Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken Dinner

(Click on photo to enlarge.)

When my grandma fed chickens she would sometimes hold food up in the air and make the chicken jump for it like the one is doing in the picture. Chickens were just part of daily life on our WV farm - they were just always around. Some darn rooster was always cockadoodledooing in the morning and waking me up. Their clucking and squawking was the background for anything going on outside.

They could fly and sometimes flew over the fence and into the yard surrounding the farmhouse and I had to chase them out. All animals were kept out of the fenced-in yard but had the rest of the 50 acres to wander. I'd go with grandma to feed them each day and also to collect eggs from their nests. In the spring there were soft fuzzy little chicks that I loved to pet and carry around.

The building in the back with the open door is where they'd roost at night on wooden poles up off the ground; the lower half of that building was where they had their nest boxes. They had comfy little wooden boxes about a foot off the floor and filled with hay where they lay their eggs. Sometimes you'd have to sneak eggs out from under a wary hen and she'd peck you on the wrist.

We had chicken practically every Sunday dinner. I would watch Grandpa chop the head off after which the headless chicken would run and flop around for a while (probably why I have nightmares), then Grandma would pluck out the feathers and light a newspaper on fire and singe any down left on the body. Then I'd watch her in the kitchen cutting it open, removing the insides and frying it up. Living off the land!

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