News from The Gentlemen's Club with The Kansas Farmer by Paul Nichol - Oct. 14, 2022
Those few friends I have (and the multitude who would never admit to knowing me in public) have no doubt heard of the heartbreaking news about my chicken flock.
This year, I had a best-of-show rooster - a Golden Campine with a flock of 12 Speckled Sussex hens for which Clem McClellan would have mortgaged his farm. Golden Campines are exceedingly rare; something that you never ever expect to see in a lifetime - like Bob Pearson wearing a clean suit.
Alas, this summer the varmints got them all right down to the last drumstick, wishbone, gizzard and feather.
Hoping to re-build my stock, I started asking around. The Mount Forest Fur and Feather Show was a bust this year due to the pandemic and sadly it’s getting harder and harder to find anyone in these parts who is still a poultry fancier. By the way, don’t be thrown off by the term - it’s really quite innocent. Contrary to The Gossipers Institute, it’s neither a federal nor a provincial offence to fancy a chicken.
Gayle Prout (an overly proud woman despite having grown up near Bluevale) mentioned to me there was a fellow out on the 6th of Morris that might still have some banties. His name was Darrell.
Now, some of you will know what I’m talking about when I say the 6th of Morris has its own dialect; its own colloquialisms, a patois, so to speak, or what most of us just call “The Drawl”. If you don’t understand, just listen to Mike Watson and Gary McCutcheon sometime while they are chatting at the mailbox.
Anyway, to the point, in the Morris Township vernacular, the name of the fellow with the chickens is pronounced “DARL” (rhymes with “wheelbarl”).
Gayle had a cautionary note about “DARL”. He might very well have some chickens for sale but they would be awfully expensive (mind you, Gayle is tighter than the bark on a tree, so expensive is a relative term). I supposed the high cost was due to supply and demand. No, that wasn’t the reason. It was because they have all been specially trained.
Yep. Seems that DARL had taught his flock of birds to peck away on the typewriter and write novels. I’d heard about that sort of thing with statisticians and monkeys, so had no doubt that it could be true. But it had never been on my shortlist of chicken pre-requisites.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued. “Anything I know of?“ I asked Gayle. “Of course, you dolt! Everyone’s heard of books by DARL’s Chickens!”
This is a true story conspired by actual events. With much regret, I tore my hen house down this summer.