Friday, January 22, 2010

The Chicken, the Duck, and the Eggs

This morning started off just fine: cool temp, promise of a clear day, a good night's sleep and a wild night here last night with all the kids over and laying waste to everything in sight, particularly the huge box that came with the new washing machine.
This morning Chepa, the wife/ex-wife, came over with the babies again, and I knew she was coming but couldn't remember why.
"The gallina," she said, reminding me that when she left last night she had said she wanted a chicken to make soup with.
"Right. Vamos."
So off we trooped to the chicken coop. All the chickens and ducks were locked up inside their houuse so I let them out to get some sun, picked a nice fatty for Chepa and we tied her up.
But there was only one duck. Where the heck was the second duck? It was locked up with the others last night, there's no way in or out for anything larger than a snake, and no way for a snake that ate a duck to get out of the house or the coop.
I'm getting frustrated losing all these birds. When we don't lock them up I realize the owls come at night--or at least they will till I make a chicken wire top over the whole coop--but this is getting silly. And two of the little chicks were gone as well. Damn, this is getting confounding. Not a single feather anywhere. From inside a locked chicken house.
And then I noticed one of the chicks that was still there had a cut on its head; a bad one. We'be brought her to this house till she recovers enough for us get put vaseline on it. I'm told the other chickens won't peck her to death if we do that.
So with Chepa taking one hen and three of the ten new ones gone, and three of the ducks now gone--we have one duck, seven chicks and six hens. And we started out--or I've bought altogether--about 34 chickens and four ducks. That's not good math.
But then, while I was looking for any hole in the coop that might have been exploited, I saw five eggs. Our first.
So I brought them in and made two over easy for Italo.
"I'm not eating those! I eat eggs from Walmart!"
So I had one. Wow!!! Now that was an egg. We already eat eggs from chickens that supposedly eat natural food and are not locked up 24/7 in tiny pens, but this is a whole 'nother level of flavor. This baby is the product of bread, rice, corn, broccoli, oranges, celery, carrots, tomatoes, onions, garlic and the ends and left overs from every other vegetable we eat around here. This was good.
Guarantee that Madeleina will never eat one, so I guess I'm just gonna give them all to Chepa. She don't care. Right this minute she's at her Amazon Indian best, breaking a chicken's neck, dipping it into boiling water, pulling the feathers, manhandling the guts. And if that chicken has a huevera, egg making apparatus full of eggs in it, well, she'll be in heaven.
And that's the morning report from this chicken-buying, chicken-dying, duck-disappearing, egg-laying corner of the world.

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