Monday, May 20, 2024

Hen and Chicks


Grandma and I were preparing bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for dinner when Grandpa came in. He took his place at the table like he does most evenings after working during the day around the place. This day had been more stressful than usual because the well ran dry and he’d spent all day figuring out how to get it back online so we could water the lawns.

When he sat down, he said to me, “you know that bread you gave me?”

“That bread?” I asked, looking up from slicing tomatoes. He nodded. My mind went blank. For a moment I didn’t remember giving him any bread. Then I remembered; when I was looking for sandwich bread, I found a few slices of old stale bread in a bag, so I put the bag in the seat of the Gator, his John Deere utility vehicle, it’s kind of like a golf cart, to take down to Kat’s chickens. “Oh, the slices of bread for the chickens?”

We’re feeding lots of chickens right now. There was a gal who bought hatching eggs from Kat about a month ago. She told Kat if she’d hatch out a couple dozen chicks, she’d buy them from her. Kat let her marvelous broody hens set on twenty-eight fertile eggs. Most of the eggs hatched but the gal who wanted them is nowhere to be found. So now we have chicks for sale, and it seems like there’s hens and chicks everywhere. 

He nodded, “I was on the snowball lawn, checking on the water and there was a bunch of chicks and a hen.”

“They like it there, in the shade by my snowball bush,” Grandma smiled as she finished laying bacon on the serving plate.

“Yeah, they sure do,” he said, “the other chickens weren’t around so I tore up that bread in little pieces for the chicks. There were a few little pieces for each chick.” I’ve watched Grandpa stop his Gator between the main flock and hens with chicks so he could covertly toss grain, bread and kitchen scraps to the hens so their babies could eat before the scrappy roosters and the rest of the flock gobbled up all the food. In my mind I could see the hen on the snowball lawn and hear her clucking ‘come-and-get-it’ to the eight to ten chicks in her care. Grandpa continued “After calling the chicks, the hen would pick up each little piece in her beak.”

“The hen?” Grandma’s tone told me she didn’t approve.

Grandpa nodded, “yes, the hen. She’d cluck, call the chicks, then peck up a little piece of bread and those chicks would grab it right out of their mother’s mouth and run off with it.”

“Oh,” Grandma said, “That’s okay.” Her calm tone told me that was right behavior for a good hen, calling chicks to food then letting them steal it out of her mouth. “And then I’ll bet all the chicks ran around chasing each other trying to steal bits of bread from each other.”

“Yep,” Grandpa said with a grin and a nod. In my mind I could see eight to ten chicks in a wild game of tag as they tried to steal tiny morsels of food from each other.

Grandma took a deep breath and gave a sigh, “I thought so.”

Grandma’s Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches

For each person:

2-3 slices of good bacon cut in half and fried until crispy       2-4 thin slices of tomato

2 slices bread, toasted                                                            1 large leaf of lettuce, washed

Skiff of mayonnaise or butter (optional)

Toast the bread.  A skiff of mayonnaise or butter can be used, but with the bacon grease they really aren’t necessary.  Lay the slices of bacon and tomato on the toast. Top with lettuce leaf then put a second slice of bread on the sandwich. Cut in half and serve with soup for a tasty lunch or a light dinner.

Choices: Add a slice of sweet onion to the sandwich and/or a few slices of avocado. Almost any raw sandwich veggie goes good with bacon, shredded carrot, a pinch of sprouts; bit of cabbage. It’s all good.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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