One of my earliest and most fond memories, as a young girl, is spending summer vacations with my Aunt Sammie. Now, if we are going to talk about my Aunt Sammie, you need to learn how to say it the right way. In Southern Alabama, where I am from, we don’t pronounce the word, aunt, like it is spelled or like other parts of the country may pronounce it. We pronounce it like, “ain’t”. So, it would sound something like this, “I want chickens like ain’t Sammie had”. That’s what this post is about….my Aunt Sammie…..and I want chickens.
I LOVED going to Aunt Sammie’s house. It was so much fun. What made it fun? Well, for starters, there were no rules! I could run around barefooted all day long, eat homemade cookies and ice cream for lunch if I so desired and drink all the coke and sweet tea I could hold. Second, she had three boys, Rodney, Ikey and Jeffrey. I had no brothers or sisters, so for me, a house full of crazy, loud, rowdy boys was a slice of heaven. Third, she had all kinds of varmints roaming the yard. Dogs and cats laying on the porch, cows grazing in the pasture out back, and chickens cluckin’ and peckin’ all around the place, up on the porch and out in the yard. Can’t you just picture it? Heaven.
Not only was her place a sight to behold, the sounds were just as wonderful. I can still hear the slamming of the screen door and the sound of Aunt Sammy’s voice yelling at the boys, “stop slammin’ that door!” then thirty seconds later it would slam again. The sound of cars driving up the dirt driveway, dogs barking and Aunt Sammy standing on the edge of the porch, hollering out to the unexpected but welcome company, “y’all get out and come on in!” while Uncle Mock shooed the dogs off the porch. I can still her the sound of her laughter echoing through the house. But, by far, my favorite memory sound, has to be the sound of the rooster crowing every morning outside my window. To this day, when I hear a rooster crow or a chicken cackle I can’t help but be transported to a simpler time.
As an adult, I have tried to create my own slice of heaven right here in Verdigris Oklahoma. I have a house in the country with plenty of land, a big front porch that beckons you to come take a load off, a house full of rowdy kids and batches of warm homemade cookies just waiting to be devoured. There is one thing that is missing though….chickens. No chickens to cackle and cluck and no rooster to crow. Why you ask? Two words.
I have been asking for chickens for years….literally years….and for years….nothing….nothing but the 73 reasons why we don’t need chickens. Here’s just a few:
-We don’t have time for chickens
-chickens take a lot of work (that’s code for it takes a lot of money)
-we don’t have a chicken coop
-the dogs will kill the chickens
-the foxes will kill the chickens
-the hawks will kill the chickens
-the coyotes will kill the chickens (you get the idea)
-chickens are nasty
-who’s gonna take care of the chickens if we go on vacation?
-who’s gonna break the ice in the winter so they can have water?
-who’s gonna get up at the butt crack of dawn to feed em’?
The list goes on and on. He painted a pretty grim picture of what it’s like to have chickens, because he had chickens when he was a kid…his memories are not as fond as mine. All of his nay sayin’, and his gloom and doom, about how awful it will be to have chickens, fell on deaf ears though….I still wanted me some chickens! I tried and tried to talk him into it, but nothing.
Then something happened. I’m not sure what. Something miraculous. In my mind, I imagine that, in some dramatic way, the sky’s parted and the hand of Almighty God reached down and put in the chest of Mr Wonderful, a heart, a heart for chickens, because out of the blue, as a Christmas present, he gave me this.
A book on raising chickens.
When I opened the beautifully wrapped package, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I shot a disbelieving glance his way….there he was with his half grin and a gleam in his eye. I jumped up and flooded him with hugs and kisses and lots of questions. The first question being, “when can we get them?” “I figure in the spring”, he said, (then he got a little preachy) “we’ve got a lot of work to do before then…. We’ve gotta scout out the best place to put em’, and then we’ve gotta build a chicken coop….and you need to read that book.”
Who knew you needed a book in order to have chickens?
And why do we need to scout out a place?
I just figured we’d buy a bunch of chickens, turn ’em loose and let them roam the yard….after all, if it’s good enough for Aunt Sammie, it’s good enough for me 😉
We have a few months till spring….ample time to scout and build. I can hardly wait! I’m sure there will be plenty of chicken coop stories to tell in the near future so stay tuned.