Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Monday morning

Monday, July 04, 2005

Monday morning

Wind blows, cloud covers, Beloved back aches, Granny's neck - plus connected arm - aches. What's new?

She sits at her desk, Beautiful Wimp at her feet.

This is a new regime. Owing to fact that every new attempt to contain the BW last two days before he learns to wriggle over, under, through, and out, and that he therefore has to be tied up outside - which he hates; owing also to fact that the land, after the abundance of spring, is now covered in vicious burrs, half of which end up in his fur. Since BW IS a WIMP, getting them out leaves him feeling unloved/abused, even more neurotic than usual. Beloved says he needs to feel loved. Sitting under Granny's desk he thinks will help. So here BW is, sometimes nibbling at himself in indecent places, sometime licking her toes, inbetweenwhiles looking as melancholy as ever. He is that sort of dog.

He has an odd relationship with the chickens. They terrify him. He jumps down into the run in which they are not and then can't get out again. (Memo. Maybe this is one means of shutting him up.) Sometimes he makes rushes at them from outside the wire. They now ignore him. As they also ignore Feline Houdini who has taken to hanging about in their run, probably in hope of nabbing one of the marauding sparrows; so far in vain. He's clearly decided that the chickens are out of his league.

As for the Tiresome Terrier. Granny doubts if she thinks the chickens are beyond her. She is just biding her time until the gate gets left open. It doesn't get left open.

Chook society evolves by the day. The cockerel is beginning to assert himself a bit; but the testosterone clearly isn't flowing yet. He chases the odd impertinant member of his future harem out of his way from the time to time. But that's about it.

Feeding time is what defines the rest of them. Beloved tends to think naming chooks is a waste of time, but it's through this that Granny has learned to identify their different behaviours. The top pair, the ones with white tails, Cora and Connie, leap onto the food dish and try to hide it from the others. They also hang out together in betweenwhiles. The bully girls, Cathy and Cassie - both of them with white sprayed hackles and quite hard to tell apart - Beloved thinks they're probably genetically quite close - attempt to chase the others away. Cora and Connie aren't much bothered - of the loners, Kitty, too, is mostly left alone; she's a bit thick; almost always the last to notice where the dish is coming. The other loner, the prettiest of all of them, with plumage between chestnut and amber, Caron, is chased away all the time. This might be a problem if she wasn't very canny and very cheeky. She gets into the dish first each time, grabbing what she can while the bullies are too busy to notice. When they do chase her out, she wanders around looking for her chance and seizes prize morsels - green stuff especially - they all love greenstuff - from under the feet of the others when they drop them. Or even from their beaks when they emerge. She's even been seen to hassle the cockerel, and seize what he drops. She then disappears to a corner to eat whatever it is. None of the others seem to realise that if they want to hang onto something they need to get right out of the way. Bottom of the pecking order though Caron may be, Granny is not concerned about her. She knows how to look after herself. She's even fun.

A loner herself, Granny rather favours Caron- you may have noticed - even though Caron in her rush to get to the dish did peck her once. Dimly, from her father's chickens more than half a century ago, she remembers there almost always was 'a character' who tended to be allowed to hang around, even after she'd stopped laying, while sisters became 'boiling fowl' and disappeared into the pressure cooker to become wonderfully intense chicken stock. She suspects that Beloved will not be so sentimental. We shall see.

What she does like is seeing these erstwhile battery hens, once so timid they wouldn't come out of their shed, colonise every corner of their run, of their chicken society. THIS IS A GOOD THING. A happy rescue. She wishes she could do the same for all the island's chickens. Poultry 'Husbandry' (horrible word in relation to animals) may have improved a bit elsewhere in Europe. It hasn't happened here.

Well you got the chicken piece after all. Aren't you lucky bunnies? It's probably because the alternative was getting to the NEW BOOK. Of which Granny, as yet, has only the dimmest idea. Terrifying. TERRIFYING.

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