"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Dec 16, 2012

Jurassic Park, Urban Style

I just threw out almost a pound of bacon because I forgot it was in the fridge.  It’s a beautiful, monstrous thing; double doors up top; huge sliding double-compartment freezer below; separate temperature controls and crisping drawers.  And room for dozens and dozens of eggs, which up until this past week I’ve been getting for free, thanks to the Girls. (If you’re new, I’m house-and-pet-sitting in the Historic District, somewhere in Oregon...)

Four hens, I couldn’t keep up with their average 3 eggs per day, all different colors.  Fried, scrambled, deviled; omelettes, quiche, frittatas; hard boiled on the left, raw on the right.  Easy to remember.  BC ate some; the neighbors got a dozen.  I started waking up with more and more feathers, and I’m not convinced they all came from the pillow.
Caretaking assignments often include caring for a variety of animals, and chickens sounded pretty easy.  But I was frightened of them from the get-go, and they knew it.  The person who’d originally been scheduled to take and care for them declined at the last minute, so for the past 5 weeks they’ve tormented me.

Waiting to attack
This trio is straight out of Jurassic Park.  Remember how one dinosaur distracted the hapless victim while the other two attacked from the sides?  I tried my best to overcome my fear, but they knew I was scared and never let up.  I was hollering, “No…Stop…Go Away!” in a quiet neighborhood which knew me not.  From the girl’s point of view, I must have been an amusing diversion.

Only plump Ginger left me alone; she was apparently the Brontosaurus of the bunch.  Two couples who'd expressed mild interest in learning to become real urban farmers ultimately declined (perhaps they heard me), so I begged a woman whom I was told might be willing to take them off my hands.

“How old are they?”
How can you tell, and who the hell cares?  She said they’re only good for laying for about a year; I said I didn’t care if they wound up in the cook pot. 

“Max’ll be over in the morning.”

“That speckled one’s the worst,” I warned Max as he entered their pen with the cage he brought along.  He laughed as they ignored him, even when he tried to entice them with an outstretched hand.  They know.
Max grabbed ‘em one after another and threw them in like it was nothin’.  “Go ahead and let me take your picture,” he said as he balanced the transport on a bin, but even caged I was still nervous and hung on with two fingers, ready to let go at a moment’s notice.

“It’s the red one who’s in charge.  See…she hopped up on the top stick and that’s where she’s staying.  It’s the Pecking Order."
Yeah, I’ve heard of that, but never seen it in action.  The girls are now on 24 acres and I hear they’ve settled into their new pecking order just fine.  Dropped some eggs the first day.  So while I must once again purchase mine (and I don’t much care where they come from, as long as they’re cheap), as it turned out I was not to be deprived.

This anonymous plate of chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies was on the doorstep that afternoon when I checked the mail on the front porch.  Just like the box of Omaha Steaks.  No wonder you people live in houses.

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