Texas Country Reporter turns fifty in October 2022. Each week until then, we’ll share classic episodes from the show’s history and behind-the-scenes reflections from TCR’s creator and host, Bob Phillips.

When I first met Mary Ann Fordyce on her farm in Bellville, Texas, in 2014, I wasn’t quite sure she was glad to see me. Her frank talk and straightforward ways sent an instant message.

“The males of a species can be useless,” she said, while looking directly in my eyes.

“You don’t feel that way about . . . about us?” I stammered.

“Are you asking me if I think men are worthless, Bob?” she asked.

I decided to change the subject to the reason we came to see Mary Ann: chickens.

Only, you need to know first that most people don’t call her by her real name.

“I am the Chicken Lady,” she said.

Before she was the Chicken Lady, Mary Ann was a city girl. But after setting foot on rural soil, she knew she was where she should have been all along. She now says she belongs on the farm with her three-thousand-plus chickens, which she has since moved to the town of Industry, Texas.

But chickens and eggs aren’t the Chicken Lady’s true mission. What she is really trying to do is to help people see that the way folks used to live might be best.

Indeed, a new movement seems to be dawning, with more people returning to country life, and the Chicken Lady was someone who heard the wake-up call early on.

“People are now turning back to old Americana,” she said. “They’re taking a look at what’s important in life.”

Like raising chickens and selling fresh eggs.