“IS THAT AN APRON?”
I had a small, but vicious, high-speed-come-apart right there in the kitchen. I’ll spare you the details but Tom was immediately sorry he’d said it and frankly, Greg looked a little terrified. And I was BAKING. So they knew if they didn’t want a spatula where spatulas should NOT be in their bodies and if they wanted any of the cookies, they’d better just go along with everything I was ranting about and back away slowly.
Not only was I baking…but I was making dinner…which is usually Tom’s job because I work all day…in an windowless office…have I mentioned how pale I am? Tom and Greg sort of scuttled out of the kitchen for a little bit while I ranted.
The whole thing was compounded by my mixer not working correctly and when I turned it on to cream the butter (2 sticks), brown sugar and white sugar together, the mixer jumped into WARP SPEED and butter and sugar exploded out of the bowl and all over me and the floor, much to the delight of the herd of dogs we have.
Now I was really grouchy.
I finally finished battling the mixer while throwing in swear words that I made up from combining other foul words. Dinner was simmering on the stove top. I had the first batch of cookies in the oven and I took them out and they looked like this…(insert choirs of angels singing here)…
SUCCESS!!! These are easily the BEST peanut butter cookies I’ve ever made and surely the best I’ve ever tasted. I should bake when I’m mad more often because apparently a pinch of ranting about aprons being ADORABLE, some intense swearing, and a little violence while loading the dishwasher makes a huge difference.
We had dinner and Greg and Tom feasted on cookies…Emma doesn’t like them because they aren’t Oreos. We intend to have her committed to a psychiatric facility next week.
After dinner, I actually loaded the dishwasher instead of just stacking the dishes. I received an email from Hell that it had closed indefinitely due to ice accumulation.
I watered the plants that I still haven’t thinned (oh SHUSH) and rearranged the mail stacked on the breakfast bar (because I’m an Olympic Mail Stacker) and we watched a little TV. Greg had already locked the chickens in the coop earlier, because it had gotten quite chilly and they finally mustn’t have been able to feel their scaly toes and had gone in on their own. I received an email from Satan that he was going to Ecuador until things warmed up at his place.
At about 8:30, Tom mentioned the crickets and the chickens in the same sentence. CRICKETS!!!! Greg had a friend over and we all shuffled out to the coop while I explained to the crickets that they were going to meet a bunch of new friends. The chickens were milling about in the pine chip bedding looking for left over weeds from earlier in the evening. I’ll point out that THEY did not laugh at my 19th century style apron and I might take them all to Olive Garden this week because they were so considerate of my feelings and willing to overlook my craziness. I waved the bag in front of Vinny, who, as usual was sticking his face through the fencing because being first in line and cute has its benefits is what he’s already learned.
When he saw the crickets I thought he’d come through the fencing. I should have made popcorn and sold tickets to this.
Greg got into the chicken area and released one cricket. It barely hit the floor before Vinny slurped it up. The next five crickets met the same fate. Greg took them out of the bag one by one and Vinny greedily inhaled them without chewing…do chickens chew? Huh. Not sure…anyway…we wanted the others to get a bit of cricket action so Greg finally just unceremoniously dumped the rest of the bag on the floor.
Holy moly. What followed was like a carnage scene from a cricket horror movie. I’ve never seen these particular chickens or ANY chicken for that matter move so fast in my life. THREE minutes…or possibly less…and the crickets were GONE. Obviously, $2.00 worth of crickets is not nearly enough for a full evening of chicken entertainment. They continued to frantically look for crickets while making adorable low clucking noises while they darted around and scratched in the bedding. They got bored with that pretty quickly. So we moved on to the next phase of our usual evening visit…socializing. Although I’m sure they consider it “PANIC TIME”.
Greg is bound and determined that he’s going to be friends with Cluck Norris, our rooster…well…one of our roosters…you have to read the whole blog. He tried to look nonchalant. Cluck eyed him suspiciously from the other side of the coop. Greg edged his way over and Cluck took off for the run door…which was locked…MISTAKE.
In a flash of movement, a cloud of dust, a flurry of feathers all accompanied by frantic clucking, Greg scooped Cluck into his arms. Cluck just gave up. Greg held him and we petted his Easter Egger beard, admired his feet and told him he should try to be more social and less of a grouch. Cluck made little noises in his throat and probably was planning how he’d kill us all once his spurs grew in.
Then something interesting happened. Greg flipped Cluck over on his back while still holding him. Cluck looked a little surprised, but just laid there. He was completely relaxed and submissive. So we checked out his drumsticks and told him he might want to not skip “leg day” at the gym so often. Then, Greg carefully turned him back over and set him on the floor. Cluck just walked away like nothing had happened. SCORE: Humans 1, Cluck 0.
We watched them for a little while longer while they tried to impress us with roost acrobatics (they seem to like to push each other off of the roosts) and then finally went back to the house. I was worn out.
Next time I’m buying ten bucks worth of crickets.