Friday, November 28, 2014

Carl the Chicken Chaser

Let me begin by apologizing....there are no cute pictures to go along with this sad, I know. You see, the Chicken Lady is in desperate need of a new camera, so until then, I fear there will be limited pictures posted, and those that do happen to make it on here were taken by an antique.
  Anyhoo, Carl usually accompanies me out to the barn in the evenings to feed the horses and collect the eggs. We bundle up (he wears more cold weather gear than I do, even though I'm sure the chilly air bothers me more than it does him), but I do tend to have the first-time mommy tendencies. His head is covered up with the hood of his coat, his cheeks are pink and excitement is in his eyes, as Carl LOVES going outside. Bundled up and he walks beside me, trilling his tongue and pointing to the barn for the entire stroll. He looks at me, then straight ahead, back at me, straight ahead. I know he's trying to tell me something and I can't wait to hear it one of these days with real words.  Once we get there, Carl greets and chickens who happen to be naughty and loitering around in the barn instead of the kennel/steer lot/coop where they should be, and proceeds to get said chickens all riled up by chasing after them as I pour grain into Jimmy and Charlie's feed buckets. At first I told him not to, but as I saw he wasn't going to listen to me anyway, and how can really get the girls moving, I decided to put him to work. He has successfully chased a few of these broads back into the kennel when I open the door for them.
  After we have corralled any strays back to where they belong, he goes into the kennel part of the "coop" with me as I collect the ONE eggs that someone insists on laying there daily (at least she's consistent). All the while Carl practices his chasing skills. I feel like I'm in a tornado of feathers and BE-COKS as I try and painstakingly make my way to the door, calling for Carl to follow me as my voice is lost in the ruckus as Aunt Em's is lost to winds of the twister in 'The Wizard of Oz'.
  This daily activity is paying off, however, as real-life storm chaser and thrill seeker Reed Timmer has called to see if Carl is available to chase tornados once he is potty trained....
  The other night I left my sidekick indoors in the trusty hands of the Notekins as babysitters (because I'm going to receive the "Mom-of-the Year' award for 2014) and ran to the barn myself. These really cold days I can get the work done faster since it takes the same amount of time to bundle everyone up as it does for me to go and do the feeding and egg collecting. After several minutes of chicken chasing, I regretted my brilliant idea. One particularly stupid bird kept running past the open kennel door and out into the dark night. I had to chase her halfway down the steer lot fence row before I could get in front of her to try and scare her back in the barn. Then the genius ran past the OPEN door and almost out in the horse pasture. *Insert Shaw sigh here* Finally I succeeded and had her back in the coop with the door shut so that all the chickens were shut in for the night.
  Or so I thought.
  As I reached my hand in a crack of the horse hay where said less intelligent bird laid a hoard of eggs before we could find them, up sprang another chicken from the hiding place like a freak popping out of a birthday cake!
  "SURPRISE!" She squawked at me, hay flying everywhere and feathers flapping like crazy. *Insert annoying Carrie Screamerwood "Blown Away" here* So there I am, going into round two of chicken chasing, wearing a sexy getup, let me tell you. I had my skipants on over my stay-at-home-mom yoga pants, pinned closed with on old baby safety pin I think my mom used on me back when parents used cloth diapers, because the zipper broke on the ski pants. The nylon on the butt of my ski pants is almost all melted off because I stood too close to heater in the dairy barn office one morning. I had my Shaw Farm coat on under my heavy coat (that was free by the way) that smells like dairy cows (sorry Janet!) with dried poop going down one arm. Jimmy and Charlie are laughing hysterically at me, rolled on their backs, slapping their bellies with  their front hooves, as tears running out of their eyes.  
  I'm praying for three things as I chase this dumb bird to the OPEN kennel door, where she can't seem to comprehend the fact that she has to go AROUND the door and that the world doesn't end in the corner of the door and the wall of the kennel.
  1.) I pray my son is still OK inside and isn't screaming yet,
  2.) That a Yoder doesn't decide to pull in the driveway and see a sexy beast who apparently can't contain and catch her chickens, and
  3.) That this stupid chicken would just die for all the trouble she's caused me.
SO, lesson learned here, Carl is a much better chicken chaser than I am. He actually thinks it's fun!
 If you see me with a bald spot, it's from pulling out my hair over these birds and nothing to do with my toddler son.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Deviled Eggs & Blown Away!

  WHEW! I just got done cleaning the horse stalls, and it’s just down right angry out there! The wind is really something today. It feels more like spring than fall; the air is warm on your bare arms and smells like damp earth. The only thing missing is the faint whiff of hyacinths and the promise of more days like this to come…oh and a tornado warning…though I wouldn’t necessarily rule that one out, as anything can happen weather-wise in Ohio.
    Anyhoo, all the animals are hunkered down tight in the barn, save for Jimmy and Charlie.
 I don’t think even this wind is strong enough to blow those two away! The chickens on the other hand should probably worry about it. Kinda figures the poor things get a nice warm day (which I’m sure these kind of days are going to be extinct pretty soon) and it’s too gusty for the poor things to be able to go out and enjoy it any. 

   It’s also a shame that Carrie Underwood (or as Dan and I call her, Carrie Screamerwood) is playing on repeat in my head right now, her horrible screaming song “Blown Away”. I mean, seriously? Country music has been reduced to a girl screaming about a tornado blowing away her abusive father, as he was “a mean old mister”. (Boy I sure hope whoever wrote THAT lyric doesn’t win any literary prizes for it…if so, I’m in the wrong business!) I’ll save my down fall of country music rant for another day.
  Back to the chickens…
   Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws (it felt more like Easter with the 60 degree temperatures, but the pumpkin pie and cranberry Jell-O mold reminded me that Old Man Winter is just around the corner). It was my job to bring the deviled eggs. Ah, I can still taste them now! Not much is better in life than a true farm egg that has been hard boiled. You top that with the mustard/mayo combination of the yellow filling, and BA-ZINGA! you have a true culinary delight. (Even as I type this I’m tempted to make more and indulge myself in a sickening gluttonous binge of eggs.) I had a few left over that weren’t going to fit in my little deviled egg dish, so I peeled the shells away and scooped the yellow stuff on the eggs and enjoyed a small taste of heaven. It brought back memories of pregnancy cravings and nursing starvation…it also ruined my appetite just a touch.
  I wonder just how many hard boiled eggs per day are considered unhealthy? Whenever I have a carton of them I have to stop myself from eating too many, usually by envisioning my cholesterol spiking. And let’s not even get into the nutritional breakdown of egg yolks and mayonnaise. I don’t feel like doing the research on it all, plus it’s hard enough to type this with a toddler on my lap.
  Nope, I’m just going to enjoy the times of deviled eggs and work hard to get this song out of my head. This time last week we were buried under several inches of snow and I was fighting myself to not put up the Christmas decorations (it’s not allowed to do so until after Thanksgiving in the Shawhan household). Today I’m fighting the temptation of the Easter decorations as strongly as the chickens are fighting off the strong southern gale!
  Enjoy Thanksgiving and wonderful deviled egg delights!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Double Homicide Takes Place at Shawhan Farm

Double Homicide Strikes Aloof Chicken Farm; Mink Mob is Suspected
Written By: jack Kelly of the Manhattan World
     A double tragedy struck the once famous Shawhan Farm late last week. Two working hens were found headless.
    "I heard a lot of ruckus when I went out to change over the laundry and ran outside to find two headless chickens." Rebecca Shawhan, formally known as the Chicken Lady, told us. As she rushed down to the barn, she says she had a gut feeling of what could have caused all the commotion.
    "I do suspect a mink, or weasel, whatever the suspect may be. We have had numerous run-ins with this guy before."
  The Shawhan Farm has been in the headlines quite a few times in the past due to the heinous crimes that members of the now suspected, Mink Mob, have been known to commit on the Shawhan's property. Their trademark be-headings, drifts of plucked feathers from the victims bodies, and the induced panic of the surviving members of the chicken flock, all point to the liberal mob family.
  "I don't think I would care as much for losing a bird if it wasn't so wasteful," Ms. Shawhan commented. "I'd rather something eat the body instead of not touching it and just ripping off the head." Ms. Shawhan confessed to actually contemplating on trying to salvage the meat off the carcass, but decided she wasn't that desperate for a meal. The remains of the two victims were buried in Manure Memorial Gardens after an autopsy and identification by Daniel Shawhan.
  Dan Shawhan has been in the press for his mink-slaying abilities. It was reported that Dan was responsible for the death of one Mink Mob family member.
Is this attack perhaps in retaliation to that infamous killing? Rebecca Shawhan commented "No." to that particular theory.
 We asked Ms. Shawhan how the rest of the flock was taking the tragedy. "they are ok," She responded. "I think it was hard on them for a few days. Egg production dropped off for awhile. It's slowly coming back around."
  The Shawhan's are taking precautions on their farm in an attempt to thwart off another attack. They are playing a radio during the days the chickens are allowed out of the coop with the hopes that human voices may deter the Mink Mob from slinking back around. Other days, the chickens just don't get to go outside.
  "We are hoping to throw off the suspect as much as possible. We will be letting the chickens out on random days, trying to throw him off a little bit." She shrugs. "We'll see if it helps."
  This reporter just had to ask a question that wasn't related to the story at hand. I asked Ms. Shawhan why the long hiatus from her comical literary contributions? To which she responded quite testily that it was "none of your business." I tried to provoke her further, but she ordered me off her property and threated to call the police.
  Speaking of which, no arrests for the double murders have been made at this time and no more evidence has been procured.