Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Food Theft, a Rooster Caper


I just drop-kicked a rooster.

I'd heard improbable Chanticleer-crowing by my front porch and found most of the flock scratching around in the flower beds for spring worms. Nice bucolic sight, hum? 

I've always enjoyed chickens; they're entertaining. They also produce eggs, and pretty rank but compost-able manure.

With this flock, I throw scraps over the fence and someone else mucks out their shed. Lovely.

They live back of my landlord's house, the rooster duet still in place. He can't give the trumpeting stew-pot candidates away--too much trouble to slaughter and pluck. Or not enough hunger, I guess.

He was not at home this morning when someone stole easier pickings, eggs, and left the gate to the chicken lot wide open.

I was thinking about the economy and hunger, herding the chickies, and what people will do when hungry enough, when the more obnoxious rooster flew up and spurred me in the leg.

I bellowed; shooed the critter away. The chickens are fed Monsanto GMO feed, maybe that makes them a bit more deranged, I'm thinking, when the rooster flew at me again. That's when boot met beast.

I went back for the broom and glared beady-eyed at the slightly reptilian eye of the scaly-legged rooster... Make my day... He tried a couple more feints; I brandished my weapon. Stumping along behind them, I latched the gate.

So, egg-stealing... what does that portend, if anything?

I've volunteered at the Food Pantry and there's a world of hurt out there, below the ski lifts and fabulous dining experiences.

Some may steal out of sloth; some to feed the hungry mouths of their human nestlings.

The matriarch of my Texas family told me about the little town where she and Mama grew up, back when times got rough. Everyone planted Victory Gardens, had chickens, pigs, a milk cow, if they could afford one.

People smoked hams and bacon, gathered wild plums and pecans, made crock pickles and filled the pantry with peach jam, succotash, dilly beans, dried limas and black-eyed peas.

And they fed folks who came to the door hungry.

After Pearl Harbor, she said, an army base went up near the town, for boot camp training of farm boys and street-smart big city kids and college kids, who'd signed up to fight on the Pacific and European fronts.

Before the recruits shipped out, their families traveled by train from all over the country to say what might be their last goodbye.

War time rationing had begun soon enough, but the little town welcomed those families, fed them, bedded them down in spare rooms, front porches and even chicken coops!

The rationing of food staples in war, and the hunger that swept the US Dust Bowl, occurred in still living memory, our family treasure of my aunt being one. Friends of my age had the opportunity to listen to Great Depression stories in childhood, when more of those folks were with us.

We may snicker at those who persisted in saving bits of string, and scraps of paper, and bored their Baby Boomer kids with old chestnuts like, Waste not, want not.

Some Baby Boomers are now homeless, after years of credit card whoopee, mortgage fraud and foreclosures. Some of the homeless are disabled Vets from the sandbox resource wars.

This may be a good year to plant a garden, find a community garden, build a hoop house, volunteer. And maybe keep an ear to the ground for mentors willing to teach us more useful skill sets, than we imagined we'd ever need.

Storyteller's book site: 
www.wayfaringtraveler.com

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