Never in her wildest dreams did this city girl expect to live in the country.

But when she fell in love with Hubby, her world and life changed. He was a quiet and observant man. Unlike far too many folks who are uncomfortable within their skin and with silence, he spoke when he had something to say. That is not to say we did not have long conversations, but overall, he did not feel the need to yak without purpose.

We know a woman who managed to be everyone’s cross to bear. She needed to be the center of attention at all times. She could not stand the comforting sound of silence. To fill the momentary pause in a conversation, she would sigh. If she could not goad someone into talking, her sighs became louder.

As mentioned in past columns, Hubby grew up in the country and yearned to move out of suburbia. Once our offspring went off to college, he found a lovely piece of property and house far from the maddening crowd.

For his wife, the experience was not only enlightening, but she soon became a convert to the joys of country living.

He embraced country life. For example, each spring, he planted a vegetable garden that grew bigger and bigger every summer. They had more vegetables, especially okra than they could consume. Friends and co-workers became the beneficiaries of their produce abundance.

One day Hubby purchased a John Deere tractor. It was not unusual to see him sitting on that Green Thing, mowing the pastures for hours.

Then honey bees moved in. They were a stinging nuisance. Going near the garage and up our driveway was like running the gauntlet of angry bees. After a local beekeeper removed and relocated the bees, Hubby considered raising bees. His sneaky wife contacted several beekeepers to find out what that hobby entailed.

Not only was it an expensive prospect, but even the professional beekeepers felt the stings of bees, often. His wife passed on the information and also pointed out she is allergic to bee and wasp stings. Eventually, he chose to forgo the stinging joys of beekeeping. Then Hubby decided on his next project, raising chickens (40+ to be exact).

After he passed, it was his wife who had to care and feed those cackleberry-laying fowls. Summer and winter, rain or shine, those cluckers need attention. Eventually, the former city girl settled into her role as chicken tender.

Several months ago, those randy roosters finally managed to knock up one of the hens. Following a prolonged nest sitting stint (about 21 days), a black chick hatched (gender as yet undetermined). It was louder than the rest of the flock combined, except for the occasional rooster crowing, but the babe kept escaping from the coop.

This reluctant farmer spent countless minutes chasing that bloody escape artist around the yard. She never could catch the chick, and would eventually give up on the chase, saying, “If you die, it’s on you.” But at some point, it would always manage to find its way back into the coop.

It was after one such non-productive chase; this writer named the chick Houdini.

The last time Houdini escaped and its keeper could not catch it; the frustrated chicken tender decided to take drastic action.

She looked for all the possible sites Houdini could escape. Then, the determined lady grabbed leather gloves, a wheelbarrow, and a shovel. She filled that farming contraption with three or four loads of small rocks used to spread on the driveway. Then she filled in the escape holes and hoped Houdini would stay put.

Now Houdini and Hubby’s chicken-raising project is her unwanted burden. The upside is the cluckers keep her and anyone who visits in fresh eggs.

If Houdini escapes again, this lady is building a moat around the coop. Perhaps then the fowl Houdini will go the way of the human one.

 

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