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Owen County Historical Society News: Chicken has always been a part of Owen County homes

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By Bonnie Strassell

Chicken seems to be the time-honored meat of choice for picnics, and the six-county picnic to be held Tuesday is no exception.
The Owen County Historical Society, host of the event, will serve chicken, biscuits, and a drink as members from all six counties, Carroll, Gallatin, Henry, Owen, Switzerland, and Trimble, provide covered dishes.
Ron Devore will entertain on his dulcimer, I will be storytelling, and guests will be given the opportunity to view and try their hand playing old time instruments. Historical society board members Bobby and Stella Gibson will exhibit  their Victrola, child’s accordion, and penny whistles; and a few surprises are planned. RSVPs are necessary and can be made by calling the museum at 484-2529.
Chicken is a favorite of everyone, and most Owen countians remember their mothers and grandmothers chopping heads or wringing necks of chickens to serve a grand chicken dinner on Sunday or to save for a future meal.
When my family and I moved from the city to Owen County, I was determined to try my hand at self-sufficiency. One of the first steps to achieve this status was to supply my freezer with seven old hens we had raised in the city and who didn’t lay eggs anymore.
Little did I know that old chickens provide tough meat, thus the saying “one tough old bird.” A friend (another city dweller) insisted he had experience cutting off the heads of chickens, for he had worked on a farm in New York.
With our friend’s help, we soon had seven headless chickens running around the yard. My husband asked if there was a certain way to gut the chickens so we could finish, to which his friend answered that he had no idea how to proceed because all he had ever done was chop off heads!
A book on poultry instructed us to completion, but today I have two chicken coops, as one is the designated home for the older generation who have no fear of the soup pot. I admire the expertise and self-sufficiency of our forefathers and mothers, but when it comes to chickens, I now buy mine from local grocery stores.
Historical society president Jeannie Baker and her husband Darrel, spent two days at the 127 yard sale searching for treasures for the museum.
Fifty items were added to our collections, most of which were donated with only a few items costing a minimal amount. We are grateful to all donors whose generosity helps to preserve our Owen county history.
The Owen County Historical Society is pleased to welcome our new treasurer, Liz Dunavent.
Liz has been helping out at the museum and assisting in many other ways. She and her husband Bud are life-time Owen countians, and the historical society is pleased to have Liz on board.
Our sincere thanks also to all those who have stepped up to help run the museum including: Ethel Kincaid, Christie and Bill Kennedy, Ruth Ann Hazlett, Mary Lou Morrison, Christina Rice, Jean Allen Thomas, and Ella Robinson, who has agreed to be our in-house auditor.
We are also grateful to Darrel Baker and Jim Acton who continue to work on new construction, electrical updating, and much-needed repairs in the museum, and to our resident lawn-care volunteers and heavy furniture movers Bobby Gibson and Oscar Jacobs.