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  • Writer's pictureTina

Feathered Rebels

Gertrude the Second plotting her attack

I am waging war against my chickens, except for Jordan Short; she is a delight. However, Mean Martha, Gertrude the Second, Rosemary, and Clara had better watch out. This band of rogue fowl has crossed boundaries with me, and they just keep pushing the line. You see, dear reader, I am not a gardener. I don't like to have dirt under my nails. I don't like bugs beneficial or nefarious. I don't like to pull weeds or dig holes. However, this year I have planted flowers in all my various containers, and for the past month, I have kept these flowers alive. That is until the above band of rebel egg producers got involved.

My chickens are free-range birds. As soon as the sun rises, their little chicken door is opened, and they are free to roam the entire farm. Lately, four of my girls have taken to hanging out in my newly planted containers. I have two sets of washtubs on stands, two large planters standing guard at the steps, and an old-fashioned large basket that sits under a tree near the house. One of the sets of washtubs is on my porch, just outside my kitchen door. I have planted all the containers with a mix of inpatients, coleus, and something that resembles lavender but isn't. They were doing beautifully, and I was pretty impressed with my gardening abilities.

You see, dear reader, up until a few years ago, I could not keep a plant alive if my life depended upon it. I inevitably would forget to water it, and then when it looked like it was on its death bed, water it only to drown it and finally finish it off. It's cruel, really. However, I read an article that plants, when denied water, make high-pitched screams that are undetectable to the naked human ear. This article made me think of all the plants I have slowly killed over the years, and I felt horrible. I believe in the plant world; I probably have some sort of nickname like PTK (Plant, Torture, Kill) or Tina Bundy. I am a serial killer of plants.

I have worked diligently to rehabilitate myself, and this year, I was having great success. Those scorching hot days when temps were in the 90's, I was up and watering my plants before they could bake. The thistle that seems to grow everywhere has been pulled and burnt to stop its spread. I even bought miracle grow and write on my calendar when I need to feed my plants. I have even begun to compliment the plants on their foliage and flowers. It's true; everyone likes a compliment. I was feeling pretty good about my diligence and performance; until those plant-destroying chickens began their assault.

Seriously, what did I ever do to Mean Martha? I know she's the ring leader. I give them treats daily. They have all their needs met and more. I talk to them in a respectful tone, keep their coop clean, and thank them for their lovely eggs. Overall, I am a pretty good chicken mom. However, they have made my porch plantings the focus of their attacks. These attacks are multifaceted. Not only do they kill my pampered plants, but they spread dirt everywhere AND they poop. I have chicken poop on my porch. These ladies know this is unacceptable behavior, and they throw all socially acceptable behavior to the wind and poop where they please. It's barbaric.

My tender inpatients are reduced to mere stubby stalks. My beautiful coleus is looking shredded and sickly. The pretty purple plant that looks like lavender but isn't looks weak and sickly. I keep a broom on my porch near the front door. Like a stereotypical crazy farm woman, I chase these rebels from my planters multiple times a day. They have no conscience. They don't even care that I reprimand them and call them bad chickens. They are the bad seed of the flock. Mean Martha had best watch her P's and Q's, or she will end up in a soup pot. I may just make an example out of her. I could put her head in the nesting box as a message to the rest of the rebels: This is what happens if you mess with the Mother Clucker. Sigh. I've watched too many mobster movies.

I am destined never to have pretty flowers. It's karma. Instead of appreciating my attempts to change my serial killer ways, karma gives me plant-killing chickens and chicken poop on my porch. Sigh. It's true what they say about karma. I hope, dear reader, karma is kind to you. As always, stay safe, be smart, water your plants, and keep washing your hands.

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