Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Hazards of Chickens

one picnic table
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
My friends Kyle & Jen are in Prague. I am jealous, of course, but I am glad for them and, better yet, they let me take a shift caring for their cats and chickens. "Cats and chickens?" said another friend of mine, "Sounds like a kind of uneasy pairing." Do not fear! The cats live inside and the chickens live in their luxury coop outside, making chicken-y noises and laying eggs and being all, you know, chickens. And, apparently, yearning to run free and wild, to peck around the yard, which Kyle & Jen let them do sometimes, properly supervised.

I went over there on Friday evening between work and the Decemberists. I was feeling all cocky, like, hey, I can feed cats! I do it all the time - in fact, every morning I give Pebble some fresh kibble and a can of Fancy Feast for her to inspect with disdain. Feeding chickens is new to me but I am sure I can handle it. Right? Heh.

The cats were no problem, once I found the cat food. I went out to the chicken coop with a bucket of chicken chow in hand. The chickens were making chicken noises of welcome and crowding the door - they are not, alas, chicken. At all. I do not apparently inspire fear in poultry - even when I make weird noises and jump up and down a bit and wave my arms. They crowded up against the door, I tried to open the door and shoo them back and in the resulting melee one intrepid fowl got out: chicken ran.

This led to about a half hour of high physical comedy in which I chased a chicken around the yard. In my work clothes. In my good shoes, which, by the way, a chicken shat on while I was trying to get in the door. I tried cornering it. I tried tricking it. I tried bribing it with lettuce from Jen's garden. I tried lurking about the door of the coop with a stick to open it just at the right moment - the escapee didn't go far from the coop but rather walked around and around it, probably exhorting her sisters to follow her to freedom. I tried everything else I could think of, including twittering for help and calling my son, who has some chicken experience, to catch the damn bird. Finally I called Susan and she duly arrived (just as I was chasing the chicken in circles around the yard at high speed) and promptly wept with laughter and wished out loud that she had her video camera. Then we set to work to shoo the chicken back into the coop - and immediately succeeded in freeing two more chickens.

If catching one chicken is difficult, catching three is even worse. It took a while but we finally managed to corner each bird and then, made brave by company and the knowledge that I was going to be late if I didn't catch them, I swooped down and grabbed them one by one. Chickens feel weird when you carry them - they feel, in fact, like chicken. I mean the breast feels like a chicken breast. It was strangely unsettling but also hilarious and I've rarely been so pleased as when I managed to get the dastardly beasts back into their coop. I deserved the dozen eggs I took away, I tell you.

And now for an abrupt segue into something completely different! The Decemberists concert was wonderful, amazing and we had a great time. The first set was all of the Hazards of Love; here is a pretty fair review of the album and thus, the first set. It was very prog rocked out and brilliant, even though I wished for a libretto or something, since although I own the album, have listened to it all the way through a bunch of times and listened carefully at the concert, I still cannot quite get the whole story straight. But whatever! It doesn't matter if I never figure out who, exactly, is imprisoning whom and why. There were arias, notably by a black clad woman singer who totally ate up the scenery and had such an amazing voice that it threw you back against your seat. There were songs about multiple child murder that got cheers and shouts, which was slightly unnerving. There were lots of lights and fog machines and the music was amazing. The second set, which was more relaxed and less operatic, was even more fantastic. It turns out that Colin Meloy is hilariously funny and likes to talk at his concerts. And, get this, out of the blue, the two women singers did a pitch perfect, totally unironic, version of Crazy on You with smoke machines and everything, which brought Jodi and I to tears of laughter and completely baffled the row of young teenage girls we were sitting amongst. This is how awesome the concert was: I bought a t-shirt. I've been wearing it since yesterday afternoon and I don't want to take it off and yesterday morning when I woke up the very first thing I did was listen to the Hazards of Love all over again.

Update! I have found a synopsis of the story.


Salty Miss Jill said...

Oh, fun!
Both the chicken and Decemberists adventures, that is. :)

hack said...

Here's the Mountain Express review of the Decemberists' concert, along with a link to some videos from the show: