For the love of over-priced chickens

Resident spends part of her limited budget on garden decoration

Staff writer

It was staring at her, beckoning her to come closer — and each moment she tried to refuse, she knew she was losing a never-ending battle.

Lucinda Murchinson grew up with a love for chickens — and it only became more evident as she matured and when she set up her own home. At age 71, Murchinson has more than 850 chicken figurines in her newly acquired residence at the county lake. She said she loves decorating with the birds — and wouldn’t give up a single one.

“I better not die too soon,” she said as she wiped the sweat off her forehead. “I don’t know anyone who would take care of all my chickens. My children think I just need to get rid of all of them, but they don’t get it. It’s more than a collection; each has a unique memory tied with it.”

Murchinson said she has set up her house so that no room is without at least 10 chickens, including the restrooms. But, Murchinson said she had one problem: finding the perfect outdoor chicken.

Murchinson said she needed “just the right thing” to ornament her flower garden, and had been searching area stores for the past three weeks.

“There wasn’t anything that really popped out at me, something that really shouted ‘take me home,’” she said. “So I just kept looking.”

She didn’t want something too frilly; she didn’t want anything too rustic. She had something in her mind, and she knew she would know it when she saw it.

Then, after hours and hours of searching, she did — and the funny thing is that she had been staring into its beautiful eyes for days.

“I’d go by TC’s What-Not Shop and say to myself, ‘I should really stop and buy that’ but I never did,” she said. “I knew it would be perfect for something. I just couldn’t remember what it was. I can be forgetful at times.”

It was an ornately painted, six-foot tall metal rooster. While it was made completely from old car parts, Murchinson said it melted her heart just as soon as she stepped out of the vehicle.

“When you see something like this, you just want to go up and hug it,” she said. “It’s the best thing ever.”

Murchinson said she really wanted the large bird, but soon realized she couldn’t: it wouldn’t fit in either her truck or her budget.

“It would have cost me almost $600,” she said. “I wanted something nice, but I’m not crazy. That’s way too much for one bird.”

So, with a broken heart, she stepped away — but soon found herself rejoicing when she saw smaller ones at a fraction of the price.

“God was smiling down on me,” she said.

Standing at only two-foot, Murchinson said her purchase was more reasonable than her first love, costing her under $50.

“It’ll look really nice outside with all my plants,” she said. “And it didn’t cost me a fortune.”

However, Murchinson said, jokingly, it wouldn’t take much for her to come into town and steal it in the middle of the night.

“The problem with that it is so big, even if I could find someone to truck it away, they would be able to find it,” she said. “Not a good caper after all.”

Judy Dannenfelser, one of the store vendors, said the chickens are originally made in Mexico but the chickens are purchased at an outlet in Manhattan. She said they are a popular item, but she expects sales to decrease now that people have their gardens decorated.

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