As flour is than main ingredient in bread, chickens are the main ingredient in any farm or homestead. Easy to care for, they provide eggs and meat for our table and endless hours of pleasure and enjoyment. Let’s start with eggs. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, sunny side up eggs. Deviled eggs, Easter eggs, hard-boiled pickled eggs. These are so many ways to prepare an egg, not to mention they are also used in many recipes for cakes and casseroles.
How about the chicken, also known as the Baptist Bird? Well, at the top of the list is fried chicken, of course, but whether you fry it, bake it, roast it, boil it, or grill it, chicken is a main staple on any farm table, especially for Sunday dinner. Think of all the delicious parts. Breasts, legs, thighs, and wings. I prefer dark meat myself, so I always reach for a leg and a thigh. But there are a few other parts, not quite as popular, but every bit as tasty. Necks, hearts, gizzards, and livers. I absolutely love fried chicken livers. Give me a bowl of fried chicken livers, a bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce, and an ice-cold Coke and I’ve got a meal that would look proud sitting beside any Texas-sized T-bone steak.
Add a rooster to your flock and now you have a sustainable flock (and an alarm clock). In the spring and summer, you will be able to enjoy watching a mother hen clucking to her clutch of babies, scratching in the dirt, teaching them how to look for food. Nothing is sweeter or more precious than a fuzzy baby chick. You can NOT hold a baby chick and NOT smile. It is good medicine for the soul.
Years ago, I guess back in the depression years, chickens were often stolen. Snuffy Smith, a hillbilly character in our Sunday comics is often depicted running from the Sheriff with a chicken in his sack. It was such a problem, even songs were written about chicken thievery. Below is one of my favorites.
Roost Behind the Moon
Boy, did you ever do anything like stealing chickens?
Oh chicken, oh chicken, you may go up in a balloon
Chicken, chicken, you may hide behind the moon, doggone you now
Chicken, I never let a fowl be
Ten thousand dollar warrant for the fowl on earth, he don’t roost too high for me
I got to thinking ‘bout chicken, late the other night, man, I couldn’t hardly rest
I jumped out the bed, grabbed up my old shoes, thought of where some chicken was at
I grabbed big buffcoat, stuck him under my arm, something I never let fall
I don’t think I’ve robbed your henhouse til I get your roost, poor chicken and all
Ah that chicken made me awful mad the other night, man, that’s something I didn’t like to take
I grabbed my little haversack and down across my back, grabbed the chicken right by the neck
Said I turned around, quick as I could, a chicken hauled away I declare
I won’t steal meat and bread outta the cook’s pot, I’ll steal a chicken from anywhere
Ah that police arrest me last Friday night, you couldn’t think of what’s it about
I’m going down the alley where I lived at, a lot of chicken tied in my house
I say, you may carry me to the pen’tentiary wall, I’ll go to work out my time
And just as quick you put me on the L&N track, I’ll have chickens on my mind
“Steal a chicken if you get a chance, Huck, because if you don’t want it, someone else does and a good deed ain’t never forgotten.” ~ Mark Twain