Never ebay while wine drunk.
That was my first mistake. As an avid animal lover and activist for the humane treatment of all creatures great and small, one particularly lonely but well-intended evening I decided that I should buy rare chicken eggs and help propagate the species to ensure their survival.
It sounds noble enough, right? After all, I had just purchased a five acre farmhouse on the lake and thought I could give my soon-to-be fledgling birds the perfect home where they could roam wild and carefree. I’ve always loved animals. Even in my small, one bedroom apartment I raised nests of wild bunnies, orphaned ducklings, rescued and re-homed dozens of kittens and even a bird or two. I guess my faithful companion, a three-legged Dog named Tutu and I made what one might equate to an animal ambulance.
That’s when I thought it would be marvelous to spend a ridiculous sum of money on some of the rarest fertilized chicken eggs on ebay at three in the morning after consuming a liberal amount of a box of Franzia red wine. Chilled, of course. Historically, I make my best choices after midnight. At least they seem brilliant and exciting at the time. In reality, all it did was earn me my Masters in poor life decisions.
The eggs arrived. They hatched. And most of them were roosters. They were the cutest little bundles of fur I’d ever seen. I’d given them endearing names and kept them in a rubbermaid basket beside my bed. I became the vigilant mother to my flock of featherballs, and as they grew, they became like family.
And like family, and true to the nature of roosters, they eventually turned on each other, exerting dominance in the pecking order no matter how I urged them to mind their manners and be gentlemen. Ultimately, I had to separate the weaker ones from the smaller.
My partner built a spacious, rather luxurious coop in the back yard that rivaled Fort Knox. An absolute necessity as I soon found out, given that once we transitioned from the city to the country, that creatures of all sorts descended from the swampy woods on their nightly hunt for food, and my chickens were their prime meal. My back yard was like Frickers to the wild nocturnal beasts that stalked through my dark back yard.
Imagine this, if you will. I grew up in something of a bubble. Suffice it to say, I’m a perky idiot, devoid of the realities of nature. I can’t even watch National Geographic without covering my eyes when a hungry lion takes down an innocent Gazelle who was just lounging around chewing cud enjoying the afternoon sun. Inside, I’m a devout city girl; A nightlife performer, a social butterfly who’d been whisked past long lines and escorted into New York Cities most trendy clubs. Believe it or not, I loathed the idea of the great outdoors and believed that camping was something mostly reserved for the masculine sort who belonged to the NRA and enjoyed peeing outside. I suppose, naively, that I envisioned living in the country- not in a shack or camouflage hunting blind- but a proper house, would be somewhat magical. Like a Disney princess, little bluebirds and crafty field mice would flutter around my head and sew me the prettiest of silken fineries from vines and flower petals. That’s how it worked for Snow White and Cinderella anyway. I am, after all, as close as one can get to a princess. I’m a Drag Queen, a Trans woman, which by today’s standards is pretty much a Unicorn.
I never imagined the country life would be my waking nightmare. Hostile and unforgiving. Many of my beloved chickens were murdered by raccoons. I’d come home from an evening out to find fuzzy corpses strewn across the backyard like something out of an 80’s horror flick and to say it traumatized me is an understatement. I became paranoid, staying up until daybreak for over a year, listening intently for the any chirp or caw that could be perceived as distress call. I bought a pink BB gun, and even if I thought I heard something unusual, tore out the door into the back yard like I was Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Thankfully, the new coop prevented any further massacres. It took a heavy toll on my mental state. I had gone from rescuer of little creatures to a warden in a chicken penitentiary, ready to fire BB’s from my Barbie BB Gun at anything that moved in the shadowy brush.
An army of Raccoons… that’s what found me. I’m not exaggerating. My remote country house which should have been the epitome of an English paradise came under attack by dozens of black-eyed, bloodthirsty bandits. I’d walk out my front door and they’d be hovering in my trees above my porch. I’d look out my window and see them marching around the perimeters of my coop looking for any vulnerability in it’s construction. I began to despise them for wanting to kill off the rest of my poor, defenseless Roosters. I found myself doing my own security checks, ditching my high heels for a pair of knee high rubber galoshes- that were camouflage- and stomping through my yard at all hours of the night with by trusty pellet gun. I never had to use it, however. I don’t know that I could have. It just isn’t in my nature to hurt something even in self defense, but I did plenty of screaming and cussing to chase things back into the woods; Not just raccoons, but possums, skunks, foxes, minks and one summer evening, even a small pack of coyotes. I won’t lie… I didn’t approach the coyotes when they wandered into my yard, but I did get into my car and blow the horn for a solid five minutes while screaming expletives out the window.
I began setting humane traps in the summer — of course humane traps because, as I said, I cannot kill anything. The summer of 2016, my partner and I hauled off over 40 raccoons that came near the coop. I transported them miles away to a wildlife refuge. During the drive, sometimes multiple trips per night in the wee small hours, I sternly lectured each one. Finally, we seemed to make a dent in their numbers. Good. I’d come to despise them, no matter how cute their little button noses and precious their vocal chirps and chortles. I was now a hardened raccoon bigot.
But, I imagine my remaining roosters were irreparably damaged, mentally. They hated me. When I’d go out in the morning to let them free range, they’d attack me. They’d chase me back into my house, crowing like some kind of violent war cry. I understood. They’d seen most of their brothers and sisters fall victim to savage, brutal murder… and I was supposed to be their great protector, their Mom who raised them from little yolks, and I failed them.
My partner, who worked from sun up until sun down, didn’t believe the trials I’d go through each day in order to feed them and let them out to play in the grassy field, so one day, I recorded it. I propped up the camera on the porch and went to the coop to let them out for their morning escapade. Sure enough, like a gang of crips whose territory I’d invaded, they attacked me, gouging my legs with their sharp talons.
I uploaded it to youtube with the title “My Chickens Attack Me” expecting that others who might be self described Divas found themselves suddenly at the mercy of nature might have sympathy. That was one million views ago.
I never expected the chaos that would ensue. The Daily Mail took screenshots of me with my face drawn back and contorted with fear as I braced myself from each attack. Completely unflattering for a selfie Queen like myself, but there I was. Not exactly the form of celebrity I imagined. I certainly was no Kim Kardashian, breaking the internet with my unbridled sexual prowess. Instead of shooting champagne from a bottle into a cup propped up on my ass, I was getting it kicked by angry roosters.
The comments weren’t encouraging. “Woman takes on Two Black Cocks,” seemed to be the most popular, if not altogether uninspired joke. As anonymous denizens of the internet scoured the rest of the videos on my youtube channel realized I was a Trans woman and comedian, the commentary became more harsh and predictably cruel. Not just about me, but my beloved chickens as well. People suggested I kill them, snap their necks, beat them with a baseball bat.
Others said they hated me because of my hair, which, gathered in a bun atop my head, could have been mistaken for a sexually eager whore of a hen. I was called names I had to google. I was made fun of for everything from my clothes to the swishiness of my walk. I never knew I swished. Why did no one ever tell me I swished? Investigative users who perused my other videos were provided endless ammunition for the compulsory cock jokes. Often I would sit there reading the comments with my jaw on the floor, completely in awe of the venom that spewed forth like geyser of pure hatred… from complete strangers with anonymous accounts.
If one thing good came from the experience of being the subject of a viral video, I developed a much thicker skin and learned to laugh at- and actually appreciate the occasional clever insult.
The following summer, we felt it was appropriate to intercept the inevitable raccoon invasion that was sure to befall us. Before the end of spring we transported 20 raccoons to safe spaces… but as luck would have it, there was one thing I failed to take into consideration on my mission to protect my chickens from the persistence of the raccoon clans.
As I sat dragging my garbage to the curbside early one morning, I saw a small, wobbly critter rooting through the grass, no bigger than a kitten. As I approached it, I realized it was my worst enemy. A Raccoon.
A baby to young to be away from it’s mother… And he wasn’t happy.
I stood there in disbelief. Then went to get my phone to record it, just in case it attacked me so the police would have video evidence of my final moments. I was certain this was an act of revenge. As I slowly approached him, camera in hand, I had an epiphany… much to my own horror, it occurred to me that its mother must have been one of the many I had hauled off in the middle of the night. It was alone, and surely would starve. I wrapped him up in my coat, talking to him in a comforting voice.
Yes, you guys. I talked to him. I was taken to task for talking to the Raccoon. “You dumb B*tch, you expect he’s going to answer you?” quipped one commenter. He, along with many others thought my conversation with a Raccoon was absolutely absurd. Maybe it was. I confess, I am absurd. I also have daily conversations with my dog and all seven of my cats. I’d only worry for my sanity if they answered, alas, that hasn’t happened yet, but I digress.
However, I brought the Raccoon into my home- the offspring of my adversary. The son of my nemesis. And, well…
…We became friends. I bottle fed him. He waddled around and played with my cats and adopted one of their toys which he slept with as he curled up in a clothes hamper for a nap. In a weird twist of events, I’d become the parent to an orphan whose family I had robbed him of.
He stayed with me until he was weened from a bottle. He grew stronger each day and loved to be cuddled, often nuzzling himself under my chin. As he grew, I located a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation home that would help him develop the skills required to eventually return to the wild. As it happens, the wildlife nurse who took him in was simultaneously caring for other orphaned Raccoons. So, my little bandit baby found a family like him after all. At my request, his carer sent me photos often to update me on his progress.
After nearly six months, the time had come to let him live the life of a proper wild raccoon. He, along with his adopted sister, were set free together at a wildlife reserve. We escorted them deep within the woods, me, my partner and their carer, and we bid them a fond, if not emotional farewell.
It wasn’t long afterward that the internet found the video of that fateful day I met this beautiful little furbaby and, similarly to the chicken experience that I documented for my partner- and apparently half the world, the video of my first encounter with the baby Raccoon was soon seen by over a million people. Most of who made fun of my voice. But by then, I was immune to the contentious remarks and instead found them quite amusing, which eventually waned into indifference. As a minority, I’ve heard worse from better people. Offensive efforts aren’t genuinely offensive to me these days; They sort of roll off, like water off a ducks back.
And speaking of poultry, just when I thought my adventures in the wild had come to an end and the only real struggle remaining was the fist-sized mosquitoes that lunged at me in swarms every time I stepped out my front door past sundown, another wild animal from- actually I have no idea where they come from, they just show up- decided to attack me while I sat in my car on my way to an appointment. I was late. This is why.
I didn’t realize he was sitting on the other side of my car when I got in and started the engine, but he quickly ran around the vehicle to see what the hell I thought I was doing. For what it’s worth, I talked to the turkey, too. Regardless, this turkey was soon distracted and I became irrelevant as he fell madly in love with his reflection in my hubcap. I never know what to expect from the moment I step out my door anymore, but I’ve documented my Transgender, Drag Queen farmer adventures on youtube. I realize that I’m a fish out of water trying to muddle through this quirky country life that I fell into like a sinkhole- and that it’s having a laugh while it has it’s way with me.
So are the good internet citizens on youtube. I don’t read the comments anymore.
And they’re lucky I don’t. I still have that pink barbie BB gun.
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