Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chickened Out

We have a neighbor who is somewhat (putting it politely) eccentric.
First clue: He has a horse in his yard.
In his front yard.
Now I have nothing personally against horses. I used to ride my uncle's horses, and have always agreed with Will Rogers, who said, "Something about the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man."
A horse in the front yard?
Oh people.
He fenced his front yard with wire, put an old bathtub out there for the horse to drink out of, and then wound yellow "caution" tape around the rickety fence. The horse has eaten every single blade of green, and has tromped the dirt down into the ground. He seems to spend most of his time trying without success to reach the blades of grass waving tantalizingly just out of his reach on the other side of the fence.
Occasionally, the poor horse is tethered on the other side of the road, where he gobbles great mouthfuls of weeds as fast as ever he can, meanwhile watching anxiously lest he be returned to solitary confinement in the front yard pen.

Next clue to our neighbor's eccentricity: Chickens.
Not only chickens.
In the name of all that is fowl, what a mess.
He has a kind of pen, with a huge banner that says, "Fresh eggs for sale."
But obviously the pen has containment issues.
Because the chickens are wandering all over the neighborhood.

They scratch at the grass and dirt.
They peck at the flowers.
They squawk.
They cluck.
They poop.
They crow.
At all hours of the day and night.

They wander down the middle of the road, regardless of cars, golf carts, or bicycles.

Most of them have lost their tail feathers, due to the local free-ranging dogs, who chase them and bark at them incessantly, but don't ever seem to reduce the population.

Frankie, our Pomeranian, spends a considerable amount of time chasing them, but never manages to catch any. The ducks don't play fair--they run into the water, knowing that Frankie can't swim.

I told my husband if he would kill and clean them, I would make chicken and dumplings. He said he would rather pay four dollars for a chicken already cleaned, than to have to scald and pluck one.

If you have any ideas about chicken repellents, please let me know.

Because, you know, I am chickened out.