I installed a few more roosts in the coop, and now everyone is happy. Butters gets the back seat window seat. He can say 'are we there yet, are we there yet' if he wants. Both birds are HOT. Like the old broad taking the photograph. HOT, I tells ya. And it's supposed to be in the 90s all week and no one, except a few freaks that I don't even want to know about, will be loving it. I've been yearning for a clean body of water I could jump into, but settled for my bathtub.
Here Ester stays cool by fluffing out her feathers. They also hold their wings aloft, for that sweet, sweet underarm breeze.The weekend consisted of me inside during the day, reading and half-heartedly starting a new project, then outside as soon as it cooled off outside, and warmed up inside. My summer reading at the moment: Heart of Darkness. Breezy fare.
Butters is either very resolute or very stupid, I haven't yet decided. He wants the primo window seat, which he keep gravitating to when the other girls are outside, but Beulah would routinely go in and I would wait for the inevitable flurry of feathers, usurp her, and then come back outside, at which time Butters would return to the primo spot, rinse, repeat. Note the big feathery pump up.Butters also wants, a little, I think, to just hang with Beulah and Beulah's not really having it. My spot. MINE.
Butters spent the day outside, which I never like to do, but she was out when I left for work, and I can't work my food-enticement-mojo on her yet. I called for her when I came home and she came, storking her way towards me. The other two thugs were a little better behaved, but it seemed the baton had been passed to Beulah to be a little more aggressive, while Ester stepped back and played Good Cop. Also, Butters has taken to retire first, so as to get the good perch spot, and this shot shows Ms. B about to give her the bum rush. When I came home yesterday, I noticed this: Holy Crap! My night blooming cereus had a bloom, seemingly out of nowhere. I planned on filming it open, as it apparently happens in real time, but I got distracted by chickens going ons and came in to find this: Dammit! And since for some reason my little point-n-shoot is almost impossible to get a clear pic when the light wanes, these were the best I could do. This is my first bloom, and Chicken Vickie says she has a friend who has a plant with 30 buds on it. That's what I want. New Project.
Dinosaur Junior. Ladies and gentlemen: meet Butters. On Saturday I went with Chicken Vickie to go look at some Buff Orpingtons. I was happy to have someone else navigate the dreaded East Side. We found our address, finally, and a chicken coop, poorly built, at the back of a mobile home. We picked out our chickens, and the guy grabbed them by their feet and hung them upside down, which (supposedly) sort of sedates them, but Vickie's chicken was the first and it was clear from the sounds she was making that he was hurting her. I pointed out the chicken I wanted, and he seemed to do a better (less painful) job of it with mine and then we were off.
When adding to a flock, you really do see the darker side of chickens. As Ester's status is the low girl, it made sense that she would move in and assert herself more aggresively than Beulah. In this shot, the thugs are advancing on poor Butters, who had me in tears at some points, in her comedic uber-hysteria. Ester was so completely put out, her voice even changed. Suddenly, she was a 60 year old with a lifetime two pack a day habit. I started calling her Thelma Ritter. Last night as she was advancing on Butters, I aimed the hose in her direction and she ran off protesting all the way, like an outraged child. I found her in the front, muttering. Really. Muttering. I made a big show over how bee-u-ti-ful her feathers were, and she was placated. While we were over on the evil Eastside, we went to the feed store and got new straw and stuff, and on Sunday I mucked out the coop. It smells really good now. That won't last. So, another lovely weekend. I am loving this summer.
Exploding head syndrome: I haz it. Seriously, did you know such a thing exists? It's a loud sound emanating from one's own brain. It can sound like a crash or even a scream. I know I've definitely experienced this. It usually happens when you're asleep, but can happen during waking hours as well. Some trivia for you.
Last night I retired to watch DVDs (Supernatural, the series: shut up) earlier than usual and at one point the ice cream truck drove past my house, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and then chh! chh!ed off into the distance. It was vaguely menacing and reminded me of one of my favorite Raymond Carver stories, The Bath, where something as benign as a little boy's birthday cake becomes somewhat sinister. Carver later revised The Bath to A Small Good Thing, and gave it a warm, happy ending which I never liked.
It's supposed to be 90 today - boo! - so there will be water featured in my evening. Tomorrow I'm driving over to the dreaded Eastside to try and find some guy who is selling chickens. It's time to expand the flock (or rather, try again).
Last night I was a little wound up from a crappy work day and then commute (DAMN YOU MARINERS), so after all the critter chores were done and I was down for some quality backyard time with the girls, the first thing I heard as I came outside was the infernal ice cream truck. A while back, a friend from work came over for drinks and when she heard it, she was startled and delighted: Is that an ice cream truck! She found it charming, which I might have, had I not heard Turkey in the Motherfucking Straw for the nine millionth time. So, it's an irritation, but it's also a sound of summer and as such, tolerated as best as I can. It's best customers are the family living two houses down. I have no idea who exactly lives there, as it seems to be a never ending extended family, and they all loves their ice cream. The problem being while all 500 of them are all 'what do you want' 'oh, wait, lemme think', the ice cream truck is idling with that infernal tune going ad nauseum at a pretty high volume. So, after about 10 minutes of this shit, off I go. If you're going to idle here, could you please turn the music down, I say, nicely enough. The five or so standing at the truck, and the truck driver, looked at me with a collective bovine expression (sorry, cows) of flat, deliberate incomprehension. And it just got worse from there. It harshed my mellow considerably and it was awhile before I managed to just relax, not worry about them employing one of their gangbanger friends to murder me in my sleep and just enjoy the evening, now blessedly quiet.
I slept like a water bug last night, which is to say, not well. Skimming the surface, not really getting any deep sleep. I blame Sarah Palin, as I fell asleep reading the Vanity Fair article about her crazy CRAZY ass and, well, I blame Sarah. Next time I hit my head on a cupboard or stub my toe or overdraw my bank account, I'm blaming Sarah. I suggest you do the same.
On my way to work this morning I passed what I'm pretty sure was our raccoon house guest. He hasn't been coming around since I boarded up the cat door, and now I'm sure he won't be coming around. I looked long enough to make sure it was a raccoon, and saw his brains on the pavement. Sadness plopped in my lap like an 80 year old pole dancer. I was reading about raccoons yesterday. In captivity, they typically live up to 20 years. In urban settings, about 1.5 years. It turns out my landlady was familiar with him: did he have a limp? she asked. So, he (or she) had been around for at least 3 years. People: we're hell on everything. I felt that implicit guilt driving into work, even though it wasn't my car that ran him over. A long while back, when returning from a day trip to a lake, my boyfriend and I passed a giant buck deer that had been murdered on the freeway. I cried all the way home until finally my boyfriend got irritated with me. The next day I told my boss, a German Virgo, about the buck, and said I felt guilty, just for being a human. She thought about this for a moment and said: kind of like being a German. Yes, like that.
I confess to being borderline agoraphobic, and one thing the chickens have done for me is to make me come outside and I have had a summer like I haven't had in the majority of my adult life. Friday night was wonderful: hotter than shit, and everything felt so dry - because it was so dry. So, I soaked portions of it with the sprinkler and I think it forced little buggy things up through the soil, which also made it sexy for the chickens. I realize as I meet more 'chicken people' that the odds of finding another human on the planet that is as crazy as I am about them is virtually nil. I met the woman who'd offered me the rooster: I went to her house to see her set up. Basically, she's using adjacent land, about 3/4 of an acre, to free range about 14 chickens. They're all wild and she looked serenely on and said she didn't mind if some of them were killed, but the ones she'd hand raised from chicks, well, she might mind that. Well, there's hope for you yet, I said, and our visit got a little chilly. I think we were mutually unimpressed with the other. Sammy wanted on the other side of the gate.
We finally got some rain (and hailstones and thunder!).
I finished the painting of one woman's dead cat (and about to embark on another one, but this time it won't be free).
Had a lovely, unremarkable evening. The chicken-sisters like wine, but I only let them have a sip.Sort of a July 4th dinner, belated (hot dog bun, lettuce & veggie dog). The veggie dog didn't register as food at first, but once Ester got a load of it, she went nuts.And that's pretty much it. Have a lovely weekend and I'll see you on Monday.
As it sometimes happens when one trolls the interwebs, I got stuck drilling into a site: http://www.awfulplasticsurgery.com/. Kind of like reading an entire copy of Weekly World News - I feel like I should go exercise and eat some fruit, maybe have a high colonic or something. But it's also oddly germane to a brief exchange I had with a friend last night. He is a perfectly lovely man in his 60s, much better looking than most, and English to boot, which as we Yanks know, is currency here in the old U.S. of A. He was off to drown his sorrows because his 26 year old girlfriend had called things off. This bugged me on a variety of levels. I was thinking about it as I watered the back garden and wasn't paying attention and stepped in one of the 'Send me a postcard from China' dirt bath holes the chickens had dug and fell into it, and skinned my knees. Which after I figured out I didn't break a hip or anything made me laugh. But back to my friend. While I admire his vitality in participating in this May-October situation, it also kicks up an old feeling of injustice. If the situation were say, me and an 20 year old, as that would be the same time span, I'd be getting cougar-this and ew-that's-gross that. Not that that scenario is tempting in the slightest. When I left my last husband, I was in my 40's. And I found the only men I was attracted to were 27. Every one of them. This spooked me enough to analyze it, and my best arm chair analysis gave me this: 27 (or 26....) is the high water mark of youth and beauty. When you think of all the dead rocks stars and such who died at 27, you begin to see it truly as a peak. And what I realized was I wasn't so much attracted to these men, as I was to some echo of me in my prime. We hate to see our youth fade, hence the relevance of page after page of horrible plastic surgery in a fruitless attempt to abay the inevitable. So, to my friend, I say: grow up! No, not really. There are many ways to stay young that don't involve a scalpel or schtupping your granddaughter. But I don't blame him: I don't find people my own age attractive, either.
For the last two days I have been corresponding with a guy who found me on FaceBook. My FB status is almost perfuctory - I set it up years back and have done little to update it. He had to fill me in on who he was, since I didn't remember him. And no, thank God, I hadn't slept with him. I was just in a band with him. The worst band I've ever been in. The worst band which also was the only band that bore my name. He, seemingly, has nothing but great memories. My memories, the few I have, include our first gig, which we got after I'd just joined them. We didn't have a name. I know, some idiot suggested (probably me): Let's call it The Cha Cha Samoa Band. So, the booking agency was able to give a name to the club that we then drove like maniacs to get to, in Salem, OR. We did, as I recall, an inordinate amount (in my opinion, anything more than zero is too much) of Robin Trower covers. It was one such song, the one that starts with drums, that we opened with. The drummer screwed up. AND STOPPED. And started up again. And fucked up again. AND STOPPED AGAIN. Perhaps he did this just twice, or maybe it was 20 times, which is more like what it felt like. I think the gig was for a week or something, but they fired us that night.
Now this guy is really nice. He sends me some MP3s, only one could I bear to listen to, and this pic. I'm fuzzy on the details, but I don't remember any Rocket Morton bullshit, I just remember we called it TCCSB. In my own personal fever dream, I left shortly after the Eugene debaucle, but perhaps not. Perhaps I went on to be a giant woman with four tiny guys with bad hair. I think the drummer is the shirtless guy looking all cocky. Confidential to drummer guy: I don't think you have a lot to be cocky about unless perhaps it's your cock, but thank God, I wouldn't know. Or at least wouldn't remember...
It was a nice 4 day mini-holiday, even though it was in the high 80's the whole time, which I'm much too much of a weenie for. Even the 4th wasn't especially egregious. I think a lot of entities cut back on their blasting allowance somewhat, as things exploded for a while and then they just stopped. I ended up falling asleep in the hammock.
On Sunday, the barametric pressure dropped like crazy and on Monday I woke up with a foot I couldn't walk on. Oh, old age, is there no end to your ignobility? So, yesterday I hobbled around work, working all these weird muscles you don't normally work, to walk, at least. Flailing about like an upright lobster. By the end of the day I was just a cripsy critter. Today I can walk without evoking Chester on Gunsmoke, and my left ass is sore.
Whenever I have these chunks of time away from the salt mine, I always want to come back to work having really accomplished something. And by Saturday, it was too hot to garden, or even relax outside, so I began a painting, but didn't get very far. An acquaintence from work who got laid off a while back wrote that her cat had died and she could sure use a picture of him. That's actually what I'm working on now: not her dead cat, but a friend from Flickr: really not even someone I know, but she's always been incredibly nice and was one of the first people to chose me as a contact. Her icon is of this cat doing what I call the power to the people fist pump and I finally remarked on what a great pic it was and she wrote back, in broken English, that he'd died a few weeks back, poisoned by a neighbor. So, that's the painting I'm doing. It's small, and I'm just going to send it to her. Why? Because I can, and every so often it's nice not to be a selfish asshole. As to the ex-colleague, I've not decided.
I got a rooster offered up to me, and if it weren't for the tenuous situation with Joe the Plumber down the block, I'd consider it. Apparently, it's not illegal to have a rooster in Seattle: it's just a consideration. I would LOVE to have a rooster - fully flesh out the whole chicken experience. But I gave it a pass.
Because they embody earnestness. When they run to you, well, to me, because I am the Food God, they barrel. They get excited about stuff. They're enthusiastic and curious.
They are incredibly attuned to their environment: they hear everything and are constantly on the look out, being the Prey Animals of all Prey Animals, the Underdogs of all Underdogs, and they know it. Given how attuned they are, I think they are probably predisposed to madness, given the food factory business.
They are primitive and of the ages: my chicken is Picasso's chicken, is Ghengis Khans' chicken, is Moses' chicken, is William Carlos Williams' chicken (the latter: I think he got it).
Because they're dinosaurs.