Sunday, February 10, 2008

Peep Peep Peep

Baby chickens! There are sooo many chickens in the hills around us it is all urrr urrr urrring all the time from dawn to...well dawn. It doesn't end. If you take a walk at night they are huddled in the giant trees (they seem to like particular trees). When you awaken to urr urring they are usually wandering around the last area you worked in. For a few days one of our "familiar" roosters only had 4 of his 5 "companions" with him. Then the 5th showed up with 9 little ones trying to navigate the steep hillside where are oranges are. There was one lagging behind and I picked it up to let it catch up and momma had a cluck-fest and ran at me pecking. It's been a week now and there are still 9 chicks! Listen to them peep! We waited until the grass had seed heads to do it and the chicks, mom, other "ladies" (and the "pimp") all seemed to enjoy the buffet! Another area of the yard is the chicky "spa" where they have made some small craters in my garden where the sit...rustle their feathers and kick up little dirt clouds as they clean themselves. Some other ponderings about chickens. Before moving here we picked up a book about Puerto Rican Birds and in it was an entry for "Red Jungle Fowl." Hmmmm, we thought, those look like chickens. It is like everything else here in Puerto Rico...they may be Red Jungle Fowl, but to us they are "chickens with no owners." Just like "chinas" that are oranges, "batata amarillas" which translates to yellow potatoes but really they are sweet potatoes but not really because they aren't shaped the same and don't look the same on the inside and the taste is a little different. In order to find out what they were (we had gone to a BBQ and had them baked on the grill) I had to buy every kind of "batata" in the store - batata horneo, batata cocinar, batata roja, batata blanca, mameya, and after sampling them all it was the yellow one we wanted. Back to the chickens. The rooster that comes here with his "ladies" is the instigator of them all. He is the major crower in the valley and when he starts it goes in surround-sound for miles and miles around the area. They get tired and don't even urrr urrr anymore really, they just start sounding creepy like crying babies or witches riding broomsticks or something. Makes for very weird dreaming!

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