THE BIRDS / by Micaela

The first adjustment on arrival to Sam’s folks house is always to the cacophony of birds.  Brooklyn is a hyperbolic chamber compared with the racket of Cleish.

Weary with jetlag and achy from 8 hours of being folded like an umbrella into a coach seat, we are welcomed by an army of marching Guinea fowl screaming at us like nasal, honking day traders. Their intelligence is betrayed by peanut sized heads angled atop grey speckled football shaped bodies. They yak away at anyone that comes within 50 feet and sidewind around the yard in a fit of ordered nervousness.

Guinea Fowl (and a soccer ball.  Can you tell the difference?)

Never heard a Guinea Fowl?  Here's your chance (turn up the volume for full effect):

Followed by the Guinea Fowl are the chickens.  Is there anything more inherently comical than a chicken?  They sound like a chorus of tattletales, whiny and alarmed.  The Cleish chickens, however, are extremely friendly, too friendly, and they constantly try to invite themselves into the house, the garage, and the car.  All doors must be opened and shut quickly or you will find yourself with a stowaway. 

Photo courtesy of Sam

This was Roan’s first chicken experience.  He wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

Aunt Cicely explains the finer points of a chicken

Nope, that's the wrong end!

Watering them won't do much either

Are they pets?  Not really, but they were way friendlier than the cat who disappeared at the first sight of Roan. He got to collect the eggs every day - usually about 4 at a time. “Delicate” is not a word in Roan’s repertoire or manner so we had several spontaneous omelettes being made following the egg run.

Then he would let them out of their coop so they could roam the lawn.  Peck and walk, peck and walk.

Photo courtesy of Sam

These are the happiest chickens I’ve ever seen.  A charmed life for a bird, really. They get to eat spaghetti and sit in the sunshine on the patio. They lay eggs with nice hard shells and luminous yellow yolks that are delicious.



Despite having such wonderful fresh specimens at our fingertips Sam couldn’t wait to get a jar of pickled eggs.  They are foul. (get it? foul? fowl? ha!)