Today was a big day on the farm. One of the Maude's laid her first egg! Im not one to over sentimentalize or post pictures of every day happenings to try and bring meaning to them, but I experienced this as a miracle of sorts. I truly never thought I would see a day when I raised a chicken from birth to then one day have them provide me with the life giving gift of food. Every day on the farm feels like a series of miracles and joys that this city kid never thought she would get to participate in. I'm just feeling thankful, and wish I knew which Maude it was so I could pat her fuzzy bum for a job well done and welcome her into the world of womanhood. Dear God, It's Me, Maude...sorry, couldn't help the reference of a classic coming of ovulation tale.
Our friend Paul Pastor is a writer and one of our closest friends, along with the whole Pastor clan. When we moved to our property, they gave us the money to buy our first flock of chickens as a gift. Paul also wrote a story to go along with the gift, and inadvertently named our laying chickens for all time. Here is the story:
The Maud Squad
To begin with, you should know that a polite chicken never uses another hen's proper name around the coop. Of course she'd rarely need to - usually just the tilt of a yellow eye or a sharp squawk is communication enough for stabbing grubs or boasting of fat eggs or warning off the neighbor's dog who you know is slavering for your pullets. For gossip and bullying weak or stupid hens, there is cackling and heavy breathing and gurgles and stretching out one's neck.
This made it convenient for the hens on the little farmstead off the Barlow trail, because through some oversight or undersight, four of their names were (in alphabetical order):
Unable to read of course, the Maud Squad never even knew that their names were different at all from one another. It was as if a small flock of Jennifers or Brittanys had gathered cliquishly in a high school. Names were never needed when they were together. They were never apart. Thus, through the unflappable logic of chickens, names were never needed.
So, that difference in spelling never was a point of either interest or conversation for Maud, Maude, Mod, and Modd. They merely lived their days as rich and regal hens should - picking the earth for fat, squirming meals, shaking their thick tails at the rooster, and laying eggs, dozens of rich eggs barely able to be bragged about before the humans carted them off - undoubtedly to hatch them for themselves, since humans, as all chickens know, can't lay for themselves.
The names of the clique were, however a source of confusion, entertainment, frustration, and slowly spelled sentences for years as Allison and Luke, day by day, watched the sun (orange, like a rich yolk) circle and circle and circle the coop on the happy little farm.