Sep 23, 2008

Nearly Famous Chickens

My chickens are now minor local celebrities.

Last week I received a phone call from a reporter from our regional newspaper asking me if I would be interested in being interviewed for an upcoming article on people who have small backyard poultry farms. Normally, being the reclusive nutjob I am I would have politely refused, but this man had called me early in the morning and while I might have successfully hidden from him- in my voice- the fact that I was snuggled under the blankets in bed with Edison and that he had just woken me up, deep inside my body my brain was not at full operating capacity (and wouldn't be for several more hours) and thus I agreed to have him come out to my house. He asked if he might bring along a photographer to take some shots of the chickens and me and for that, at least, I was lucid enough to request no photos be taken.

Being a person who enjoys her solitude, I fretted for days over my rash decision. I even contemplated canceling the interview, though in the end I went ahead and did it like a Big Girl. I may prefer to be alone in my studio working, but I'm by no means a shy person, so I told Griffin to keep an eye on me and if I started to get too chatty and thus begin to look like a bit of a loony, to please step in and stop me. Some people, I have found, don't get my humor, and as it turns out, this reporter was one of those people.

He asked me a great many questions about chickens as he knew nothing about them and he completely ignored my ducks as they weren't to be included in this article. For the most part I remained fairly guarded, not running off at the mouth and only keeping to the facts about the birds. We joked about a few things, but nothing particularly outrageous, and then he asked me about egg laying. When I explained that the birds need 12-14 hours of daylight a day to lay a single egg and thus come winter production slows down considerably, leaving David to have fits when I buy carton after carton of eggs at Whole Foods for holiday baking and to bemoan the fact that we have a barn full of little freeloaders, I figured the man realized I was being humorous. (Granted, David does hate the fact that we have a barn full of virtually eggless chickens several months of the year, and yes he has referred to them as "little freeloaders" but it's all very lighthearted, I swear). So when the article was published last Sunday morning, I was surprised to see my innocent little tale taken literally and David having been characterized as something of a curmudgeon who is (and I directly quote here) "infuriated" when we have to buy eggs at the market. Well, I guess this puts us a bit further up on the celebrity meter than we've been thus far by not only being misquoted but being made to look like we have personality issues as well. Cool. We should be honored. The two men who were also interviewed for the article only spouted facts and very dryly at that, but being a woman and, well, being me, I came off as a bit too folksy and funny. And maybe a tad odd, which I had been desperately trying to avoid. Hmm.

The reporter also came without a photographer per my request, but did come with a camera of his own and tried to get me to appear on-camera in a video segment that was published both on the local news feed as well as utube, to which I declined (Griffin tried very hard to talk me into it, but I held fast to my guns). I did, however, consent to having some close-up video shot of my girls ambling about on the lawn and in the gardens, provided no mile markers of my property were visible in the frame. I know this sounds very Reclusive Crazy Mountain Man, but I have had some issues in the past with my birds' safety and prefer to not have it public knowledge that I have a barn full of potential targets. The birds are not at all visible from the road, my neighbors know, my friends know, but everyone else need not know and I feel that having less people know about their existence will hopefully keep my girls safe and snug out there. I explained in detail to the reporter what had happened in the past and why I wished to remain anonymous and he said he understood, then published within the paper the exact street addresses of all three of us who were featured in the article, myself included. So much for anonymity.

In the end, it was fun to see my girls featured, albeit for the briefest moment, in a video online and to read about them in print (which wasn't published by me, for a change) but if I were called again to do this, I would honor my deepest instinct, which would be to say "thanks, I'm flattered, but I'll pass." There's a reason why I prefer to remain a recluse and this experience was it. Live and learn. Live and learn.

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