Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pollo de Janeiro

As you can see, my contribution to urban planning so far consists of a slum in my back yard known as Pollo de Janeiro, because, as my daughter said, we have individuals equal in the eyes of God living side by side, some in splendor and some in squalor. Appropriately enough by international standards, the mansion belongs to Paco Negro, aka Paco Tercero, the deposed former benevolent dictator of the henhouse, who was run off a couple years ago by the younger roosters and had to go into the Rooster Protection Program (RPP) because nobody would let him back in the barn, so he was standing miserably in the rain at the foot of the barnyard, looking to die of exposure. I like Paco, and as I said he was a nice, gentle rooster with beautiful feathers, so now he has his own coop, where he goes by the RPP cover identity of Brewster Rooster. His neighbors believe him to be a New England native of a family rumored to have been represented on the Mayflower, but they understand that he could not have retired this early unless he had hit it big in Silicon Valley, which they assume accounts for the wild feathers. California, don’t you know. It’s going to fall into the sea some day.

So a week or two ago we moved the range pen, which is that flat-topped item next door, from the barnyard to the back yard so I could keep an eye on a hen who had gotten a late notion to sit on a clutch of eggs. It was necessary to remove her from the barn because That Black-Hearted Bitch of A Black Hen (who murdered the one and only chick of the little English hen earlier this summer) had moved back into the barn with her seven thriving adolescents, and there was no way I was letting anybody hatch out new chicks in her homicidal vicinity. So the single mom moved into the range pen.

Where, I am sorry to tell you, she leapt straight off the nest she had been sitting on for 2 weeks and began clucking and running up and down inside the screens, provoking the ire of the corgis, who made everything a hundred times worse by running up and down outside of the screens, barking their fool heads off.

Suffice it to say there will be no more baby chicks at Wren Cottage this season.

This is good news in a number of ways, because in addition to not wanting to worry about new babies in increasingly cold weather, this development also opens the door to a new autumnal activity: slum clearing. This repressive, CIA-backed zealot—it’s true, the CIA leaves peanut butter sandwiches in my mailbox every day—is going to brutally and without compassion move the empty range pen back into the barnyard for next year’s baby chicks to live in, as soon as I can conscript some teenagers to carry it.

The corgis may die of boredom, but I am a brutal zealot, so whatevs.


  1. brutal zealot eh? not exactly the terms I'd choose if asked to describe you. but then again, I'm not a teenager living under your roof :)

  2. Hi Melissa, I found your blog via Zoe at Pearled Earth a couple of months ago and I am enjoying it so much.

    That's really my whole comment, although your chicken story both makes me want to install a henhouse and reminds me that I would be made nuts by the vulnerability of its little occupants.

    -- Cindy (at enclos*ure --

  3. hi, cindy! how nice to hear from you. i just visited your site and enjoyed your piece about those freaky metal animals in london. they give me shivers. i will look forward to reading more of your news.

    chickens are a ton of fun. i love having them around. and the eggs, of course. we don't eat our birds, so we have old age home management issues, but for sheer entertainment, i recommend them!