Good morning. It has come to our attention that a certain amount of scratching and scribbling at this site has included observations of our little flock. We think it important to add our voices to this reporting. Let me introduce us. I am Sally, leader of and spokesman for the chicken population on this farm. Edith and I have been together since the beginning of time, and Henrietta joined us at what we call the Great Awakening. We were moved into our present home together, but it has taken some time for us to adjust to the point where we can consider ourselves a flock.
We employ a pair of humans, as I believe they are called, for light maintenance and housekeeping. For this they are compensated with a daily selection of eggs, the purpose of which is unclear to us. The eggs are not living, and will never result in chicks. But the look on their faces as they collect what is owed them is one of reverence. Well. This arrangement is of course, weighted in our favor, as the human’s services are purchased by that which is, honestly,worthless.
Our coop is pleasant and opens onto an orchard in which rather stunted trees of some indeterminate type grow. We mine the soil for grubs and worms, but so far this has proved unproductive. However, there is a structure inside the coop itself that flows with, as it were, milk and honey. The same for water. A mysterious door opens to the orchard, and similarly closes, from time to time by some intelligence undetectable to us.
Our amusement is as might be expected. Scratching, airing our feathers, roosting in the dark hours. But we are gifted in the opportunity to watch the antics of our human employees. They are a rooster (is that the correct term for their species?) and a hen. The hen is friendly enough, and often brings us treats. Now that Henrietta, the little French immigrant, has properly learned her place, we even allow her access to these delights.
Last week, we had a most enjoyable show as the rooster-human crawled around in the dirt, lugging lengths of tree wood up to our garden, cutting it into lengths with a most fearful machine, and placing the pieces along the perimeter of our orchard. The hen stands uselessly by, sometimes offering him a tool of some sort, which he uses to secure the wood to the wire fence. Who knows what the purpose of this exercise may be, but we suspect it’s in the deluded belief that we may be deterred from digging under the fence, and thus expanding our territory.
It was Henrietta who first gave us the idea that there might be better hunting outside the perimeter, but what happened next is quite delicious to tell. Great pandemonium erupted when the rooster noticed her doing a bit of exploring. Yelling ensued, and the hen came from her coop next door with a vessel of cracked corn, which she offered to Henrietta, As she proceeded to open our door and pour the corn inside, Henrietta of course joined us there in enjoying the treat.
As you will imagine, it didn’t take us long to recognize that in this way, we could manipulate the appearance of the treat, at a time desired by us. Isn’t it fun? And here’s what’s so amusing. The rooster with all his log rolling and stapling seems to believe that he is in some way preventing us from exercising this control. Is he unaware that we can fly?
Now that Sally has had her say, I, Jane, will take back the pen and resume this narrative. It’s a beautiful fall day, but I’m stuck inside waiting for my cherry tart to set. We’ve come under the spell cast by the Great British Baking Show, and the thing has invaded even our language. “Mary and Paul would like you to bake a cherry tart. It must be free form, sugar and gluten free, with cherries hand picked by Japanese maidens and . . .” This has to stop.
Meanwhile, Larry is outside sawing away on the so-called heritage site.
I’ll be able to get out there and enjoy the sunshine as soon as the everlasting tart shows signs of done-ness. Otherwise, cherry tart soup? It happens.
Work has begun on the perimeter fence and path. Adam, Brush-clearing Guy, is somewhere unseen, but heard, working to clear berry vines, branches, whatever, from the outer side of the fencing. He plans to heave them over the fence to the inside, then mulch the debris to become my “boulevard.” Unfortunately, the conservation folk have adopted that phrase and use it to remind me of my pretentions. Okay, laugh, boys.
And now the sun is setting, as have my cherries, and we gather up by the TV to learn the results of the election. Groan. Dread. But let me close with some photos of a lovely fall day before we have to pay attention to, well, you know.