Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Neighbor's Dirt Is Better

The neighbors know who Betty is. We've been here almost three years and I still have had not met most of the people living in vicinity of Garage Mahal, but Betty has. She's social that way. She calls on her neighbors. She's not shy. And the neighbors are apologetic when they knock on my door, "Uh, excuse me. Sorry to bother you. Do you have a chicken?" I didn't think we live that far from the country, but they really do seem stunned at the sight of an actual chicken! I introduce her formally. I bring eggs to them. I assure them she does not bite. I do all I can to smooth any ruffled feathers, but I cannot seem to stop Betty from crossing the road.

And where was she the other day?

Oh, the panic. The heartache. Where is my Betty?
And I call her name and peek under all the subtropical plantings.
I shake her oatmeal tub.
I anticipate that sweet moment when I will see her eager paddling, her feathered sprint as she runs to greet me.

I scan the street for feathers. A dreadful, anxious task, but people drive fast and loose here and she never looks both ways.

And then, by sheer luck, I see her. She did not run to me. She did not peep. She dug in deeper, determined to make the most of this luxurious dirt bath. She knew... I know she knew... she had no business digging in the neighbor's newly planted yard, kicking up the fluffy, fresh soil.

Betty. Oh, Betty. This is not neighborly.


nikkipolani said...

Ah, Betty. I know you think the only possible reason humans fluff up the dirt is for chickens to settle down in them. I know because my cats have the same mistaken notion. But the least you could do is let out a peep so your human does not worry. Okay? Okay.

Julie said...

I think it'd be pretty fun to find someone's chicken nesting in my yard! Great story.

judy in ky said...

I wouldn't mind finding Betty in my yard. She's so funny. I'm sure it wasn't funny for you, frantically searching for her. Just glad you found her, safe and sound. (Maybe you could put up a "chicken crossing" sign for her.)

warren said...

Excellent! Photographic evidence of why the chicken crossed the road!

tara said...

Yes, the dust bath is always taken exactly where it shouldnt be. I even have a hard time digging holes for new plants and trees. They see the shovel and leap into the hole for worms. Ummm...I was digging here.
Just think Betty, a whole new space and neighborhood to explore. And neighbors to meet.

Laura Jane said...

Mmmmm, free-ranging chicken!

A chicken...abroad...as it were.

A neighbourly chicken. About to move house.

Great photos!

Theresa said...

ps Can you train a chicken to stay in your yard?

Theresa said...

I wish I could get a Betty for us.

d.a. said...

Hee, hee! Stay safe, Betty! :-D

happy zombie said...

I love that Betty crossed the road (and you had your camera!). I think you should get Betty one of those Cal Trans orange safety vests. Just in case you're not there next time.

Man I miss my chickens! I think next spring we'll get some again. Betty made me do it.