Oh the trials and tribulations of a woman trying to talk a grown man into chicken ownership. Unfortunately, Farmboy has particular “attack the egg-gatherer” poultry issues from his childhood. I like chickens, I think. My grandmother had them but I was always too scared to go near the coop because their sharp claws and beaks gave me the willies. But… that was then and this is now and if you haven’t already heard… chickens are all the rage. Conceptually, I LOVE the idea of having chickens! A groovy little hen house near the garden… maybe one of those nifty chicken tractors that we can move around the lawn. Are you feeling the chicken love? I already have two topiary chickens. Henrietta and Rocco– boxwood topiaries that welcome visitors along our front walkway. They, however, do not lay eggs nor do they contribute to the fertilizer production for my potager.
One sunny day last year after church I convinced Farmboy to drive to a nearby town to check out a “gypsy wagon” that I had been keeping my eye on. A gypsy wagon, you ask? Let me explain. As a child I grew up with a lovely book called “The Knobby Boys to the Rescue” by Wende and Harry Devlin . It told the story of a group of domino-playing, fib-telling friends (a fox, a raccoon and a crow) that found a baby bear who had lost his mother. One day while Crow was out gathering food for the baby he saw a Gypsy wagon with a very sad Mother Bear tethered nearby. Fried Feathers! She had been captured to take to the circus! Needless to say, the Knobby Boys devised a plan to scare the gypsies and save the bear. It worked and Mother Bear was reunited with her baby and finally sang the long, winter-lullaby to him. A happy snow-covered ending.
The wagon from the book
What does this story have to do with chickens you are wondering? For many years Farmboy and I drove back and forth through the Finger Lakes between Skaneateles and Rochester, New York. Just outside of Auburn, New York there was a little grouping of houses with a rounded wooden wagon parked in a nearby field. It was very plain but it was in the shape of the wagon from the story. Years passed. All the while I kept my eye on that wagon. Years, I tell you. Do you see where I’m heading? Chickens… a cute hen house…. a movable chicken tractor… a strange fondness for gypsy wagons… do you see the beauty? Isn’t it one of the greatest ideas ever! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?
So, that beautiful Sunday morning last year I talked Farmboy into driving out to where the wagon was. He agreed (for some strange reason) that a gypsy wagon would make a cool hen house. Maybe it was because of a church “high”, or perhaps it was a “support your spouse’s “special” ideas even if they sound crazy sermon” that brought him to this chicken openness. Certainly the fact that you can move the gypsy wagon around the farm was a selling point, right?… am I right? The kids were excited and let me tell you, I was ready to make an offer. I was SO close to having those fancy chickens walking around the yard laying those fancy pastel-colored Easter Eggs that I could TASTE the egg salad!
Would you believe that it was gone? Can you believe it? I still can’t! For all of those years I passed by that quietly decaying wagon thinking that it would always be there. I even mentioned it from time to time. “Michelle, what would make you really over-the-top happy for Mother’s Day? Your Birthday? In general? “Well, a pony and a gypsy wagon, of course”! Even before I had “THE Great Chicken-coop epiphany” I was drawn to having a gypsy wagon. Now, here I sit- lamenting the loss of the wagon, hence, my future chickens. What is a future home chicken farmer to do? For some reason Farmboy is open to the idea of chickens if there is a gypsy wagon involved. What is up with that? Maybe he realizes the impossibility of me finding another wagon. Maybe the supernatural aspect of this is- if God miraculously provides the gypsy wagon, Farmboy would go into such a deep state of spiritual chicken fondness that he will overcome his poultry issues? No counseling required! I trust that it will all work out and that I will soon be tweeting about having to go feed the chickens, hatch chicks or something all chicken-y like that.
So, if a gypsy wagon happens to fall out of the sky near you- please call me. I have the perfect place for it. I promise I will not tether any chickens to it nor will I make them perform any ridiculous circus tricks if I can help it.
Part 2 of this story.