andy communes with Sonoma Garden Park chickensI love Dickens. As an English major, you have to. But even I sometimes roll my eyes as the most disparate characters meet in the most unexpected places, then find they are long-lost cousins or whatever. Life just doesn’t work that way. Except when it does. I’ve already told you how we experienced that sort of collision of coincidence in a terrier sort of way when we found a nearby Sonoma kennel is owned by one of the breeders of our terriers’ parents. Now it’s happened with chickens.

I suppose, first, I should explain what we were doing with chickens. It was Sonoma’s Second Annual Tour de Coop. That’s an event sponsored by the excellent Sonoma Ecology Center where local chicken owners open their coops to the curious and the clueless like us and graciously answer all our chicken questions. It was a wonderful tour and we were madly scribbling notes until all the coops and chickens started to blur into one. We were almost ready to say we’d seen enough chickens for one day, when we decided to make one last stop. This last coop was described in the brochure as “Chickens enjoying the good life on a family homestead”. Can’t pass that up, can you?

Our hostess, Kendra, and her husband had what looked to be the healthiest flock of chickens we’d seen. They were fat and sassy and fluffy of feather.

And right in the middle of a group of adoring hens was this handsome fellow.

Instantly, I thought of Phantom Chicken, the renegade rooster who held Mountain Lions, coyotes and foxes at bay to thrive and crow on a thickly overgrown area just outside our gate. (If you haven’t heard the saga of Phantom Chicken, read about him here and here.) So heroic did this fearless avian prove himself that we began a campaign aimed at capturing him and giving him to a local chicken keeper who said her hens would treat him right. Alas, Phantom Chicken was so wily, he even evaded John the Baptist and his net. Then sadly, just as John had made a deal with the local chicken owner to loan us a hen for luring purposes, Phantom Chicken disappeared. We thought he might have found a home, but we feared that, more likely, he was some coyote’s dinner.

I determined there and then, once we got chickens, to get a rooster of the same breed in honor of Phantom Chicken. I asked Kendra where she’d gotten him and she revealed that he was a rescue who was being kept at the local feed store. And she’d gotten him about the time Phantom Chicken disappeared. Could it be? Could this be Phantom Chicken living the good life surrounded by gorgeous hens in a luxury coop with a million dollar Sonoma view?

glamour shot of the Phantom Chicken

Here's the closest shot I was able to get of Phantom Chicken.

Don’t compare him too closely. Just tell me he looks exactly like Kendra’s rooster above. And you can bet I won’t be going down to the feed stores and questioning them on where they found that rooster.

Sometimes, just as when you read Dickens, suspending disbelief makes the plot work out so much more satisfactorily. And we need a happy ending for Phantom Chicken.

So wave your copy of Oliver Twist over your head and say it loud: PHANTOM CHICKEN LIVES!

(And if that Dickensian coincidence wasn’t enough, Kendra has a blog, the most excellent A Sonoma Garden. I’ve been reading it for at least a year and have featured it on my blogroll.)