April is quite a yel­low month, isn’t it? I mean, there’s the for­sythia, the witch hazel, the daf­fodils. If that weren’t enough we can now get our aza­leas in shades of orange-yellow. And don’t for­get that drop-dead beau­ti­ful mag­no­lia ‘Yel­low Bird.’ (I want.)

You know what? I don’t care. After see­ing brown, brown, brown all win­ter long, I like a nice, bright yellow.

Bring it on.  In fact, let’s do some masses of yellow.

Harry and I have been slowly adding to our daf­fodil col­lec­tion. We started near the house by the dri­ve­way. Last fall we planted a group­ing about a quar­ter mile up the driveway—a sunny lit­tle patch to greet visitors.

I even added a few cro­cuses and mus­cari in the mix to see how the deer would like them. They didn’t.

Next fall we’ll add even more yel­low. For another yel­low April.


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I’m sorry to leave you hang­ing like that. It wasn’t inten­tional. Thank you for the cards and let­ters of concern.

Pre­vi­ously in my life I was bat­tling the wicked rooster, Ricky Ricardo, who had it in his tiny lit­tle chicken brain that he needed to mur­der Tina Turner for spurn­ing his amorous advances. He had pur­sued her into the woods in the attempt, threat­ened me with bod­ily harm for try­ing to inter­vene and basi­cally fright­ened the rest of the chick­ens into a state of dither I had only seen when a fox or hawk was after them. Things were bad. I faced a tough decision.

Ricky Ricardo looked as if he were assem­bled from spare parts.

To tell you the truth, the end of the story was already writ­ten when I posted the first part of this two-part saga. My pro­cras­ti­na­tion in telling Part Deux was part “life” and part “I hate to tell them what really happened.”

So, here’s the story.

I knew that I had to inter­vene. I could either let Ricky Ricardo con­tinue to ter­ror­ize the chick­ens and per­haps risk los­ing Tina Turner who couldn’t get back into the coop or I could intervene.

Tina Turner turns heads. No won­der Ricky Ricardo was obsessed with her.

I tried to find that myth­i­cal coun­try home for bad roost­ers but, alas, they don’t exist. No one wants a mean rooster for their flock—and cer­tainly not as a pet.

As a backup, I tried to find some­one to “take him away” (euphemism for “Just don’t tell me what you did with him”). Alas, even the hearty coun­try folk here in Calvert County can’t be both­ered with butcher­ing and pluck­ing a mean rooster just to end up with a stringy bird stew.

Short of a solu­tion, I decided I at least needed to get Tina Turner to safety (lit­er­ally out of the woods) and sep­a­rate the bad boy Ricky Ricardo from the good chick­ens. I decided to use my mag­i­cal powers—a can opener and a can of corn. Did you know chick­ens react to corn the way an addict reacts to the crash of a meth truck?

I man­aged to lure most of the good chick­ens into the coop. But every time Tina Turner tried to slip inside Ricky Ricardo would lunge after her, send­ing her skit­ter­ing back into the woods in fright. It took all my wiles and cun­ning, but I finally man­aged to out­wit a stoopid rooster. I dis­tracted him toward the oppo­site side of the coop while simul­ta­ne­ously giv­ing Tina Turner the high sign that it was safe to make a dash for the door. I swear, I think she knew what I was doing. She finally reached safe haven.

That left me with the bad boy Ricky.

I tried to entice him into the small Eglu—the portable coop I use for sick or injured birds or as quar­an­tine for new­com­ers. He was being either espe­cially smart or espe­cially stu­pid, but either way, I wasn’t able to get him into the Eglu.

By this time I had been out­side in the dark and the cold with my hands in a wet can of corn for about 45 min­utes. Par­don me for my cal­lous­ness at this point, but I had given it every­thing I had.

Ricky Ricardo, you’re on your own for the night. Tina Turner did it. Now it’s your turn.”

Yes, I tucked in the chick­ens and left Ricky out in the cold.

The next morn­ing Ricky was rag­ing around the yard, act­ing like King of the Hill. Most chick­ens peck here, wan­der a bit and peck there. Not Ricky. He just ran around. And ran around. He kept cir­cling the chicken coop try­ing to fig­ure out why the other chick­ens were in and he was out. I noticed that Tina Turner refused to leave the inside of the coop that day.

Ricky ran around all day. I tried again to herd him into the Eglu, but he was hav­ing none of that foolishness.

I’m free!”

The next morn­ing Ricky Ricardo was gone.

I called him. I looked for him. I kept think­ing he would wan­der back into the yard with sto­ries to tell about his walk in the woods. It didn’t hap­pen. After some more look­ing I even­tu­ally found a few feath­ers that looked sus­pi­ciously like some­one had left them in haste.

I think The Cir­cle of Life solved the Ricky Ricardo problem.

It’s a sad thing to lose a chicken, although per­haps less sad when it’s a mean chicken. Still, Ricky Ricardo was con­ceived, hatched and raised here Chez Bum­ble­bee, so it was a sad day.

I don’t believe I was the only one who felt that way. Remem­ber Edith, Ricky’s sur­ro­gate mother? She began to search for him. For the next cou­ple of days while the other chick­ens would for­age for bugs, Edith was wan­der­ing around look­ing into the trees. She flew to the top of the coop for a bet­ter view. She was look­ing for something—or someone.

I try not to anthro­po­mor­phize my chick­ens (too much), but I believe that Edith was search­ing for Ricky Ricardo. Moth­erly feel­ings are pri­mal, after all.

So there you have it. The Bal­lad of Ricky Ricardo. Bye, Ricky.

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Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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