SwampMan has a toolbox on the back of his truck. Underneath the toolbox, he has some coils of rope and a tow strap just in case lumber needs tying down, or a stump needs pulling, or my vehicle breaks down. Leaves blow in and settle there. Apparently this is prime nesting territory.
I have to periodically clean eggs out of the back of SwampMan’s truck. Yes, yes, it is handy when I am driving down the road and visiting people who say something about needing to get some eggs and I can say “well, let me check the back of the truck”, but these are bantams laying those darned eggs. As soon as they decide enough eggs have accumulated, they go into full mother mode.
I’ve been keeping the eggs cleaned out of the back of the truck because SwampMan will get all annoyed to find them back there. Well. Annoyed doesn’t really cover his emotions adequately. “Losing his shit” is a little closer. He is not a chicken fancier unless said chicken is breaded, deep fried, and greens, biscuits and gravy are involved. There are four or five small hens that are using the back of the truck as an egg production facility, though, and if I forget about them for a couple days, there will be a lot of eggs in there.
I forgot about the eggs this week. I drove SwampMan’s truck up our bumpy driveway to the gate and a dark brown hen flew squawking out of the back of the truck. “Well, crap.” I looked in the back. There were a LOT of eggs back there. “I’ll clean it out later when I get home from the grocery store!” I told myself. In the evening, I was driving up the driveway again. “I wonder if that chicken is back?” I asked myself as I stopped at the gate. I went around to the back of the truck and peeped in. Nope. There was a wheaten hen (which is a light buff color with golden neck feathers) on the back now, and she wasn’t moving. Crap. I poked her a couple times with my fingers to encourage her to move. She bit my finger. I poked her gently with a stick to encourage her to move, because I didn’t want her panicking and flying into somebody’s windshield at 65 mph. No way, Jose. She was stayin’ with the eggs. *sigh* I took the truck back and parked it and took my truck which meant I would have to buy gas.
Next morning, SwampMan and the boys were loading the truck up for a trek to McDonald’s while getting the truck’s oil changed at the garage next door, since SwampMan probably shouldn’t be crawling around underneath a truck just yet. The boys suggested Burger King across the street, but I told them them that SwampMan wasn’t quite up to sprinting across a four-lane highway with two grandsons in tow just yet. “Oh, wait!” I yelled as they got in. “I have to move a hen and her eggs outta the back of your truck!”
SwampMan said bad words about my chickens and looked into the bed of his truck. SwampMan poked her roughly with his cane. She didn’t move. “STOP THAT!” I ordered. “I’m getting all of them!” So, I lined a bucket with hay, and started removing eggs. And removing eggs. And removing eggs. Meanwhile, she was picking my hand and fingers HARD every time I reached underneath her. I moved TWENTY ONE EGGS out from around and underneath that little hen. I picked her up, squawking in protest, and stuffed her in the bucket and put a lid on it so she’d settle down.
I sat the bucket down on the bed of the truck, and jumped down. AAAAAAAAGH! I landed crooked and my right knee let me know all about it. I yelled, then limped down the driveway to open the gate, bucket with chicken and eggs in hand. I set the chicken down to force the gate to roll open, and AAAAAGH! Muscles across my back decided to go into a spasm.
SwampMan drove up to the gate then stopped, looking down from the truck at me standing on one leg like a demented flamingo in my hot pink shirt while holding a bright orange 5-gallon Home Depot bucket filled with an angry hen and her eggs. “WHY?” he demanded “WHY in the world did you jump off the back of the truck?”
What? “Because I wanted to GET DOWN!” I explained.
“Well, stop it. We can’t do that any more! It ain’t like you’re still 20. Or 30. Or 40…”
“Yeah, whatever.” At least he didn’t say “It ain’t like you still weigh 120. Or 130. Or 140. Or 150….”