Archives for April 2011
My first job in Portland was as a cook and baker at a popular breakfast cafe. This was ten years ago. I had long hair, which I usually wore in two braids. I wore t-shirts and old Levis.
It’s safe to say I made a positive impression on the produce delivery guy. He’d come in on Tuesday mornings and not stop grinning at me as he unloaded boxes of tomatoes, peppers and fruits. One day, he offered me a free pineapple. A tropical fruit kick-back, if you will.
My first though was to reject it. Not on any moral grounds, I just don’t really care for pineapple. But then I remembered that Ben likes it. So I took it for him.
Only, when I got home and handed Ben the pineapple and told him the story, he refused to eat it.
He was furious that someone would be offering me free produce. There could be only one motivation.
The offending fruit sat in the fridge for several weeks, rotting, until finally I threw it out.
And though I didn’t really understand why he wouldn’t eat it, I found it — and still find it — strangely romantic. And I like to think that if the same thing were to happen today with say, a muskmelon, that Ben would still refuse to eat it.
I’m starting a new occasional series: Ben stories. Because my husband is hilarious and wonderful, and you guys don’t even know.
It took serious restraint for me not to buy more chickens this spring. Every time I head to my local farm store, there are oodles of fluffy rare breed chicks for the taking. I would love to get a Brahma and a Buff Orpington. I have a thing for the Speckled Hamburg Hen.
But, we already have five chickens. They provide plenty of eggs. Our run is only so big. More chickens would mean free ranging or building a bigger run. Since we’re sick of chicken crap on the hardscape, and we’re too lazy to build a bigger run, I’ve held back on more birds. Until…
Thursday, I got a call from Ben.
“Hey, do we want a free Jersey Giant?” he casually asked.
“Huh? Is this Buster’s chicken? Is it a hen?” Buster used to work with Ben. He started keeping chickens around the same time we did and got a bit over-zealous. More than me, even.
“Yeah, Andre’s sister.” Buster wanted to give us a hen that was from the same batch as our dear departed hen/rooster, Andre.
“Why does he want to get rid of her?”
“He says he has too many chickens.” He was up to eight chickens on a small city lot. Naturally, he wanted to give away the one that eats the most.
“Yeah, I guess, if she’s healthy.”
So, a chicken has now fallen into our laps, so to speak. Not that you’d want to hold the new chicken in your lap. For one thing, she’d crap on you. And for another, she’s huge. She makes our other chickens look like bantams.
The Jersey Giant breed is known as the “gentle giant.” So far, this has proven quite accurate. She gave me no trouble when I scooped her up and plopped her in a solitary cage in the coop. (New chickens must be introduced slowly and carefully, or they will fight.) She has put up no resistance against Henny Penny, who has mercilessly pounced on her at every opportunity.
My mother-in-law expressed curiosity at how Henny Penny would react to Andre’s sister. Henny Penny and Andre were raised from chicks together and were close companions. Deb seemed to think Henny Penny would feel a kinship — a connection — to the new girl. Ben said she must be thinking of dolphins; chickens don’t play like that.
The other chickens have left the new girl alone. Which means, if Henny Penny keeps this nonsense up, she’s the one who’ll end up in solitary for a few days.
I foresee another summer of chicken poop on the patio. And lots of omelets.