Department of Homeland Chickens


bienvenido a la hora feliz. also here is the edge of the old bench i’m going to paint bright red

My very important Janet Napolitano- lookalike Mexican chicken planter arrived yesterday.

I have to tell you that I have been plotting this for years. For years! In the late 90s, I had a big colorful wall calendar that featured a lush backyard garden. The garden design was mostly inground perennials but there were pots and other decorative items stuck in among them. I really can’t remember any of the plants but one feature that was repeated in more then one month was a set of stairs made out of railroad ties. And on these stairs were various pots and other objects, moved around in each picture.

I have no time sense of when railroad ties were no longer “in” as landscaping design but the calendar was printed in Canada so who knows what goes on up there? I hope I’m not confusing these details with the time I had a big colorful wall calendar that featured rustic outhouses.

Anyway … On each side of those steps was lush overflowing plant growth – lavender, woolly lamb’s ears, sedum, etc. Texture yes but not much color. The color came from flower filled pots arranged at the ends of the steps including a few Talavera chicken planters filled with Hen & Chick plants.

The calendar hung on a  wall at my workplace and I would look at it 5 days a week. Sometimes  I’d be writing a progress note or a message for the medical office and I’d stop to look up and ponder a lifestyle that included those chickens planters. I did that for a year and when the next January rolled around, I threw the calendar away and hung up something else.

I don’t know why I didn’t save the pictures. I think it was because I felt it an unattainable dream for me. How could I ever get my hands on a Mexican chicken planter? A few years later, I was making my monthly sweep through the local TJ Maxx to see what was what and I found 2 large Talavera chicken planters on the shelf. They were right there in front of me for only $25.00 each. I pulled one down and inspected it and put it back. I don’t know. It ws too much to handle. My life had more self-imposed rules then and it had no room for the reality of a non-conforming chicken planter. But I never stopped thinking about it.

You can tell, I think, how important this was to me because even when I finally cooked up a reason to  construct a stoopscape design theme of Happy Hour In a Mexican Restaurant on 2nd Avenue, I had to edge up on the chicken of my dreams by first warming up with a Talavera turtle planter. Like I couldn’t just go right to the chicken. But the chicken was always the goal. Even so, I almost got a Talavera frog planter instead because I couldn’t just shift gears so fast and go from unworthy to worthy of it.

Anyway, it’s here now. Prepare yourself for a summer full of Hen & Chicks photos! And its not even strictly a Talavera chicken planter. This is a Talavera Chicken planter. Believe me, I scrutinized every single one the internet could churn up for me and none of them were quite right. But this one fits my overall stoopscape plan and I’m pleased with it. I’m actually glad that it’s not a Talavera chicken because this little chicken has a secret.

Those of delicate sensibilities or who want to maintain the notion that I am ladylike and dignified should stop reading here.

The seller of this particular item sent me photos from many angles and even repeated some when I questioned what looked like a chip in the paint. But there were none of the rear end. So naturally that was the first thing I looked at when I unpacked it. Now I ask you …

v word

… does this look like lady parts to you? Because it sure does to me.  Am I wrong?

I’m already romanticising this. I imagine a female pottery painter south of the border, sending secret sisterhood messages of solidarity with the female tourists who’d be likely to buy a chicken flower pot. maybe not. All I can say is I sure am glad that this isn’t really a Talavera chicken because during all the years that I spent dreaming about it, I never once imagined it would have lady parts. And that would have ruined everything.

As it is, I’m going to point this end of the chicken towards my stupid trouble-making neighbor. Here’s a secret message, sir.


9 thoughts on “Department of Homeland Chickens

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