September 10, 2007
Originally published June 25, 2002
Donna, of DMC in DC complains, "For the past week I've been hearing a rooster crowing every morning, which has me wondering which one of my neighbors has the dang rooster and why the hell do they have it in a suburban area?"
One of the things I really miss about living on the mini-farm is hearing the roosters crow in the morning. I loved that sound, and my son can do a PERFECT imitation, not a stupid, city-boy "cock-a-doodle-doo," but a real, screaching Rhode Island Red mating call. The sound is more like "URRK-a-URRK-a-OOOOOOOH!" I had my mama and my grandmother stay with us when Hurricane Floyd blew by and my grandmother said she loved that sound, too. It reminded her of her days on the farm.
When we first bought the place, about a dozen free-range chickens nested in trees and pecked and scratched for food all over the place during the day. Every morning, around 4:00 AM, the roosters would start their caterwauling and wake me up just as if a cattle prod had been stuck to my ass. I HATED those noisy bastards. But soon enough, their crowing became normal background noise and I never heard them until I woke up on my own. We got my son his very own dog, which turned out to be a wild, dingo-like, chicken-eating, un-housebreakable varmit who murdered all the free-rangers when she grew big and fast enough to catch them (Black Lab, my ass!), but we had a coop full of feather-foots, Vietnamese mop-tops and Easter-egg hens by then. (The Easter egg hens lay pastel blue eggs. I AM NOT making that up.)
My pride and joy was FOGHORN, a huge Rhode Island Red rooster who stood about 30" tall and had spurs on his feet longer than any finger on my hand. He truly ruled the roost, and he was a tireless lovemaker to every hen in the coop, although his technique resembled barnyard rape more than courting and sparking. My friend Ed the ex-Linebacker and I used to pull up a pair of lawn chairs and a cooler full of beer in the afternoons and just watch that feathered dynamo in action. He was impressive. And he could crow as well as he could screw. All the other roosters hid in the rafters while FOGHORN was own the prowl, because he liked to fight, too. But they ALL cranked up in the morning.
When guests spent the night, the breakfast conversation always went something like this: "HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU SLEEP AROUND HERE? THOSE GODDAM ROOSTERS COULD WAKE THE GODDAM DEAD!" I told them that we were accustomed to the sound and slept right through it.
They seldom came back to spend the night again.
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