My Rooster Attacked Oprah
My Rooster Attacked Oprah.
September 22, 2017
Growing up on a farm in Maine, I didn't really think my childhood was that different than anyone else. In fact, the average Mainer has a garden, perhaps some chickens pecking around, maybe even a few sheep or a pig rooting up the dooryard. The local census in Bucks Harbor Maine growing up boasted of 75 residents, give or take a few. So most of my friends ended up being my animals. Each of them has a story of their own to share; some more glorious than others, like Rusty the Rhode Island Red Rooster here:
He was not actually a one-legged rooster. He was just being a ham for the camera.
You'd be surprised how many reality shows and movies do their filming in Maine, and how many my family has worked on. Filmmakers came to an island we sheep on and took a video of the scenery and then used a computer to place an image of Tom Cruise in a house in some action-adventure flick. (The house then explodes, I'm told.)
One particular show, called Colonial House, placed modern-day families back in time and gave them the summer to see if they could survive back in colonial times. A lot of these reality shows are a lot less real behind the scenes, but this wasn't one of them.
Anyway, Oprah took a particular interest in this show and decided she wanted to give it a try with her friend. Rusty's territorial nature served his hens well, as he even fought off an eagle on one occasion. Rusty and I went toe-to-toe many times as well and being the family scaredy-cat, I refused to go outside without a broom in one hand. Oprah found the conditions to be less than agreeable. Between Rusty spiking her in the butt and the mice crawling in bed with her she decided to leave early, but she did give it a go!
While we were watching the episode, Rusty heard himself crowing on the television and began crowing at himself outside. It was a sort of surreal moment for us country bumpkins! You can watch Oprah talk about Colonial House here:
Another star of Colonial House was Princess the pig.
I caught Princess when the rodeo came to town in a pig scramble. She grew up to be a great big, spoiled sow and was due to farrow. The reality show rented her for the summer, raised the piglets, and then gave them back to me. I took the piglets to auction and used the proceeds to buy my own spinning wheel, my Ashford Traditional, which I still use and love today. I must have made miles of yarn on that baby by now!
But we can't forget Arnold, the best bunny who ever hopped the earth!
Arnold was an angora who lived longer than rabbits are really supposed to live and thought he was a dog. He used to hop up to me and ask to be picked up. I would sneak him inside some nights and he would jump out of his basket and snuggle with me. His fur was also unlike any other angora I've had in that it had the irresistible softness and loft of angora but spun like wool and held its shape. I still have a small skein of Arnold's last fleece and I'm deciding what to make from it to honor his bunny-memory. Suggestions are welcome!
Anyway Arnold had a particular fan. His name was Lee Pace, whom you may know as Thranduil from The Hobbit, though at that time he had just finished up being Ned the Piemaker from a show called Pushing Daisies, which just so happened to be my sister's favorite show. She may or may not have had an ongoing crush on him at the time, but being a good sister I'm not allowed to disclose that information.
Keeping livestock not only connects you with nature and animal life, but along the way it provides opportunities to connect you with people you may never have met. I could go on - and will! - about all the interesting individuals whose paths have crossed mine because of a common love of farming and fiber.
Keep crafting everyone!