The Radio, The Egg, and Writing

Discouraged, I had been wailing to Bigstreetrod: “Why aren’t we getting any eggs? Everyone is getting eggs. Why aren’t our chickens laying? What is wrong? Could it be their feed?” I tend to think everything is because I’m doing my own feed.

We researched and found conflicting advice. People said eggs would come in 19 weeks; people said it would take 5 to 8 months. Our chickens were nearing six months old, and nothing yet. I kept looking and looking in the laying boxes and under bushes, and returning to the house with the slumped shoulders of disappointment.

Then I remembered what I had been told about a radio in the coop. I had been assured by several sources with farm experience: “Keep a radio going in the coop and chickens will produce abundantly.”

Did you know you can no longer buy a small portable radio? I’m talking about one of those boxy kind with a handle so you can hang it up. It’s all iPods and such now. I was then wailing at how I could not find a simple radio. Bigstreetrod, likely wanting to shut me up, brought home a small clock radio. It fit perfectly on a board high up in the coop. I turned it face-out so that the chickens could not see the glowing red digital numbers. I was afraid it would drive them crazy trying to fly up and peck at it. I tuned it to a today’s Best country out of Mississippi, figuring chickens would prefer that type of music. The sound from that teeny-tiny speaker was an amazement.

That evening, when I let them out to roam the yard, I discovered that sometime in the hours after the radio installation, one of the dear girls had thrown the blue plastic egg from a laying box and deposited this small but beautiful jewel in its place!

The power of country music radio–a gluten-free, soy-free natural egg.

This all reminds me of my early years of writing novels. Back then, it was my habit to play music as I wrote. My favorite, very naturally, was country music. It helped to put me into the setting of my story. In fact, I’ve gotten a lot of themes for my novels from country music songs. Once I took the first chapter of a rough draft to a friend to read and give feedback. She said, very gently: “I’m sorry, but I found it just…boring.”

I came home and thought about it. I had been playing Don Williams ballads over and over. They soothed my soul, but likely did not help me to get conflict rolling. I changed to country music with a fast, swinging beat. The book picked up after that, and I’ve been careful of what I listen to while writing ever since.

The chickens can have their radio. These days when I work, I want quiet. Although when needing to lift my spirit while around the house, I will play music– more often than not these days I prefer Swing. Hmmm…likely that’s why the novel I’m currently planning is set in the late forties.