A parting gift from ‘The Girls’

By Grant McGee: Freedom columnist

I was enjoying my early morning bicycle commute to work and the sounds of birds of all kinds welcoming the dawn: Robins, mockingbirds, Western kingbirds, a rooster.

A rooster?

In town?

Sure you can have chickens in town…as long as your neighbors don’t care or animal control doesn’t come a-callin’.

We had in-town chickens for a while. I won’t say where or when, but they gave us really great eggs and manure for the organic garden.

We started out with three chicks. We were assured they were all hens.

One morning, I heard a noise that sounded like a choking toad. I looked out the window to see the big white chicken, Henrietta, practicing crowing.

Henrietta got her name changed to Henry and was shipped off to a farm out in the country. We never thought she was a rooster, we just knew she was kind of bossy.

That left us with Lucy and Ethel, named in honor of that famous television redhead and her pal.

Lucy was kind of shy but Ethel liked to have her back scratched. She would’ve made a good pet but I’ve heard that chickens don’t use litter boxes.

All good things come to an end. So it was with our in-town chickens.

Over time the chicken feed created a flock of super sparrows that made our backyard their messy home. We shipped Lucy and Ethel off to a guy outside of town who was seriously impressed at how big they were.

The next year we spread our bumper crop of chicken manure all over the garden. Part of what we fed “The Girls,” as we called them, were the leftovers of homegrown watermelons and tomatoes.

Volunteer tomato and watermelon plants popped up all over the garden patch that year, a parting gift from “The Girls.”