Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Escargot and other matters culinary

Growing up here in the Pacific Northwest, I've seen plenty of slugs but never had snails in my yard until I moved here. Lots of snails, whose shells make them less gross than slugs. The chickens, it turns out, are very particular about which snails they'll dine on. They turn up their beaks at adult snails. I found a small one the other day and threw it into the pen with some other snacks. Muffin gave it a few whacks to break the shell and happily dined on young, tender escargot. Good thing they don't expect to dip the snails in garlic butter.

Snakes supposedly don't hear, except for feeling vibrations, and they definitely don't understand English. But there was a moment tonight...I put Matilda's thawed mice in the tank and she started sniffing around. She opened her mouth to start eating one from the tail end. I said, "Not that end, start at the other end," because it's easier for them to eat nose first (think of which direction the mouse's legs bend). She lifted her head toward me, paused, and went to the other end of the mouse to start eating. Coincidence, of course, but I like to imagine we are communicating.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The hen wanders again

I was on the phone a few days ago, talking to a friend, when a loud knock sounded on the front door. I opened it to see the two young women from the other side of the fence, both grinning. The one with the short hair and tattoos proffered her hands, clad once again in yellow work gloves and holding the black hen Zora. This time nobody was out of breath from chasing around--apparently Zora was getting to know them.

Telling my friend that I'd call her back because an errant chicken was at the door, I put down the phone and took Zora, clasping her between my hands the way my neighbor had. I said, "Again? I clipped her wings!"

After they left, I remembered I was barefoot. With reasoning that now escapes me, I shut the front door and turned to carry Zora through the house to the back door where I could slip my feet into clogs before venturing onto the hazards left by chickens and dogs in the back yard.

Speaking of dogs, there they were, jumping around, eager to sniff at the thing I held. Zora wriggled her wings out of my hands in the expert way of chickens and took off for the back of the couch. Thinking, "Please don't shit, please, please," I raced after her ahead of the dogs, scooped her up, tucked her against my side like a football and made for the back door. On the way, I grabbed a pair of scissors and we headed out to the coop, shoeless.

Zora got a little more barbering before I tossed her back with the other chickens. Either the trim worked or she has decided that the grass isn't any greener on the other side because she hasn't escaped again. Yet.