Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Chicken Wrangling... Not for the faint of heart.

It's been a while since my last post, because life is busy, and I haven't made writing here a priority... A little over a week ago, I had an experience that made me decide it was time to make time.

As with almost every story I tell, there are back stories that must be told first.  

We begin with how I feel about birds.  I'm pretty sure that I've gone on record on this very blog about my feeling on birds.  I am not a fan.  Unless they are being served to me for a meal, I'm not a fan of birds.  I don't want to have them as pets. EVER.  

Secondly, about 18 years ago I found myself needing to trap some feral kittens to relocate them to a new home from where they were currently staying.  My sister and I were trying our hardest to catch them, but they were quite resistant to the idea.  We finally decided that all the cartoons we had watched as children had been onto something great with the box propped up with a string tied around it, and the treat under the box to lure the hapless victim in.  We didn't have a box handy, but we did have a laundry basket.  We placed a can of tuna under the laundry basket propped up with a stick, with a string tied around the stick and waited for the kittens to appear.  It took a few tries, and there were a number of scratches sustained by both of us, but in the end we had 3 kittens loaded in a cat carrier and off to their eventual homes.  One of those kittens still lives at my parents' house, and he still has trust issues with my sister and I all these years later.

Now we fast forward to a week ago.  My sister is on vacation and our friend Heidi is taking care of all her animals.  Heidi messages me and says that she just got a message that Enzo, one of Kimberly's dogs, and two of her chickens are out of the fence.  She was leaving work and headed there right away, and I told her I'd meet her there.  I got there, and Enzo was already back inside, thanks to the friend who first alerted us to the situation.  The chickens, Martha and Ruby Roundhouse, were both in the front yard.  I went and got some chicken food, and then sat down in the yard and called them, and shook some food out into a plastic sled that I found.  

Luckily, my sister and I sound so much alike that the chickens came right over to me when I called them.  Unfortunately, they were a little smarter than I gave them credit for and they figured out, just out of arms reach, that I was not my sister and they wouldn't come any closer.  When Heidi arrived, we were not sure what to do, but we thought maybe we could double team them and come at them from either side and catch them.  But as I already mentioned, they were smarter than I anticipated, and they kept getting away from us.  We crawled through bushes and spiderwebs, and who knows what else, but those damn chickens kept getting away.  Finally I decided it was time to try the old laundry basket and stick trick again.  I went inside the house and found a basket.  Then I located a short piece of pipe, and a dog leash.  I had all the components for my fool proof chicken trap, I was ready to assemble it.  I got in the general vicinity where the chickens were hanging out, and we put the plan in motion.  

I set my trap, and then shook the cup of chicken feed, and sprinkled some under the basket.  Martha (or maybe it was Ruby, who knows which one is which, they're chickens, they look the same) headed over to the basket and started to go right under it for the food.  And then she changed course, and knocked my trap over, and then became wise to my tricks. 

Heidi and I realized that our chicken trap wasn't going to work, so we changed tactics again.  At this point I feel like I should mention it was over 80° outside and we were hot and less than pleased about the chicken shenanigans.  We began the double teaming again.  This time Heidi was armed with the plastic saucer sled, and I was armed with the laundry basket.  Apparently everything I need to know in life I learned from cartoons.  I kept trying to sneak up behind a chicken with the overturned basket in my hands ready to drop it on the chicken like the game MouseTrap.  And Heidi was blocking their path from the other direction with the sled.  

Well Folks, cartoons lie. And sadly, as the end of my 41st year draws to a close, I had to come to grips with the knowledge that these things I'd held to be indisputable truths my whole life were just fiction.  I didn't give up easily though.  I kept chasing chickens through the bushes, and getting who knows what stuck in my hair, and scratches on my legs. As I was becoming more and more certain of the fact that I was going to be preparing chicken for dinner and that I wouldn't feel at all bad about it, Ruby decided to just go back into the yard, under the fence, the same way she came out.

I know that one was Ruby, because my son named these chickens after characters in the new Jumanji, and Ruby Roundhouse was a total bad ass.  And when this chicken decided to just go back in by herself, I knew that it had to be Ruby because that was a bad ass thing to do.  A few minutes later Martha decided she would go back inside too.  At this point I blocked off where they had gotten out. 

So, if anyone was driving by my sister's house on that Monday afternoon, and they saw two frazzled women crawling around in bushes and yelling at chickens, that may or may not have been visible from the road, you need not worry.  There was in fact a good explanation.  And for any Kids in the Hall fans out there, it was not two clearly insane people, the Sizzler Sisters were not in Blaine that day.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Story of Bumpie Pumpkin...

Ok, to make this story make sense, you have to understand that my son calls my sister "Bumpie," and not "Auntie."  This came from a mis-typed word in a text on an old T9 phone, where I was trying to type "Auntie" and I hit 286743 instead of 286843 and it changed Auntie to Bumpie.  My sister thought it was really funny, and told me, "I've decided that when you have kids they will call me Bumpie." A couple years later, along came Andrew, and thus began Bumpie.

Another thing to know is that my son forms attachments to things that you wouldn't think he might... Getting rid of clothes and toys is quite an ordeal because everything is "my favorite," or "it's so important to me Momma!"

On his pre-school field trip to the pumpkin patch, he got a small pumpkin, and he was instantly very attached to it.  Then at his friend's birthday party we also got some more pumpkins from their patch.  He got 2 medium sized pumpkins and 1 very small one. When he brought them home, he and his Dad decorated them. We didn't carve them, they just drew faces on them.  Andrew named them Mommy Pumpkin, Daddy Pumpkin, and Baby Pumpkin.  They lived on my dining room table for a week or so.

Halloween arrived, and I noticed that Mommy Pumpkin, and Daddy Pumpkin were starting to rot, and being as they lived on my table, I decided it was time for them to go. I took them out and dumped them in the yard waste bin, and didn't think anything of it.

Later on, Andrew noticed their absence and asked where they went.  I told him they had started to rot and I threw them away.  Apparently I should have phrased it in a kinder gentler manner.  My poor son started to cry.  It wasn't just a little crying either, it was full on crying with lots of tears, sobs, and asking "Who is going to take care of Baby Pumpkin now?"

I tried to calm him down and tell him that everything was just fine, and that Baby Pumpkin would survive just fine.  He was not buying that. I was not about to bring the rotting pumpkins back inside, so I knew that I had to come up with an idea, and fast because the tears were not stopping.

Suddenly an idea came to me, and I dashed off to my pantry and retrieved a butternut squash.  Luckily I had one on hand, and I know that squash can last for several months in the pantry.  I grabbed it and said, "Hey Buddy, look who I have! This is Baby Pumpkin's Auntie Squash, and she will take care of Baby Pumpkin now."

He was a little uncertain at first, but then he and his Dad drew a face on her, and I was really trying to talk up Auntie Squash.  I said, "She is Baby Pumpkin's Bumpie!" Andrew decided that she should be called "Bumpie Squash."  Dad and I agreed, happy to have the tears and the agony come to an end.  He decided that Baby Pumpkin, and Bumpie Squash should live up in his room where he could keep an eye on them and know that they were safe.  Later on that evening, he decided that since squash and pumpkins are related, Bumpie Pumpkin had a nicer ring to it.  

Bumpie Pumpkin

Baby and Bumpie Pumpkins

Andrew, finally happy now that we had a happy resolution to the situation.  You can see his eyes were still a little puffy, and there might even be tear tracks still.

So the Pumpkin Family settled into his room, and a few days later he started asking me what was going to happen to Bumpie Pumpkin.  Was I going to throw her away too?  Not it, her.  I explained that Bumpie Pumpkin could stay for awhile and take care of Baby Pumpkin, but eventually that would come to an end, and I was going to take Bumpie Pumpkin and use it for the intended purpose before it was too late.  He asked me what that meant, and being as I strive to be as honest as possible with my son, I told him that meant I was going to cook Bumpie Pumpkin some day.

Every day for the next week or so he would ask me, "Are you going to cook Bumpie Pumpkin today Momma?"  And I kept telling him no, not today.  After a few days, he said, "Ok Mom, you can cook her now." I told him that I didn't need a squash yet, so he could keep Bumpie Pumpkin a while longer.  Then after a few more days, he rescinded the offer and cooking Bumpie Pumpkin was off the table again. 

Well, flash forward to Wednesday night of this week, and we got a box from Blue Apron.  I opened it up and the meal we were making that night had a roasted butternut squash. I washed it and had it sitting next to the cutting board, and was getting ready to start cooking, and Andrew walks into the kitchen and says, "IS THAT BUMPIE PUMPKIN???? ARE YOU COOKING HER???" (Again "her" not it." I said, "No, it's not Bumpie Pumpkin, it's a different squash."  He demands, "WHERE IS SHE???"  I told him she was safe over on the buffet by the windows.  He ran off to check on her. 

I have a feeling that I am going to end up throwing away the Pumpkin Family some night while he is sleeping, and then telling him that they moved to a farm upstate somewhere.