April 8, 2014 – The girls and I were busy today, circling pictures in seed catalogs. It’s a tradition we do every year just before Mom starts her spring plantings. When we’re done, we usually submit a wish list to her in hope that she will grow some of our favorite vegetables. But this year, Mom has promised a garden dedicated solely to us chickens. You can imagine the exuberant chatter in the henhouse as we narrowed the selections down to our top 10 picks! My mouth was drooling over the Swiss chard, while Sawyer was salivating over a centerfold image of red beets. Oh, it was a grand time!
“Don’t forget the carrots!” Peaches called out, flipping through the pages of the Bursting Seed Company Spring Catalog.
“The Boston lettuce looks fabulous!” Wilma remarked. Fabulous is not a word that Wilma uses lightly, so I quickly added that salad pleaser to our list.
“What about spaghetti?” asked Waffles. “I can’t find it anywhere in Joe’s Shrubs and Seeds brochure. I love spaghetti!”
“Spaghetti is made from pasta and pasta is a grain,” Addie explained. Waffles stared at her blankly, waiting for the connections to click.
“This is a vegetable garden we’re talking about,” Addie continued patiently. “The only spaghetti you’ll find in these listings will be under squash.”
Suddenly, Tim came tearing into the coop with a dusty purple dishrag tied around his neck. “Did somebody call for Captain Eggplant?!” he asked. His chest was puffed proudly and his wings were firmly settled on his hips.
Violet laughed so hard, that she snorted, which caused a perfectly shaped cream-colored egg to plop out of her fluffy bits, and roll under Wilma’s legs. This caused us all to whip into knee-slapping hysterics. We finished our list a short while later and celebrated over a pot of hot pine needle tea and Sawyer’s homemade lemon bread. We decided it would be a grand idea if the entire lot of us took the short walk up the side yard to Mom’s office window and hand to her our list of vegetables for the chicken garden. It’s much more personal than placing it in the mailbox. Wilma opened the coop door to let us out.
“For the love of Sweet Myrtle!” Charlotte declared. “It’s bloody snowing again!!”
We stuck our heads out the door in disbelief.
“It is April isn’t it?” Wilma grumbled.
“That’s what the newspaper says,” replied Emaline, reaching for today’s Poultry Gazette.
A few thick, sloppy snowflakes fell from the sky and were followed by a thousand more until there were so many that it became difficult to see the outline of Coop #1.
“We’d better get back to our henhouse before this turns into a blizzard,” Addie advised her sister Orpingtons.
“Same here,” Dottie said to her flockmates from Coop #2.
“Thanks for having us over,” Peaches said, giving Sawyer and me a quick hug before turning to leave. We watched as she and the other hens made their way back to their own homes. “See you in May!” she laughed over her shoulder, and then disappeared inside Coop #1.
Disappointed, I gathered up the seed catalogs and lobbed them into an empty nest box.
“You might find this more interesting,” said Sawyer tossing a magazine in my direction. It was January’s issue of Architectural Poultry… “Building an Igloo Worthy of Your Egg”.
“I’d rather build a salad worthy of my egg,” I sighed. But what can you do when you are a hen from New England?