My Chickens Resemble Captain Jack Sparrow

Reader Contribution by Cam Mather
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That’s how I see my chickens. No really. Oh sure, you think
of “swashbuckling” in terms of a male pirate, swinging from ropes on tall ships
and my chickens are definitely females.

First off I resent the fact that you’d think that females
can’t be swashbuckling. What about Geena Davis in “Cutthroat Island?”

This was a great movie. Unfortunately when it was released
in 1995 audiences didn’t seem ready to accept a female in the lead role, even
though Geena was awesome, and oh yes, she also happens to belong to MENSA too
which means that she’s in the top 2% of the smarty pants people. So she’s smart
and swashbuckling, and she was even an Olympic athlete too. So if you have one
of those web-based movie services that is slowing down the internet that rents
old movies, this one’s worth it.

It was the original Pirates of the Caribbean-type movie, but
with Geena playing Johnny Depp’s role. Speaking of Johnny Depp’s character, our
HelpXer Melissa introduced me to this great SNL skit with Michael Bolton
singing homage to Captain Jack Sparrow.
It’s got to be funny because 21 million people have watched it.

So thanks to Melissa I spend the whole day with the song
“This is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow…” playing constantly in my head. And
you’ve got to love Michael Bolton for having a great sense of humor.

But I digress. Being in “pirate” mode, pretty much
everything is pirate-related to me. So, in the morning, the chickens do their
pirate thing and it’s pretty dam cute. They put themselves to bed at dusk and
cuddle up on their perch looking out their window. Then about 6 am when I get
up I go and let them out. They’ve obviously been awake for a while because
there’s a lot of squawking going on in there. And they’re at the chicken window
watching my every move with great anticipation. As I start to turn the
drawbridge door lock they whip themselves up into a bit of frenzy, and then by
the time I open the door they are fit to be tied.

As I drop the drawbridge door, they can’t wait and start
running up it, and once it’s horizontal they ride it all the way down. It’s
just like in those pirate movies when the two ships get really close and the
pirates start boarding the ship doing their ransacking. And I’m thinking that’s
what the chickens are envisioning on the way down. “Avas ye skuppers, to the
gunwalls, they’ll have pennies on their eyes by daybreak!” I think it’s pretty
funny. But then again, I’ve been spending most of the day out in the sun and
it’s been brutally hot and humid. Am I losing it? Is it just me?

When our helpers Mike and Melissa were here, they helped me
with some weeding in the berry patch. The straw/rasp/blueberry plants are doing
great this year. So for the first time we let the chickens out of their pen to
roam free. They ended up in the berry patch. I had roto-tilled around the berry
bushes and they just loved it. The soil was all nicely turned up and they had a
whale of a time going through it looking for bugs. They’d scratch and they’d
peck, and they’d dig and they’d pretty much spend the whole day out there if I
let them. People have warned me you have to be careful with chickens because
they’ll eat bugs but also your plants too, but they didn’t seem to have any
interest in the blueberries. Just scratching for bugs.

And you know how in any pirate movie there’s usually a
mutiny where the rabble called a crew decide that the captain has put them in
harm’s way and he has to go. Well I got that sense while I was in the blueberry
patch that my chickens were up to something. They kept having these little
pow-wows where they’d seem to be sharing a hole they’d scratched in search of
bugs, but I knew they were plotting. They were “hatching” a plan.

At one point I left them in the berry patch where they’d
been perfectly happy for ½ hour while I helped Melissa to get started on
another project and 3 minutes later when I got back, they were gone. It was
pretty obvious to me what they’d been planning; the great escape. By the time I
enlisted Mike and Melissa’s help to search for them, two of them were headed
back to their coop. The other two were hunkered down in the long grass by the
pond, near the blueberries. Those chickens. You’ve got to keep them on a short

So (on a completely unrelated note) speaking of Johnny Depp
(aka, Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean fame) most people
don’t know this but I actually have a connection to Johnny Depp. We bought our
house from Jean Stawarz, a screenwriter and Gary Farmer, a native Canadian
actor. While they where living here movie director Jim Jarmusch came to the
house to ask Gary to be in a movie called “Dead Man” with Johnny Depp. It’s a
very cool movie. 

It’s about an accountant who goes west for a job and things
go horribly wrong. It’s filmed in black and white and the music is all by Neil
Young. It’s a different movie but really neat. In the movie Johnny is shot and
Gary is paddling him in a canoe. The canoe is a prop patterned on a West Coast
Haida Indian style-boat. When the movie was done, Gary asked Jim if he could
have the canoe and so it ended up here. It weighs a ton and Gary keeps saying
that he’s coming to get it some time. But he hasn’t yet and so Michelle and I
are thinking about opening a “Johnny Depp” Museum here at the house with the
lead attraction (well, the only attraction) being the canoe that Johnny sat in
for the movie Dead Man. I’m thinking if it’s one of those roadside attraction
museums we won’t be getting rich since some days I think only 10 cars go by on
the road.

In the meantime, if you’d like to have me Photoshop you into
this canoe so you can impress your friends with your personal closeness to
Johnny Depp, send $9.95 and I’ll get right on that. Your friends and family
will be SOOOO impressed you’ve been in the Johnny Depp Butt Boat. That’s what
we call it, since Johnny’s Butt was sitting in that boat. Don’t delay, order
now. And for no additional charge, send along a photo of a friend or family
member and we’ll include them too.

Editors Note from Michelle: This is not a valid offer. This
is clearly the rambling of a man who has spent way too much time in the sun
planting potatoes. The story of the boat is true though.

Photos by Cam and Michelle Mather. For more information about Cam Mather or his books, please visit or

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