Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

My Chickens Resemble Captain Jack Sparrow

By Cam Mather


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 leash.

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.



  1. Linda

    LOVE your story(ies)! I fondly remember my chicken days…..
    And BTW, my daughter will be first in line to the “Johnny Depp’s Canoe Museum” ……and have her picture photoshopped with him in that canoe! LOL – maybe not such a dumb idea afterall….

  2. Rob Archer

    You must be doing something right, those chickens are looking really big….. must be all those bugs that they are eating..:+)

  3. Lots of fun on the stormy seas!


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