Every time I see a chicken I smile. You might ask yourself why? Well it reminds me of my maternal Nonna Rosa.
When I was growing up in Messignadi in Calabria, my family had a piece of land in the heart of the village.
We used to call it “Darretu e lavari” (Behind the olive tree). Nonno Rocco would have his cute vegie patch ( but this will be a blog on it’s on) and Nonna had her small chicken farm.
First thing every morning she would go to look after her chickens.
On school holidays she would bring us kids with her. I remember the first job was picking the fresh eggs, or what we would call it COCO’.
Let’s not forget it was 11 of us from the age of 12 to the age of 2, so this meant we would have to take turns in picking the eggs and place them in the cane basket (u panaru made by Nonno ) that she would hold .
Once the eggs were picked she would take them into the small farm house (a casetta) and give us one each to drink. We would wait excited as she would make two holes one on each end of the egg and we would drink it.
She then would return to her chickens to give them fresh food and fresh water while we would play in the swings that nonno had installed for us from a few huge olive trees.
Every time after the chickens had finished their meals, Nonna would open the gate to let them free for a few hours. And this was where the magic would happen.
Chicken and chicks would form a line and would follow Nonna around the farm.
We were too young to realise that what we were witnessing wasn’t a normal thing.
At the end of the day she would call back her chickens and one by one they would return inside their domain.
Something similar is happening with the new generation. My mother has four chickens, and my dad built them the Taj Mahal of the chicken world.
Though I am pretty sure my mum doesn’t walk with her chicken following her, I know that every morning she visit them with my niece, little Ariana picks the eggs then they go back into the kitchen and the little one has a fresh egg….. but don’t tell my sister.