Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Get Into My Yard

This past Saturday was the last day of the market for the year. Oh, they will have an indoor market for a couple of days in late November with Christmas goodies - cheese, jellies, soap, maple syrup, but the fine summery things will have to wait until next year. My friend Susan was here for the week-end, so we went and bought peppers and kale and squash. I had already gotten a lovely pie pumpkin the week before, in hopes that John would make one of his fine pies. He has been too busy, so the pumpkins is sitting on the counter with a couple of butternut squash which one of us will make into soup soon.

When Susan and I got home from the market, I heard the unmistakable sound of a clucking chicken. Susan thought it was probably a goose flying over. It seemed improbable that that a chicken would be anywhere in the vicinity of my backyard, but it sounded like a chicken to me.

Then, when I looked out of the kitchen window after I got in, there WAS a chicken, a beautiful white, fat chicken strutting around the backyard, pecking at the ground, and checking out John's truck. A live chicken!

There has been move in this town to allow people to keep chickens. It's all part of the urban farming movement. City council is fighting this move, claiming that rats are attracted to chicken coops on account of the feed. To say nothing of hungry coyotes after the rats.
When I was a child in Atlanta, many folks kept chickens in the city. Hearing roosters crowing in the morning was common. I'll never forget when I was at a playmate's house (her name was Dorothy Crawford and she had a big brother named Beau) and their servant came out with an axe, grabbed one of their chickens, took it to the chopping block and decapitated it with one blow. The headless creature then hopped about, spurting blood everywhere around the yard for a while before collapsing and being taken into the kitchen for dinner. The family's, not the chi ken's. Cold blooded murder! I was six, and I can still see it. We never kept chickens, and bought ours already dead, so I never saw that again.

So anyway, we had this white chicken in the back yard, strutting and clucking and no idea where she had come from. Susan and I went off to see "Waiting for Superman, an excellent documentary, and when we came back, the chicken was gone. John went around the neighborhood and found her owners, who apparently are raising chi kens, and have been doing so, in spite of City Council's refusing to allow it. Good for them. If we start seeing well-fed rats or coyote we'll know whom to blame.

So the chicken is back with her sister hens, but she did cross the road to get to our back yard, which answers that age old question. And I hope she never gets her head chopped off for some one's dinner.

1 comment:

Yosustah said...

I remember that incident with the headless chicken.Annie had a flock in Palos Verdes, headed by a gorgeous white rooster...but, he would start to crow even before dawn and she had to give him away. She still got dozens of multi colored eggs so maybe the rooster was just for show...and tell.