Monday, August 24, 2009

L.O.L. Out Loud.

Remember the feral chicken? Our next-door neighbor, who knew the man who used to keep the chickens, told us that it was actually a male African Game Fowl.  We couldn't tell a hen from a rooster for love nor money, and he seemed to know his stuff, so we took him at his word.

Here's the backstory: We were driving up the hill to our house one rainy night in May 2009 when I saw something moving in the road ahead of us. I slowed down to a crawl, wondering out loud, "Could that be....a....chicken??!"

We happened to have an empty cardboard box in the back of our van, so my 13yo son Brian hopped out, stealthily crept up behind the unsuspecting bird, and plunked the box over it. It was a bit befuddled by the darkness and the rain, I guess. We then slid a piece of cardboard under the box, flipped the whole thing over, and drove home with the box on Brian's lap. When we got to the yard, we upended the box into the (empty) rabbit hutch and quickly closed the lid.

We were all delighted, of course, because raising chickens for eggs is one of our dreams and we finally have the room to do it. So, "Wah! Free chicken!" was going through my mind.

The angry bird huddled in the rabbit hutch all night. The kids were screaming with excitement the next day when Daddy got home, each wanting to be the first to surprise him with the good news. He approached the rabbit hutch, lifted the lid a few inches to inspect the bird, and FOOM! - it lifted off like an exploding rocket and shot 30 ft into the air, roosting in the tall cedar trees edging our yard. We didn't even think chickens could fly, at least not THAT high.

Goodbye chicken. Goodbye eggs.

Except it didn't leave. It's been frequenting our yard daily in the three months since then. We always throw out bread, crackers, cereal & noodles for the neighborhood birds, and we regularly see the 'chicken' out there feasting as well. It especially likes dry Cheerios! We've never again gotten close enough to capture it, because it shoots over the fence and into the neighbor's chestnut tree at the first hint of company. I'm happy to see it in the yard and to feed it, and I feel privileged that it's chosen our yard to make its home. Pretty silly, huh?

So you can imagine my complete delight when I went to look for ripe tomatoes and zucchini and found this under the squash leaves instead:

It may be an African Game Fowl instead of a chicken, but I guess it isn't a boy after all.

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