There were not too many things unusual about this particular Saturday in late May. It was sunny, warm with a slight breeze. The day started off like so many others had lately, with me having to go to work. Steve however, had left for his work-vacation at our cabin in Colorado and I was to spend the week home taking care of pets, working and not cooking dinner and cleaning for a week..in other words..a play week. ahem.
I rushed home from work anticipating going to the field and feeding Benny right away. We had fallen into the routine quite well. I would start making my way to the field all the while calling for him...."Benny......where is my Benny boy??" It never took long before I would see Benny running from what ever direction he had been scratching for a worm or bug. This day was different....
I called, and called and called.....there was no Benny running to greet me at all. I felt sick. I was so afraid something horrible had happened and Steve was gone and who was I going to get to make it all better? I surely had no courage to take care of a situation where Benny might be hurt or worse. I wanted to cry. I frantically propped open the gate to the field and practically ran into the open field searching every direction for my boy. Let me stress right here...I don't run...ever. I was so worried as to why was he not coming?? Where was he??
I glanced towards the big ole tree where he likes to roost in at night, and I saw a slight movement....he gingerly poked his head out of the brush but he was not running to me in greeting. He just sorta stood there and looked at me. With a huge sigh of relief I thought crazy rooster. However, I was not amused. I then became on edge as to what was keeping him from running towards me.
I walked carefully towards Benny and the tree. At first glance, I did not see a thing....but once I got up closer to the tree and climbed into the brush with my rooster, it became clear as to what had happened.
My sweet, devoted rooster turns out is just like a typical man of most species....I had been replaced by a red head!
Seems my neighbor and his friends, by this time, had made their way onto their back patio waiting on the "fall-out" from their shenanigans. They heard me calling Benny and most likely could not wait to see what my reaction would be. While I was at work anticipating spending time with my rooster when I got off work, my neighbor and his cronies went to the local Mexican flea market and purchase Benny a girlfriend. If you remember correctly, he chose the opportune moment to do this, when Steve was out of town and I was at work. He really went about it the "chicken" way...no pun intended.....
So....there high in the tree sat a scared as could be hen. Benny's hen. She was so skittish, and scared, I wondered if I'd ever befriend her or if it was possible. I really thought she would die right there in that tree. She eventually came out, but she seemed to undo all the progress I had made at trying to tame Benny with her very presence. He was so standoffish with me for a couple of weeks that I seriously thought about not bringing any more treat at feeding time. I guess he was trying to make a good impression on his new girl and he sure hurt my feelings while doing so.
I stood there, under that tree that Saturday afternoon staring up at that scared little hen and felt so sorry for her. My mind began to think of all kinds of things, as I am so prone to do. There was no telling where she had come from and what kind of life she had lived being sold at the Mexican flea market like she had.
I told her she was going to have to trust me and learn to like me and there was no other option. I talked to her for a good while so she would get used to my voice. I told her she had to have a name, and I thought Beatrice would be a good one. When I called her Beatrice, she just sorta gave me a bored blink of her eye....so I shortened it and told her that her name would be Betty for short. She turned her head and looked at me then, and made a little sound. I took that little sound as approval. I informed Betty she was safe with me, and Benny so she might as well come out of the tree. She did...but it took four days for her to do so. I have yet to find a single egg from her, so I don't know really if she is an older hen and was destined to be someone's Sunday dinner or not, ( again my wild imagination working) but now...she is living the life that only a chicken could dream about.
As I was walking back to my house that Saturday afternoon after leaving food and fresh water for my now, TWO chickens, I glanced over at my neighbor and his cronies who were just holding their breath on what I would do or say. Two of the guys did not even have the courage to look at me. I stopped and put my hands on my hips and shouted..."Really....a red head??.....you had to get a red head???!!!!" They busted out laughing and I tried to laugh too, but seriously, inside I felt a little worried. Now I had two lives to keep safe and alive, not just one.
Oh, and did I mention in the previous post...I absolutely know nothing about raising or keeping chickens! Let the adventures begin!! Stay tuned.....
A Secret Garden
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