This is an article written by my neighbor Joy, about our chicken experiences. She refers to my "Little Chicken Stories" publication.
‘Fowl’ play in coop contest
My neighbor across the street, Mary Rocap, and I are chicken rivals. We try to see who can build the best coop, find the most colorful and hardiest breeds and, of course, try to sell the most eggs at the farmer’s market.
I lost the coop contest because Mary’s husband, Tom, is a meticulous and talented hobby woodworker. A few years ago when we both began to raise chickens, they would cross the road back and forth — who knows why — unless, as the saying goes, “To show an opossum it can be done.”
We both learned that there is a breaking point in the balance of hens and roosters, and a hen may flee to pastures with fewer roosters. A friend of mine said that she thought that hens really don’t want to be bothered by the males of the species. Decades ago, hens might have needed a rooster to help them find food and for protection, but now in modern times hens are much more assertive about such things. Some city folks don’t know that the hen doesn’t need a rooster to lay an egg.
Bucky was one of Tom and Mary’s finest roosters. His tail feathers were a long and cascading rainbow of iridescent colors. He was proud and tall and top chicken of the flock. He had plenty of hens to impress with his strutting and crowing, but one day Mary said he just disappeared.
Of course, this wasn’t new drama for Bucky. He originally brought a flock over to Tom and Mary’s from their next-door neighbor, Phillip.
Well, I must say that we have some fine roosters ourselves. The Delawares, John Henry and Gunther, are large and white-bodied with a black shiny fall of tail feathers and a black ringed neck below a bright red comb. A new rooster appeared some months ago, and proud and gorgeous that he was, he was not welcomed by the Delawares.
The Delawares were chosen for our farm for several reasons: The roosters are docile and don’t bother small children, they are on the rare list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and their eggs are nice and large. The downside of being docile is they are not as aggressive as other breeds of rooster, i.e. this newly-arrived competitor.
My poor boys were under the shrubs, chagrined and bloodied by the new intruder. Frantic yet afraid to make a sound, they would occasionally muster a sparring round of a few seconds near the end of the day. I waited like a stealthy thief until full dark and, cloth bag in hand, I grabbed that rascal rooster. I placed him in a wire cage with food and water and retired to mull my next move. My choices were eat him, sell him or give him away more likely to someone who was rooster-free. Although I touted his finer virtues, not one phone call was successful.
Suddenly remembering a large flock of free-range hens down one of the country roads nearby, I hatched a plan. I placed the captured rooster and wire cage in my car and covering it with a cloth.
No one was home when I knocked on the door. I debated for a semi-second about leaving him without permission, opened the cage door and fled. The rooster headed toward the hens, eyes big; I sped for home. I felt guilty later and left a note, but never heard anything more, until we received a wonderful book for Christmas written by Mary Rocap titled, “Little Chicken Stories.”
About three-fourths through, I read the tale of Bucky and Goldie and shockingly discovered that I had taken Bucky miles from home when I could have just crossed the road. For, you see, I had never seen Tom and Mary’s Bucky.
I usually include a recipe or two related to the topic, but for some reason I just couldn’t do chicken. To order Mary Rocap’s book ($7) e-mail email@example.com.
Joy Redfield Kwapien lives in Cedar Grove on Infinity Biodynamic Farms among the cows, sheep, goats, chickens and a few humans here and there. She is educated in nutrition and nursing and delights in creating meals from local food.
Mary Rocap: Press
Lise Uyanik & the Mobile City Band, Stella, The ArtsCenter
Just a year away from celebrating their 30th year of combining rock and soul in the Triangle, Lise Uyanik & the Mobile City Band officially disbanded in 1984 but never really stopped playing. And, while coming together for occasional gigs, the members of a band named for a Morrisville trailer park have created a side story of good citizenship that includes founding Wellspring Grocery, Somethyme Restaurant and the Music Loft. That's strong proof of creative class benefits, long before politicians were debating Richard Florida's buzzwords, huh? Tonight's for dancing. $15/ 8:30 p.m. —GC
click on web site for this article on my life as a musician, baker, quilter, and my restaurant days.
Mary is new to The Grove and relatively unknown in the folk music world - but that's all about to change! She comes from North Carolina with wonderfully crafted songs and sincere, honest delivery. You can tell 'me you heard her here first!
CD: Indian Summer
Home: Cedar Grove, North Carolina
Quote: "Simple arrangements of guitar, vocals, bass, percussion, fiddle, pennywhistle and concertina accent this lovely album of stellar writing as well as four traditional songs."
By Jamie Anderson
With her traditional folk sounding ballads, you’ll swear she’s Gillian Welch’s long lost sister. Simple arrangements of guitar, vocals, bass, percussion, fiddle, pennywhistle and concertina accent this lovely album of stellar writing as well as four traditional songs. Her plain but warm voice with a slight trill is perfect for her portraits of dreams, everyday life and spirituality. Joining her on several songs are her daughters and nieces, a group she calls her angel singers.
“Corner Market” is crisp with vivid images of childhood wanderings to the local store where she’s afraid of the storekeeper but happy to go, especially if she sees the train and gets him to “make the whistle whine.” The guitars on the title cut shimmer like the weather. A solo pennywhistle takes the break and comes back later to do an ethereal duet. “Grasshopper’s Lullaby” is a pretty ballad in three quarter time that she wrote for her daughters.
The traditional tunes fit in well with her originals. I especially like “Never Grow Old” because it has a pleasant singalong feel, thanks to the Angel Singers. “Stand Up on the Mountain” is a hymn with a great talking vocal that really adds an emotional feel. Another song on the same theme is “Hallelujah,” but this one has a solid gospel piano at its center. She calls “Cassiopeia” a loose telling of the myth. The compelling lyrics are dark and haunting, leaving you with questions about this sad stranger. It’s based on a dream as is “Flamingos” but this one is lighter. After a big storm, she finds a flock of flamingos in the yard and makes a wreath from their feathers as a reminder of how they brightened a drab day.
Some of the most impressive lyrics are found in “Orion,” a perfect match for music by Thomas Moore:
Orion was out at midnight
Shooting arrows at the moon
Was he trying to play Cupid?
Amid bright stars he loomed
I hid below in darkness
As the arrows they missed their mark
And like meteors they fell
And one, it pierced my heart ...
It sounds like an old fashioned ballad your grandmother might have enjoyed – one that doesn’t dull with age. Beautiful.
Don't miss the charming duet of "Why Oh Why" by Woody Guthrie that she does with her (then) six year old daughter. It's the bonus track at the end that's not listed in the credits.
While the arrangements are lovely and suit the songs well, I long for a spirited fiddle or a more aggressive guitar to add some variety to what is a laid back mix of songs. Still, if you like traditional folk rich with imagery, you’ll want this album. You won’t have to wait for an Indian Summer.
NOW HEAR THIS
Mary Rocap / "Indian Summer"
"Singer/guitarist Mary Rocap's second CD is an amiable collection of self-penned songs (plus two traditional gospel songs). Listening to this CD is a pleasant, peaceful experience-this is not something to listen to while watching football or roller derby. definitely meant to be listened to in a quiet spot where the visual imagery and the gentle music can be enjoyed. Although Rocap's style could be considered folk, the musicianship on her CD dresses up her tunes and provides a smart, sophisticated backdrop."