The Chicken Chronicles: To Infinity And Beyond
To Borrow from Winnie the Pooh
Ah, what a classic that was; what an enjoyable read it is. Such simplicity in the works of Milne; such complexity in the works of Milne.
Obviously I’m a fan of Winnie the Pooh. I just wish I could write as well as the author of that classic series. Sigh! Oh well, we all do what we can do.
I was thinking about Winnie this morning and the setting for that book series. The Hundred Acre Wood….such a mysterious name….such an adventurous name….such a perfect name. I was thinking I needed a setting like that for my Chicken Chronicles series, but we don’t have one hundred acres; we only have one backyard within the city, and calling our setting the Ten Thousand Square Foot Wood just didn’t have the same appeal. Besides, there are no woods in our backyard. Sigh!
Well, I’ll keep thinking about it and maybe something will come to me. Perhaps one of you reading this will think of the perfect name for my setting and save me any further angst.
But let’s move on, shall we?
For those of you who somehow missed the six installments of this series already written, shame on you; allow me to give you a little background.
Setting the Stage
We have six chickens in the middle of the city of Olympia, Washington. We are allowed five but you know how I feel about those pesky little laws that were meant to be broken. Do you really expect a former Sixties radical to stop at five simply because Big Brother says to stop? Of course not!
Again, for those who somehow missed the first six installments, and shame on you for doing so, our six chickens are named Butterball, Butch, Regalia, Zorro, Minerva and Penelope. Yes, two of those names have a slightly male connotation, but please don’t mention that when you are around the girls. They are perfectly happy with their names and I see no reason to ruffle their feathers over such silliness.
Our flock has free-run of our backyard. We began by fencing them in an enclosure attached to their coop, but we simply could not bring ourselves to figuratively clip their wings and limit their mobility, so we opened up the enclosure and now they are free to poop on the deck, the garden or the lawn….and poop they do, with frequency and gusto.
I was watching them the other day and a rather remarkable thing happened….but I prefer to let them tell the story. Shhh, let’s peek in and see what is happening.
Did you really miss this one?
- The Chicken Chronicles: Butch Teaches Us All About The Value of Hard Work
Welcome once again to our backyard chicken coop. We hope you enjoy the visit as you get to know another of our chickens.
In case you missed it
- The Chicken Chronicles: Penelope Teaches Us About Forgiveness
The last in our series about six very enjoyable chickens living the life of ease in our backyard.
The Story Unfolds
It was a lovely day in the Ten Thousand Square Foot Yard (terrible name for sure). The sun was shining and the promise of Spring was in the air. The robins had returned, the worms were sunning themselves and all was well. Butterball spied several of her friends looking to the east and waddled over the join them.
“What are y’all looking at,” she asked as she nibbled on a beetle.
Regalia, she of the crooked beak and remarkable speed, took the reins of the conversation. “We were just watching Minerva over there. She has been standing in front of the neighbor’s fence and staring off into space. We were just wondering what that silly bird was doing.”
Butterball just shook her head. She despised gossip, although, truth be told, she could gossip with the best of them. “Well why don’t we just go over there and ask Minerva what she is looking at?”
The group thought that sounded reasonable, so they all quickly lost interest in pill bugs and beetles and scurried over to the fence line. On the way it was decided that Zorro should ask Minerva what she was doing since Zorro was Minerva’s best friend. Arriving at the Scene of Questionable Behavior, Zorro (she of the glamour-girl looks) dove in with both feet. “Minerva, what in the name of all that is holy are you doing? Why aren’t you digging for morsels with the rest of us?”
“Oh, hi girls,” Minerva said. “I was just looking at the next yard over and wondering what delicious bugs we might find over there.”
“But Minerva,” said Penelope, she of the ever-present fear of adventure. “We can’t go over to the next yard. We don’t know what dangers await us over there. We are safe here and this is where we should stay.” The rest of the chickens thought this sounded likewise counsel and all nodded their heads in agreement.
Minerva, however, was undeterred. “Seriously, girls, that is just silly thinking. How are we ever going to know our potential if we simply turn away from obstacles?
Butch (she of the plump body and gentle nature) was violently shaking her head. “Minerva, that’s easy for you to say. You look like a hawk. You are the best flier among us. If there is danger over there you are capable of flying back here to safety. But what about me? I can barely get off of the ground. If somehow I did manage to fly over that fence, I might not ever get back here, and if I can’t get back here then I will be eaten alive by Rocky Racoon at nightfall. I absolutely will not stand for such foolishness.”
The rest of the flock again thought this sounded wise and they again bobbed their heads in agreement, sending their wattles flying with the aforementioned bobbing.
Minerva grew quiet for a moment as she thought of the advice she had been given. She knew her friends were just looking out for her, and she loved them for it, but she couldn’t live her life according to the standards and beliefs of others. Bill and Bev raised her to spread her wings and fly. They raised her to take chances and never accept the status quo. There was no way she could simply sit still and not try.
With that she flapped her wings and rose majestically from the ground, landing gently and ever-so gracefully on the top of the fence.
Minerva's favorite song
The Story Continues
Shrieks of fear and bellows of outrage followed. “Minerva, for the love of God, get down from there,” shouted Regalia.
“Minerva, you have lost your mind, girl,” cried Butterball. “Get your sleek butt back over here before some hawk flies overhead and sees you.”
Minerva looked down on her friends, then turned to face the next yard, spread her wings and flew.
“Oh, she will die!”
“Please, please, Bill, Bev, come help Minerva!”
“Someone call 911, quick! Minerva is in danger.”
But Minerva could not be bothered with such foolishness. She was much too busy exploring the new yard and filling herself with the delectable morsels all around her. “The food is great over here, girls,” she said. “You really have to try this new bug I found. So tender, so juicy, so delicious.”
Some time passed, and eventually the apprehension and fear subsided, and the rest of the flock settled back and watched as Minerva The Brave continued to explore the outer reaches of her new world.
“I don’t see any hawks, girls,” said Regalia. “Minerva doesn’t seem to be in danger at all.”
“No,” said Zorro. “In fact, she seems to be enjoying herself.”
“Well I’ll be,” said Butch.
Within an hour four more chickens sat atop that fence looking at this strange, new world. All were there but Butch, she of the ever-increasing waistline and inability to rise off of the ground. Finally Minerva flapped her wings and gracefully flew back to her own yard. She walked over to Butch, plump, anxious Butch, and handed her a nice, squiggly, squirmy worm. “This is for you, Butch. Maybe tomorrow we can practice your flying so you can join me. But in the meantime, I’ll bring you back stuff whenever I go over there. How would that be?”
“Oh Minerva, that would be wonderful. Do you really think I can fly?”
“Butch, I think you can do anything that you set your mind on doing, and I’ll always be by your side to help if you need me.”
Throughout the neighborhood could be heard shouts of glee. Hip, Hip, Hooray they all shouted. All for one and one for all, the shouting continued. To infinity and beyond they clucked.
Now All I Need Is That Location Name
I hope you enjoyed the story, and I hope you will all help me with that setting name. The Ten Thousand Square Foot Yard just will not do. Our girls deserve a much better name than that for their habitat, wouldn’t you agree?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)