Tuesday, April 26, 2011

First Natural-born Citizen of the Tallahatchie Free State

The Colonel now has first hand knowledge of the veracity of the saying, "One should not count their chickens before they hatch."

One of the Colonel's hens went, as they say, "broody" nearly four weeks ago.  With a little help from her sisters, Silvia, so named for a speckling of silver in her speculum feathers, quickly amassed a mound of eggs and assumed the setting position. 

Once a hen assumes the position, she is pretty much there for the duration.  And, supposedly, the duration of incubation for a Rhode Island Red egg is 21 days.

So, Silvia set.  Not sat.  Set.  

The Colonel feels positively farmerish usin' the farm lingo.

"Yup," he tells his friends and neighbors, "Ah gotta hen settin' on a whole mound'a aigs.  Gonna have me a huge hen herd, now."  

And, Silvia set.

And, she set some more.

That hen set right there on that mound of eggs, unmovable, day and night, rain and shine.

Pine stump unmovable.

War protester unmovable.

Twenty-one days passed.  Twenty-two.  Twenty-three.  Twenty-four.

The Colonel checked and re-checked the calendar. 

Twenty-five days passed.

Just about the time the Colonel had decided to take ol' Smedley the rooster in to the vet for a fertility check, one egg hatched.

You have got to be kiddin' the Colonel!  Silvia is setting on a mound of eggs the height of which rivals that of an early Egyptian step pyramid and only one egg hatches?  

Luckily, the Colonel's hen herd egg production costs have decreased steadily over the past several months and the cost per egg is now down to just shy of their weight in silver, so the investment only rivals the GDP of, say, Luxembourg.

Everything here on the farm (and the Colonel uses that term more loosely than a newborn's diaper deposit) gets a name.  Every piece of machinery, every bend in the creek, every hen in the herd has a proper name.  The new chick was hatched on Good Friday.

It's name is Friday.

This morning another egg hatched.  The Hope of 21st Century Civilization, dashes 1 and 2 (H21CC, -1 & -2) were in attendance, peering impatiently over the rim of the brooder box, as the newest member of the Eegeebeegee Egg Production Platoon struggled to free itself from its shell.  The Colonel turned to H21CC-1 and asked him, "What should we name this one."

"I dunno, Pop," he answered.  "What day is it?"
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