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Cochins, mayonnaise jars and five pounds of chocolate
NORWAY – Kellie Danico was raised here and has lived in the same house all of her life. She raises show chickens, loves life and is in awe of nature.
She recently took time to tell us about her life.
Q: When were you born and where were you brought up?
A: I was born right here in town and brought up in the same house. I was born at Stephens on June 7, 1965, and that was the year this house was built. I have lived here all of my life, basically.
Q: Did you have many siblings?
A: I have one brother, Mark and he lives in Waterford.
Q: What did your parents do?
A: My mother was a seamstress. She made slipcovers and draperies and did it for both business and residential. She lived to be 72 and passed away in 2009.
My dad was a self-employed carpenter and he did odd jobs here and there. He became ill at an early age and passed away at the age of 52 in 1987.
Q: What was it like growing up?
A: It was a single home and we always had animals.
There was always something going on.
I would go to work with my parents a lot during the summer or school vacation and I could easily be self-entertained.
I went fishing in the brook.
My brother was six years older, so he was in a different age bracket so we didn't have to hang around much. And it wasn't like I wanted to hang out with him and his friends. He had his friends and I had mine.
He tormented me sometimes. I remember one time he put a frog in my bed; a barn spider in the mayonnaise jar and it had babies. One day he sent me down a hill with the mini bike and it had no brakes or an engine. I went down the hill across the garden and somehow I managed to loop back around and back up the hill to help me stop.
My mother didn’t worry – she knew if I was screaming I was still alive. I was probably hounding him to let me ride it.
My favorite thing I remember of my childhood was when I was around 13 and I went to work with Blynn Thurston at the dairy farm. I went to help milk the cows. I would put the machines on, feed the cows and clean out the stall. I loved that. If I could have continued doing that I would have. I did that till after I graduated from high school.
I also did some babysitting and worked as a CNA my senior year.
Q: Was there anything you wanted to be when you grew up?
A: I always wanted to do something with animals and I would have loved to have been a farmer, but the reality of it is, it's not something to make a great living with.
I knew it would have only been a hobby.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: I went to the Fox School, then Guy Rowe, then the yellow building right there, then junior high and high school.
Q: Did you get into mischief or play pranks?
A: No. With an older brother, I was pretty much the one on the receiving end of that.
Q: When and how did you meet your spouse?
A: I’m not married and never have been. I guess I never really took the time. After helping care for my father, my grandmother and then my mom I was always quite entertained. And I am very independent and do quite well taking care of myself.
I do have a boyfriend, Bob, and we have been together for nine years. He is just a great companion when we get together.
Q: What is one of your favorite early memories of your boyfriend?
A: I met Bob on the computer. It was a dating site. We chatted online a couple of months before we actually met.
We met for lunch and we were both early. When I walked in, this guy said hi to me, but I didn’t think it was Bob. I went outside and leaned against the wall to wait for him. He eventually came outside smiling and thought I had bolted because I had the deer-in-the-headlights look.
I was just so nervous that I didn't recognize him.
Q: What do you do now?
A: I went to vocational training and became a CNA. I did that for a good many years. And then I retired in the 90’s from that work. I have four forms of arthritis and it's just too tough to get around.
Q: Did you do much traveling?
A: I've been to Virginia and a lot of the east coast, Ohio and Niagara Falls. Actually I went to Ohio and Niagara with Bob. He had to go to Ohio and we stopped at the falls on the way back.
I went to Virginia to spend time at the Edgar Casey Museum. He was what they referred to as the sleeping prophet. It was basically a type of hypnosis and he would work to improve someone's health. You can also do research on different ailments and cures.
They teach you how to come into your own energy and be at peace with life.
Q: Which place was the most fascinating and why?
A: I am one of those people that go to the county fair and find something fascinating. I don't have to travel to do that.
Actually one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen was right here on Hall’s Pond. There is this overlook; it seemed like quite a walk, but it was worth it. We were sitting down high above everything else and four baby and two adult bald eagles were flying around. They spotted us and it was like they actually had to come over to see us and check us out. It was just amazing. I’m in such awe of nature and the beauty of it.
Q: Did anyone influence you to the point of changing your direction in life?
A: There was no single person. There are a lot of people who have made an influence on my life. My parents, and of course Bob. He is such a funny enabler.
I am influenced by people who have lost children, regardless to disease or SIDS. How they can keep moving forward when they had their gut kicked so hard that they could hardly breathe. Or to those who never find that missing person, their loved ones and the what-ifs that eat at them. We all feel loss, and wish we had done more; said one more thing or given that last kiss. It’s difficult to keep that perspective.
Q: Do you collect anything or have a hobby?
A: Yes. I show poultry and chicken stock.
We have 34 chickens right now, at least right now! I can’t count chickens before they hatch. There are five bantam Cochins; 2 roosters and 3 hens. We have six, Standard Cochins. I have 13 laying hens and we have two Belgian-bearded, booted mille fleurs and they are d'Uccle which means they are little. Bantam means it's little too, but there is no standard ... it's just a true bantam.
We have 18 to 20 broilers as well that we order in the spring and process them for eating. They average six to eight pounds in six weeks. ... All they do is eat. When I go through 100 pounds in a day of food, that’s when it's time to process. I get 10 turkeys too, but they are about 3 months before processing and we raise them through the summer.
Cochins and mille fleurs are for show and are show lines. They are absolutely gorgeous and we breed them. They do their own thing and we get about a dozen at the most, combined.
The Cochins take about 10 months to mature. The mille fleurs, which we take to show are able to be shown at about a year and a half, so you schedule a hatch to work around a show. When they are beyond showing, they live happily on – I can't process them.
I have 5 layers that just hang around to keep order in the flock.
I love to teach people about the ornamental breeds. I have one guy, Scooter and he goes everywhere with me.
I also love crafts and making greeting cards ... I put pictures of Scooter on them.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: The Chicken Health Handbook. It helps to learn to improve your poultry flock's health.
Q: What is the one thing you could not give up?
A: My boyfriend Bob.
Q: Do you have a hidden talent or a talent you wished you had?
A: I am psychic. I have actually done missing persons and helped in finding them.
Q: When did you know you had that?
A: I was raised with it and both my parents had it.
Q: What was the best memory that this interview brought back?
A: My parents and the fun things we did. How intelligent they were as well as great parents.
Q: What would you like people to know about you?
A: I am funny and kind; I have a great sense of humor and just being a good and caring citizen. I feel it is important to be an asset in other's lives.
Q: Last day on earth; what would you do and who with?
A: It would be with Bob and it would be a beautiful summer day; just watching my birds, eating five pounds of chocolate and having a bottle of wine.
Q: What scares you the most?
A: Spiders; especially in mayonnaise jars!
Q: If anyone could walk in right now, who would you most want to see?
A: My parents and I would tell them that I miss them more than I thought I ever could. It’s those times you still want to ask them a question. It’s hard when they are gone.