More Cabin Decorating

Yesterday, we drove through 8 hours of pouring rain and 3 hours of gloom to  get home. It’s always hard to leave the cabin but we’re happy to be home.

Now, I’m enjoying the cabin pictures even more than when we were there.  This post is about carrying out the rooster/chicken theme in the second bathroom.  Like every other room, it has vaulted ceilings and somehow, it seems like a much larger space, needing more “stuff” to make it look homey.

Because this bathroom serves the patriotic bedroom, and because so much chicken and Americana themed fabric was available, I went with it. Towels, of course, provide a blank canvas for themes.  The hand towels have a plump hen, roasting in the sun in her flag inspired bathing suit and the standard old lady bathing cap. This design makes me grin every time I look at it.

The wall opposite the mirror goes to the peak of the roof.  That huge expanse needed something to break it up.  This cheater quilt panel fit the bill perfectly.  Panels like this are great when you don’t want to put a lot of time into something and yet you need a little quilt.  With free motion quilting and a high loft batt, there is enough dimension that it almost looks like trapunto. 

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and had to take all these photos with Bob’s new I-phone which has a pretty good camera.  But you can’t see the detail as well as with my Sony.

The last sewing project for this room was a hooped embroidered rooster.  For a country look, this seemed just about right.  The rooster is simply embroidered on muslin then hooped in an inexpensive wooden hoop edged with red rick rack.  It hangs above the commode.

Almost every time we look at all the chicken/rooster decorating in the cabin, Bob and I smile at one another, recalling a favorite memory from when we were young parents.

At that time, I was in my Mother Earth phase and Bob fantasized about being a gentleman farmer on our 3 acre country home site.    Our 1926 home is nestled in ancient oaks and pines and came with an aged but rather upscale 2 room chicken house.  It was back to basics as we dreamed of self sufficiency.

We planted a vegetable garden, rejuvenated our 80 citrus trees, bought dairy goats and, of course, loaded up  the “brooder” with two dozen day old chicks.  Soon, we were giving fresh eggs to anyone who would take them.

But to be self-sufficient, we needed to be  able to hatch our own chicks.  However,  Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns have had the “broodiness” bred out of them.  They never sit on their eggs.  But tiny bantam chickens will sit on a pile of rocks for all eternity waiting for them to hatch.  So we got a bantie hen and gave her some Rhode Island eggs, on which she sat with rugged poultry maternal devotion.  Voila, we had a chicken farm!  Our hens laid eggs and the young roosters were butchered for Sunday dinner.

But then we let a friend talk us into taking one of her surplus bantie roosters.  Big mistake. Before we could say Jack Rabbit, that little hen had hidden her own fertile eggs and hatched out a dozen teeny chicks.  Before they were half grown, she was back on her hideaway nest and strutted out with another brood.

Bantie eggs are about the size of big jelly beans and you can never find them because the hen won’t use the nesting box.  She is so secretive that if you do find the eggs, you are afraid to use them for fear of finding fetal chicks.  And the roosters, even full grown, are not worth the trouble to butcher because they are so small.  So we had a poultry population problem.

The bantams –“Puny Poultry” is what we called them–set up  their own little community and roosted in the orange grove at night, away from the protection of the hen house and the company of their larger cousins.  The multitudinous roosters started crowing about 3 a.m. and didn’t give up their call until every hen was scratching in  the dirt, about 7 a.m.  We couldn’t sleep past the rooster wake up call.

Bob was beside himself.  He likes things contained and chickens are supposed to be contained in the chicken house. And they are supposed to sleep until dawn.  So he began a bantie annihilation program.

Every night after dinner, he would dig a deep hole under an orange tree.  Then at dusk, when  the Puny Poultry were all settled in on their favorite branches for the night, he would put up a ladder, snatch up one or two roosters, chop off their heads and bury them in the hole he had dug.

Ryan was 3 at the time and attended pre-school three mornings a week.  One morning, as I picked him up, the teacher called me aside.  She was inquiring about what was going on at our home.  Ryan, it seems, had taken the Show and Tell opportunity to share with his friends that every night, his Daddy cut the head off a chicken and buried it.  She politely asked for an explanation.  It took a while to explain that.

Bob managed to get rid of all but one rooster, who seemed to have more lives than a cat.  Even when he was caught, he managed to get away.  And he crowed all night in protest.  Bob was very frustrated and gave thought to hiring a professional hit man.

Then one cold January morning, my neighbor called, asking how our pet rooster was today.  What?  It seems  that since all the other roosters were gone, she thought this one was dear to us.  She had heard a racket in the middle of the night when apparently a raccoon had almost bagged the rooster.   The sly escape artist flew away from the raccoon and crash landed in her swimming pool.  Because she assumed this was a special foul, she shooed away the raccoon and fished the little rooster out of the pool with the net.  He was wrapped in a towel and taken into the house where she used her blow dryer to warm and dry him.  Early in the morning, she released him over the fence into our yard.  She probably fixed him pancakes for breakfast before she freed him!

I just thanked her for her kindness and didn’t mentioned this incident to Bob for several years.  That rooster hung around in the orange trees for almost two years and probably died of old age.  Bob gave up hunting him, probably out of respect for his resourcefulness.  Now, we just laugh about it and smile when we look at the roosters in this bathroom.

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