Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: private life of chickens..

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

private life of chickens..

Yesterday it rained on and off all day. Right now Granny looks out on sun and sea - though cloud also comes and goes. She is not feeling any warmer - currently wearing her warmest sweater with a fleece on top. But with floods in Somerset, snow in Scotland, ice storms in the North East of the USA she knows she has nothing to complain of really - she can, she will put her head out in the sun shortly - it's much warmer out there. Good. And so that's it for now for the weather report.

How about a report on chicken relationships instead? You think little girls are bitchy and have to be watched to make sure they are not bullying each other? Believe her they have nothing on barnyard fowl - not above dispatching younger birds if given the chance before turning to bully the mother of the murdered babe.

Three weeks ago there was a three month old bantam chick and its mother living in the coop on the back patio. To make room for the new batch of clipped beak chicks from the chicken factory they had to be moved to join the rest of the bantam flock, in one of the runs down on the land. Granny wondered - these days, from experience, she knows something about the morals of chickens - if that mightn't be a bit brutal, not to say a mistake? Beloved, the practical farmer, was having none of it. 'There's nowhere else for them,' he said. 'They will have to take their chance. We've got more than enough bantams as it is.' Inevitably now there is no chick to be seen and the mother is cowering in the corner of the run. Surveying such tribalism, such territorialism in chickens, makes Granny realise what animals - she is not using that word derogatorily just literally - humans still are. You only have to watch the news - national, local international - most nights to see it. Compared to all that tribal viciousness, chickens are just chickens after all. But she still dislikes seeing this hen or that one miserable down on her land. Sad hens are a very sad sight.

Water - ah water. Beloved this very moment is in the main town signing a water contract, she hopes. Their house and they will from that moment start to exist, though how long it will take the company to take the red tag off their meter and turn the water on is another matter.

But that is not the end of it. They got their water tank - the ajjibe - an Arab word relating to the days of Andalus and the Muslim empire - filled up last week by the big blue tanker. Good. Not so good was discovering as as a result that the tank is leaking, badly. Something they would have found out about long ago had they not been non-people in the water company's eyes. This means the tank has to be re-lined - a major and expensive operation, all the more so now that Granny's inadequate pounds are almost at parity with the euro. Plastic tanks will have to be put to use temporarily so that the newly flowing water does not drain off into their land. But at least the plastic tanks can be used thereafter for the grey water system with which they are proposing to water their garden and their vegetables down on the land. One way and another their water use will be on a much more ecological basis from that time on. Granny thinks this is one - or two - good results of Beloved's going to the water company, making her marginally less cross with him. On their mostly dry island she doesn't like to see water wasted. You know how virtuous, how environmentally conscious she is.

Such virtue though, means she will have to forget the interesting OU course she had picked out, to start her brain off with. The OU doesn't come cheap alas - the money not spent on her intellect will go a good way to pay for re-lining the tank. She can always study the set texts by herself, of course, she probably will. But she does rather wish that halos came that bit cheaper.

And by now wouldn't you know - though the view out there may be just as spectacular, the bloody sun has gone in.

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