Saturday, June 29, 2002

Waiting For Eggs

Still no eggs, but I suspect the hens will be laying any day now. And there will likely be some crowing soon too. Sunshine is several inches taller than the hens, and he is producing emerald green tail feathers. They are iridescent. He postures grandly and displays a roughed up collar when riled, but his 'cock-a doodle-doo' is still nonexistent. Rosie is the smallest and meekest hen. She usually keeps up with the others, but she is the most likely to get lost, or left behind. When any one of the hens becomes separated she cries mournfully, in little sobs that sound duck-like. Luna is all fluff and old fashioned femininity. Her behind recalls ruffled panties or petticoats made of down. Gracie has retained all the poise, beauty and loveliness that inspired her name. She has a small circle of feathers on either side of her face, that are especially pronounced. She is all colors, and patterns, and smooth as silk.

They love to cruise around the yard in search of delectable tidbits, shade and sandy spots for their dust baths. They frequently sit outside the door, as though they expect to be let in at any moment. When we open the door to go out, they step aside, reluctantly, and cluck to themselves indignantly. Diego, the kitten, paces by the window. He seems to be counting the chickens, and he might let them in to the house if he could. Or perhaps it is only that he wants out as much as they want in. They pass the window, cock their heads sideways and peer inside curiously. They see carpeting, a sofa, toys, shoes and chairs; so much to explore, so much that might be really useful to a chicken, if only they could get in. Alas, they have small heads, and even smaller brains, and all they can do is take the occasional peck at the window. But outside there are pincher bugs, and worms, flower buds and mustard greens, even a grasshopper or two. The chickens invariably return to scratching and pecking and rolling in the dust under the shade of the holly tree. And when the sun has barely slipped over the hill, they return to their own house. They 'bok, bok, bok,' and shift and shuffle, until they have each found a comfy place for the night.

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