Drinking with Chickens

First, let me try to avoid infringing on this brilliant book title.

Yes, this is a book, with whimsical photos of the author and her chickens alongside recipes for garden-influenced cocktails (get it?).

And it was the inspiration for a weekend party hosted by old friends in Atlanta. But more on that, below.

Braver than Chickens

This family gets top headline.

They drove an hour across Atlanta on a rare day off work and school to sit under our awning in the rain, slightly cramped in our mish-mash lawn chairs, sharing with us take-out Mexican food that they brought.

Did I mention that they’d never met us?

This is charming and extra-witty Kathy, and her adventurous family, Daniel and Tom. Kathy and I know each other vaguely from high school but recently online (she’s a blog reader; Hi Kathy!), so sharing in real life under our awning was an extra-special treat. We compared ideas on how Atlanta has changed over the decades (they live in the same neighborhood as I did), on efforts to diversify publishing, on the comic book business, and, of course, on how charming Banjo is. And that’s a big compliment seeing as how their two cats, Jan and Marcia, are not dogs.

Thanks for driving up, and asking questions about our lifestyle, and bringing us your contagious sense of humor. Real-life people top facebook people in every way.

The Ones Drinking with the Chickens

That would be this crew: Susan, whom I’ve known since her daughter Cara was born in the same hospital at the same time as Finn, plus Alex, master gardener and best-in-technique for cornhole throwing.

They hosted us Saturday and Sunday on their new covid-project, gorgeous back patio. You can tell from our faces that we had absolutely no fun at all together.

The Chickens

Meet the Piochickskis (a play on the family’s surname).

The are beautiful to behold (although difficult to actually hold), and they make quiet chicken sounds as they chicken-walk around the elaborate facility that Cara and Alex built in the yard. Cara gets photo credits for the above shots in the yard; due to Banjo’s intense interest in them (her body actually quivered in anticipation when she saw them), they didn’t join us for the Drinking with Chickens party, sadly.

Our Bartender and Chef

Susan’s the kind of friend you can call while you’re in the grocery store and ask her to look up ingredients for a recipe. Note that this incident was before smart phones, but I knew that Susan would be happy to get on the internet for me (that was new in households) and read to me what’s in a dish one of us introduced the other to.

Key takeaways about Susan from this memory:

  • She’s my first-to-adopt-new-technology friend.
  • She’s a hard-core researcher—into whatever sparks her interest, such as Tracy’s espresso machine which she recently dissembled at our house (while Tracy and I were in a crucial meeting with the real estate agent) and silently reassembled then snuck by us like a mastermind.
  • Her cooking skills have expanded and diversified such that I was rendered incapable of texting my thanks to her after our first dinner there.
  • She will take my call from the grocery store without blinking an eye.

The Food

Here’s our first night’s dinner, with home-smoked pork belly and home-smoked cheese that silenced me later that night.

And here’s dinner #2. From the foreground: bacon-wrapped stuffed peppers (smoked), ribs, and ribeye. Not pictured, mushrooms in spinach and goat cheese. Me moaning in ecstasy.

(Minor side note: Yes, I am a vegetarian. HA! Clearly I am not, but I was for so long—15 years hardcore, 20 easing away—that friends still think of me that way. But OMG Susan’s cooking was worth a dive off the deep end.)

Games with Chickens

Throughout the chicken-inspired cocktails and the overeating, we goofed around a plenty. Note Banjo’s eyes on the chickens out of the shot, below.

This is a group game you play on Amazon Prime and on your smartphones. I was so excited to tell Finn about it, and he was so gentlemanly to tell me that I am about five years behind in learning about this. Turns out I am the worse liar of the group and Alex is the best. Note to self about Alex.

Susan and I had been joking around for months leading up to the visit about a family singalong. She’d send me song requests and I laugh back at her, but I ended up curating a short list of songs that I hoped her family would know and that I could strum along to.

I came up with the seemingly brilliant (note the qualifier) idea of displaying my hodge-podge songs with chords and lyrics on their outside TV so I could provide background for their karaoke. Turns out not to be so brilliant, as seeing the songs on the huge screen made me forget, suddenlly, how to play ukulele.

But, as was the theme for Drinking with Chickens Weekend, it didn’t much matter that I couldn’t play music for our sing along, or that Alex and/or Cara didn’t know most of the songs I had picked! We played and sang anyway, and Cara gave us fresh eggs, Susan gave us leftovers, and Alex graciously patted Banjo goodbye.

And it didn’t matter much that for Kathy’s visit it was pouring rain, they drove all around Atlanta to get to us, and not one of the five us of us had actually met in person.

Our Drinking with Chickens weekend was bountiful. Thank you, Kathy and Susan!

Ukulele Segment

The next morning at the campsite:

3 thoughts to “Drinking with Chickens”

  1. Love the chickens!I really want some, some day, but its a no go in my development. Your friend’s last name is similar to my moms last name which was Pochocki, a solid polish name.