|Posted on March 19, 2016 at 9:55 AM|
Collecting eggs with grandma was my favorite chore. She had four chicken coupes that housed her treasured hens. It took me several visits to the chicken coupes to adjust to the smell of these feathered creatures. Grandpa had placed four dozen boxes along the walls of the chicken coupe .Each box was filled with straw. Grandma said chickens lay more eggs when they are comfortable.
Grandma never named her hens. Yet, she knew which hens were docile and which ones defended their home by pecking her hands. After watching grandma, she gave me the total responsibility to collect the eggs without her help. I felt honored to graduate to this level of trust. Most of the time, I was successful. Yet, grandma’s nasty hen enjoyed flying into my face to frighten me. Sometimes, this resulted in dropping the an egg in my hand. I was afraid to tell grandma, but she was always forgiving. After a couple confrontations with grandma’s mean hen, she said, “I think we will name that hen— Miss Nasty. Grandma always examined my wounds and assisted with washing my hands after chicken chores. With a big smile, grandma always assured me I would grow stronger.
In the fall, I learned the procedure of dressing chickens. It had nothing to do with putting clothes on chickens. When grandpa walked into the chicken coupe with his sharp axe, I realized where fried chicken came from. I became sad. Now I understood why grandma never named her chickens. Before Grandpa started, he looked at me and gave me a wink. Then grandpa picked up the nasty chicken and proceeded to the chopping block. I nodded. I did not watch.
My time on the farm with grandma taught me the life lessons. They were:
- Responsibility: To feed and protect animals.
- Cleanliness: Keep animals/chickens clean to prevent diseases.
- Health Safety: Wash your hands and wounds to stay germ free.
- The Life Cycle: Raising chickens from eggs to fried chicken.
- Positive Reactions: Accidents will occur —stay calm and supportive.
- Teach by Example.
Thank you grandma.
Grand daughter & Author Joyce Yexley