Sunday, February 21, 2010

That`s fowl!- Turtle

*Sits back and sips coffee while readers try to make heads or tails out of header*

Yup, you read that correctly. That`s Fowl-Turtle. Now I know you good folks are sitting there, scratching your heads and muttering things like….. ‘Did she finally fall down and crack her coconut?’ ‘Has the woman mistakenly drifted into some parallel universe where turtles are poultry?’ may be asked. ‘Well they do come from eggs,’ someone may point out. ‘But they have no feathers. They are not poultry and that yodeling goatherder has gone loopy!’ yet another of you may state.

Rest assured I am not loopy * ignores snickering daughter*nor am I in a parallel universe. I`m still here on the hill in Pennsylvania and am firmly grasping my faculties and my Nubian mug, which kind of makes typing hard…I`ll explain and all will be clear as glass. I hope. *Grins*

Many years ago, or ten to be precise, we had moved to our merry little farm. Of course it wasn`t a farm then, just a bunch of acres with a house and three wanna-be farmers. This situation had to be rectified! How could we have acres and not one farm critter?! As our first spring here approached we decided to become poultry owners first.

Mister had been raised with chickens and every other animal one could imagine coming from a family with five siblings, and he knew what was what. We bought an incubator and an egg turner and went about like street urchins begging for hatching eggs from our friends and neighbors.

‘Please sir, may I have some fertile eggs?’ *Spoken in Cockney accent although none of us are British*

Perhaps our neighbors and friends took pity on us, or perhaps they couldn`t stand our terrible Cockney accents, but soon our incubator was filled. As we began to wait the twenty-one days for chicken eggs to hatch we got ourselves a brood box made and plunked it down in our living room. Yee-Haw, chickens in the house! On a side there have been turkeys, pheasants, ducks and at one time a merganser duckling someone brought to us that we handed over to a wildlife rescue also in that box.

Miss Yodeling was perhaps five at the time, and we spent every day checking the magic box as we call the incubators. Put in an egg and in three weeks, Viola! By magic a chicken appears! Just call me David Copperfield. Or mayhap best not, he may take offense.

When the first ever batch began to hatch I can recall clearly my daughter and I eating our lunch back in our bedroom, so we wouldn`t miss the hatching. She had a little blue stool she used to stand on to brush her teeth, the white stool hadn`t yet been romanced by a tom turkey but was outside. Now do keep in mind we were very much the novice`s when it came to incubating eggs as this tale plays out. *Smiles sheepishly*

I had left the incubator and the pipped eggs to carry our lunch dishes out to the kitchen. Suddenly a squeal of unfettered joy came from my bedroom.

“Mother! Mother! One just broked out!”

Why she shouted mother to this day I don`t know, she never called me mother, always mom. She does now on occasion when I do something that causes her teenage self embarrassment but it has that huff that only teenage girls can do SO well. She must have been so excited the formal form just exploded from her is all I can guess. I dropped the dishes and dashed back and low and behold there laid a wet, tiny chick on the wire grid. Over the course of the next several hours quite a few more hatched out but that first chick, well, it just seemed to her and me that it was not quite right.

It would keep falling over and lying on its back, kicking its legs and peeping as loudly as it could. Being beginner`s we would lift the lid and put the chick back on its feet. We now know better, and do not open the incubator only once a day to remove dried chicks.

“Mom,” Miss Yodeling said with hands on hips, “That chicks like a turtle on its back all the time!”

And so, we had a chicken named Turtle. Since she was the only one in the entire hatch that looked the way she did, she was easy to pick out. It turned out that Turtle was an Americana, or an Easter-egger, those that lay those beautiful green eggs.

Now Turtle was that one chicken that seemed to be more dog or cat than chicken. As she grew she never seemed to forget that we were mama hen. She would always be there to leap onto a lap no matter where a person would sit.

Chair, swing or step it didn`t matter. If you sat down outside, you had Turtle in your lap! And there she would stay, napping contentedly and muttering soft clucks as she dozed. Many a time I would peek out the kitchen window and see Miss Yodeling sitting on her swing with Turtle on her thighs, the chicken not seeming to mind being swung back and forth or having her ears talked off.

We had the pleasure of Turtle`s company for over eight years until she passed. To this day when any of us begin to talk about our chickens, Turtle is always mentioned with fondness. She was a delightful hen who gave us many, many years of enjoyment and tasty farm fresh eggs. And she may have had one of the most unique monikers on this farm!

Although there was Mr. & Mrs. Tookie-Bird, the guinea hens we once had…..


Brenda said...

Oh - What a wonderful story! And a wonderful chicken. I'm sure you have many fond memories of her.

houndstooth said...

I don't feel so bad about growing up with a sheep named Horny now! Thank you!

Mister Oz said...

What a feel good recollection, Feral.

small farm girl said...

What a sweet memory that you will have forever. Just wonderful.

Feral Female said...

She was a very special chicken that`s for sure!

Nezzy said...

What a sweet tale of your Turtle chick. Livin' among the critters we will just never run out of material to write about. Cackling here!!!!

God bless and have a glorious weekd!!!