Hey Good Lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?

The last couple of times I’ve cooked, one or both of the boys has thanked me. I suppose I could twist this around and say that I’m a great mom because I’ve taught my kids gratitude to the point where they even thank me for providing for their basic needs, but…..

I’m pretty sure that the fact that my kids thank me for completing a task that the majority of moms do regularly, just because that’s what moms do, is hard evidence that I’m failing as a mother. I cook so infrequently that they actually feel compelled to thank me when I do. I’m a pathetic excuse for a woman. I know. But I’ve been doing better:

Since the boys have been back in school, I’ve been making delicious breakfasts for them every morning. You probably think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not. I’m talking farm fresh eggs, toast with jelly made from fresh raspberries from our backyard, orange juice, sausage. Real breakfast. My mom didn’t believe in breakfast (smart woman) so I’m not a big breakfast person, but the boys are loving it. They gobble it up and rush out the door to meet the bus. Then they ride on the bus for one hour and, during that time, they forget the delicious, filling, wholesome breakfast that they JUST ATE and they pay $1.50/boy to eat breakfast at school.

Me: So I see you ate breakfast at school when I already made you breakfast at home. Must have been something really good to make you want to eat again.

Boy Two: Oh yeah. It was a fruit frudel. It was delicious. 

What is a fruit frudel, you ask? I had the same question. Like I said, it must have been something good for both of them to buy one when they had just eaten. This is what Google says a fruit frudel is:


I’m not sure if this is exactly what they serve, but how many things could there be called a fruit frudel? So yeah, they spent $3.00 on “heat and serve” fruit frudels when I just served them eggs so fresh that I literally picked them out of a pile of actual chicken crap less than five minutes before cooking. But they would rather eat a generic, processed, preservative-filled fruit frudel.

I wonder if they thanked the lunch lady for the fruit frudel? I’m sure they did. It probably went something like this:

Thank you so much for this heat and serve fruit frudel. We’re starving. Our mom never cooks so when she does try, it sucks and we  have to sneakily hide it so we can come partake of your delicious fruit frudel. 

Whatever. After only seven short days, Mother Swan’s Kitchen is no longer open for breakfast.

Let’s get it on

I lived in various homes outside town while growing up, but I’m not quite what you would consider to be a country girl. The Husband, on the other hand, grew up on a farm. He always takes pleasure in making fun of me for my lack of knowledge in all things farm-related. The chickens have given him plenty of opportunities to do that.

Before we even got the chickens, he had to give me a lesson on chicken reproduction. I was under the impression that baby chickens are created through some form of external fertilization – the hen lays the egg and leaves the scene, then when he has time, the rooster comes along and does something to it to fertilize it. Apparently this is completely incorrect, and The Husband took great pains to make sure I fully understood my own ignorance:

What did you think? The rooster came along and stuck his penis in a hard eggshell? That is ridiculous. 

Doesn’t really seem that much more ridiculous than a couple of chickens getting frisky, but whatever.

Anyway, I’ve learned a lot about chickens since we’ve gotten them. I’ve learned that you have to spend a bunch of money on a chicken coop, feed, and bedding and you have to love and care for them for months before you ever get a single egg when you can buy an entire carton of eggs at the grocery store for less than a dollar. And we really don’t even use that many eggs at our house because frozen lasagna and Hamburger Helper do not call for eggs. I’ve learned that they smell and that while they seem to be incredibly stupid, they still manage to open the pen door with a broken latch every day and that, as a group, they are strong enough to open it even if you sit a bucket in front of it. I’ve learned that their poop turns to cement and it is much too big of a job for a 6 and 7 year old to clean the coop, which gets me involved in a whole host of things that I didn’t sign up for (I should mention that I didn’t actually sign up to participate in any chicken work. I just came home one day and there was a box full of chicks in the garage).

So this morning, I’m walking around outside enjoying the fresh air. If you want the truth, I thought I heard a kitten in the trees so I was trying to find it because who doesn’t love a snuggly kitten? Apparently it was just a bird or I was hallucinating, but while I was out there, I heard the standard textbook morning rooster crowing sound. I quickly went through the verses of Old MacDonald in my head, thought through every children’s book I’d ever read, and mentally reviewed various parts of Charlotte’s Web and I couldn’t come up with anything to suggest that a hen should make that particular sound – only a rooster. And based on my previous chicken sex education lesson, I knew there should not be a rooster in the chicken coop. I hid behind the coop for about 10 minutes trying to make a voice memo of it on my iPhone to play for The Husband, because I’m pretty sure that’s what most farm wives would do, but then it stopped.

This seemed like a chicken emergency to me. There could possibly be a male chicken in the coop, victimizing our female chickens with his disgusting chicken sperm, which is going to cause us to end up with additional chickens to care for and still no stupid eggs, which is supposed to be the point of this whole thing. The Husband works third shift so he had just gone to bed, but this seemed like a big enough deal to bring to his attention immediately. He disagreed, so I guess this potential rooster can enjoy a few more days with the girls until The Husband’s day off.

Update: Google says that sometimes one female chicken will become dominant and can make the crowing sound so perhaps this hen is just choosing to identify as a rooster.

Don’t give me no lines and keep your hands to yourself

So we raise chickens. Well, that’s not completely accurate. We just purchased chickens a couple of months ago. It’s yet to be seen if we can actually raise them. We just had our first death today. Boy two came in to announce the death. He was somewhat cryptic about the circumstances of the death, so he was actually my primary suspect. He said he discovered the body in the coop, but when The Husband went to investigate, it was actually in the field. He had to elaborate on his story to explain this inconsistency:

I found it in the coop, picked it up by the leg, and threw it in the field. That’s why it’s in the field. 

First of all, gross.
Second of all, haven’t you ever watched CSI? You never tamper with the crime scene.
Third of all, gross, go wash your hands.

He comes back from the bathroom two seconds later with “clean hands.” Yeah right.

You did not wash your hands.
Yes I did.
No you didn’t. Let me smell them.

I lean in for the smell test. I had just enough time to determine that no soap had been used when he reached up and grabbed my face with his dead chicken hands. Are you kidding me?

I’m not sure what killed the chicken, but now I’m kind of hoping it was just blunt force trauma at the hands of Boy Two. At least that can’t be transmitted by skin to skin contact.