Wednesday, June 25, 2014
There’s never a dull moment at Crazy Acres.
That’s what I call our home because A) It’s rural and B) Life here is… crazy.
First things first: I like everything about living in the country except living in the country. And by that I mean I love the sense of small-town community. I love having neighbors who are both tolerant and helpful, and I love the fried chicken at the local Stop & Spend. (I just made that up. Want to buy a franchise?)
I love living in a fairy tale cottage with a red door, a white picket fence, an old oak tree and rose bushes blooming everywhere. I love shopping in a family-owned general store that sells live crickets, wine and Carolina Girl shirts.
What I don’t love is that the fairy tale cottage, the neighbors, the fried chicken and the crickets are located at least 30 miles from what I want to do, which is hang out in Charleston.
But one can’t have everything: If I moved to Mount Pleasant, I doubt the neighbors would appreciate me walking the dog in my husband’s boxer shorts and a tofu-stained Lou Reed t-shirt. (If I wear that out here passing drivers wave politely, but you know they’re thinking, “Widdle’s wife is a hot mess.”)
Anyway, back to the latest happenings at Crazy Acres. We’ve had our roosters, Ben and Jerry, for a year now, and they are HUGE. Their bronze and white bodies are huge. Their feet are huge. Their spurs and combs are huge. Every visitor says the same thing: “Those birds are HUGE.” Picture Godzilla with feathers; that’s how big they are. When they stand next to our overgrown, long-legged Lab Molly, she looks like a beagle.
We couldn’t figure out why these guys were getting so large on a diet of cracked corn and the occasional granola bar. (What? It’s whole grain.)
Then one day last week Widdle started shouting from his bathroom. I don’t know about you, but when a man starts yelling in the bathroom, I go the other way. Don’t need to know. But he burst into the living room and said, “They’re eating Molly’s food!”
I said, “Who?” wondering if the neighborhood kids had a new hobby.
“Ben and Jerry!’ he bawled.
“Are you sure?” I asked, because Molly has an automatic feeder. When she nudges a small spring-loaded door inward, food spills out. A chicken, even one as big as Ben or Jerry, isn’t heavy enough to push the door. It takes strength. But when Widdle looked out his bathroom window at the shed that houses her feeder, guess what?
“They’re working together,” he hissed. “I saw them! They get on either side and press the bottom of the door at the same time, until food falls out! No wonder they’re huge! No wonder Molly is losing weight! No wonder I’ve been spending 100 dollars a month on dog food!!!!!”
Molly’s food is a special formula, with lots of vitamins and extra protein. And our roosters have apparently been merrily eating, and growing excessively large on it, for a year. Now Widdle has jerry-rigged the feeder, and they can’t use it any more. Which they are not happy about.
This morning, Ben marched up the back steps and started banging on the storm door with his beak. I know because I was on the other side of the storm door watching him. The gravy train is gone and he’s ticked.
Just another day at Crazy Acres.
Julie R. Smith, who is being held hostage by her roosters, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.