Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicken ladies

E and I were spreading straw in the garden and were visited by observing chickens. Not uncommon. They usually sneak in the gate since we leave it ajar so the girl can come and go. We're used to chasing them around the herbs and shooing them out before any damage is done. And it's usually the same lady, Minerva. Black chicken with yellow feet and feather tips and a white racing stripe on her outstretched wings. Minerva, the original head lady, who got a little shook up when the brooder lamp ruptured, the girl who starts the "chicken game" everytime we're in the yard, the first girl into the house at night. So it's only fitting that she was the first one to join us by jumping onto the fence. I gently pushed her off before she decided to join us in the dirt. She ran along the top of the uneven fence, faltered and bailed back into the yard.

The next day, Fluffy, my almost rooster, the one who lets us hold her the most often, the most daring and eager to try any new foods we bring out, the girl who has discovered if she jumps and flaps she can fly farther, joined us as we finished with the straw. She hopped up on the opposite fence, curiously cocked her head to the side, looked at me as if to ask "what are you doing with my snack?" I shooed her off and she came running in the gate almost immediately, went straight for the hay bale that usually lives on the porch and started rummaging for seeds.

The next day, in muggy 100 degree weather, we went outside and found Fergy sitting on the fence. She's the one I've gotta watch. I really hope she was just chasing a butterfly or grasshopper because she's the antagonist. She is usually the bird who steals someone's grub, the girl who will peak at my toes if I'm not dolling out the treats fast enough. She's nipped at my clothes and poked my back for the same reason. She's usually the first to come running when she sees us, let's us pet her, and is the only one who sleeps in the nesting box all night long.

As long as the rest of the bale lives on the porch, and I don't see Ella, the mild-mannered singer on the fence, and the grasshoppers keep them busy, I don't worry about their new found entrance to my secret garden. I do have to watch for landmines every time I open my back door though.

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