The chickens arrived. Twelve Barred Rock adorable chickens that peck and chirp like, well, real chickens. I already want more, which may turn out to be easier than I thought. You see chickens arrive 'unsexed'. No, that doesn't mean that they have headaches on Saturday nights, it means that we frankly have no idea what they are. When leaping into chicken ownership, we didn't know what 'use' we had planned for these chickens. "Are they layers?" we were asked. "Um, maybe?" we responded. Well then you should feed them this. Or, because Barred Rock are dual-purpose birds–sort of like on and off road motorcycles–are they broilers? "If they don't behave," we replied. Then they are fed extra protein to fatten them up. The dogs circle the coop with longing on their faces, hoping it's a buffet. We wonder if we will really be able to eat them. Even eating our favorite Buffalo Wings now just seems wrong. So we flipped a coin and made the decision. Layers we cried. Except that now we have to figure which ones are actually cockerels not pullets. (Who knew there were cockerels and pullets?) Evidently you can tell if you are really good (we are not) and so now we wait four months to see which ones grow spurs and start to crow at dawn– and therefore become dinner– and which ones will roost and pop out an egg or two.
Somewhat like the grapes we shipped happily last fall to the wineries, relieved that we'd made it through a full cycle of pruning, thinning, tucking, bird chasing and harvest. Off they go and we're never really sure what they will become. Now months later there are several different Chardonnay's created from these same grapes. This is where it goes beyond the grower and Mother Nature and is in the hands of the artists; the cellar maestro's.
Such pride in our new babies. Chickens and wine. A new meaning to Coq au Vin.