It's not good to keep secrets from your wife, but I must confess that I have not told Elaine why our five hens have enthusiastically followed me everywhere for the past week when I have let them out for their daily hour of free ranging about our yard. Our 38-acre parcel is mostly wooded, and I have counted 13 different predators that frequent our land, so we only let out our hens when they can be supervised by us.
Our chickens are rarely ready go back to their run when their hour has passed - until I hit upon the idea of while they are out, periodically dropping whole wheat bagel bits on the ground. There are certain foods that our quartet's members have a frenzied passion to consume. Corn on the cob would be number one beyond a doubt, but one can not carry corn cobs in his pocket.
Whole wheat bagels rank second to corn, though (and fit much better in pockets) and whenever I give the food call, "lookie-lookie" and toss bagel bits on the ground, they all come running.
The other day (I know this is devious) I gave the food call, dropped the tidbits, the chickens came running, and then we all paraded by Elaine. I bragged that the chickens were so obedient to me and why oh why could they not be so dutiful to her.
Elaine is puzzled by my suddenly being in such command of our birds. However, I have a feeling that this will soon change.