Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chicken chase

When chasing an errant chicken, you learn a lot about the neighbors. You don’t meet them all because no one who does not have to be outside at 7:15 on a freezing morning is going to be standing around to greet you.

I began by wasting natural resources driving out my street and down the next one over to the yard where Edsel—also known as “that f**$#@! fowl"-- had spent the night. I had seen her silhouette in the tree but by the time I got to the house, she had disappeared.

I discovered that the dog belonging to that house is huge. That is, the size of the poop is huge and it was all over the yard like land mines. These people should clean up more often. They did have lots of useful junk, including spare wood, bricks I could use to line the fence around the chicken pen to keep vermin out, and a shed that would make a great hen house if they'd just get all the junk out of it. Unfortunately, there were huge piles of debris at the back of the yard that Edsel, once I spotted her, ran up, down, and around while I stumbled after her, trying to catch her in the fishing net I had brought.

Finally she flew to the top of the fence and sat there, impervious to the pebbles I threw at her. I showed admirable self-restraint by not heaving a boulder. Because this yard was several feet lower than mine, the wood fence sat on top of a brick retaining wall that was about hip height. Fortunately there was a reinforcing pole that I used to haul myself up the few extra inches I needed before getting a foot on the wall, not an easy thing to do in clumsy rubber work boots.

When I stood there clinging to the pole, she gave a squawk and flew toward my yard. I jumped down, hoping I wouldn’t sprain anything, dashed to my car, dog poop and all, and drove back to my house. Did I mention that I was dressed for work except for the yard boots?

Since my neighbor on the west side was out scraping ice off his windshield, I explained that I needed to take a look in his back yard in case the chicken had gone there. No chicken but an unused dog kennel about 6x8x6 that could make a really nice chicken run. Maybe they want to get rid of it....

Then the neighbor and I had a little talk about the raccoon I reported on earlier. He said, “We sort of took care of it,” in that low-voiced manner people have when they're describing something not quite legal. I feared he was implying that they had set out poison.

I ran back to my yard and there was Edsel looking bewildered on a short deciduous tree. Pure luck. I bagged her in the net and put her in the hutch with Muffin, who is always easy to catch. Edsel complained about the whole thing. As if she had any right!

Next: Lockdown

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