Saturday, February 27, 2021

Texas notes: chickens

     Just when you think you've got a sense of Austin bureau chief Caren Jeskey, a door opens leading to rooms you hadn't imagined, like today's post.

     When I pay too much attention to Blanche and Thelma they get seem to get excited and poop all over my porch. I tolerate it (and wash it away with boiling water from the kettle) since they are adolescent chickens.
     Being an urban girl from Chicago I never thought I’d live in a tiny house with nine backyard chickens. They are smarter and more social than I’d ever imagined. They all know their names, even if I keep mixing up Flo and Flossie. When you coo to them and tell them how pretty they are, they stare at you from one eye, head cocked, and loudly agree.
Blanche and Thelma are the youngest— they came to us as wee chicks several months back. Somehow buttery colored Blanche has sprouted up and resembles a clumsy Big Bird, tripping
around with bony knees. Thelma is always by her side. They travel as a pair, joined at the wing.
     They discovered my porch as soon as they got old enough to roam free. Each day I’d find them nestled under the passion vine flowers, or pecking away at the silver cover that fits over my bikes. I felt special that they had adopted my house as their favorite spot and it’s nice to have buddies waiting for you each day when you leave the house.        When I first moved in I could not pass the brood by without giving them a treat, which turned out to create little monsters. As soon as I opened my front door they'd come galloping towards me and calling out “Treats please! Now!” I’d alway think “Chicken Run,” and laugh to myself.   The bravest ones stand right in front of the metal cans of seeds 
to prevent me from passing without opening the lid. When I relent, at least one of them promptly flies to the lip of the can and I have to use the lid as a shield to keep her from jumping right in.
      Ruby is the boldest. Her partner Edna, orange and red like Ruby, lurks in the grass nearby while Ruby pecks away at my lower legs. It doesn’t hurt, but it does amuse me.
Flossie, Flo (foreground) and Lily 
   The more established girls are Alice and Lily, who both seem to be pretty independent. I often see light gray Lily calmly doing her own thing, and she’s never rude. She runs over too, but more demurely, and has never pecked or yelled at me. I believe she’s a Lavender Brahma, thus the elegance.
     Alice is the queen of the gang. She’s dark chocolate brown with a bright red beak. Finally, there’s Kouna, whose caramel colored feathers make me want to pet her. Which I don’t. Yes, you “can” pick up a chicken but they really don't seem to like it, from what I can tell.
     I write this
 with sadness, since finding out this week that the tiny home will only be mine until the end of April. It was always a temporary arrangement, yet leaving it is bittersweet. I look forward to new journeys, but will miss almost everything about this stint of living.”
     I will spend this weekend packing and cleaning and planning my next move. I have options in Austin and in Chicago, so time will tell.
     I will make time to sit on my porch and talk to the girls before I go.


  1. Might be a little tough saying bye to the "girls" but how about your clients if you move to Chicago? I know that should be no reason to keep you from moving but there are more complicated dynamics when in a relationship such as yours is with them.

  2. Great question! We are all virtual and I see clients in TX and IL and will continue seeing them. 🤍

  3. Knowing you only from your engaging and multifarious posts, I'm betting on Chicago. You've lived here, you've lived there, debate over. And you can get a great deal on a new winter coat in the spring. Ahhh, the spring.

  4. Hmm? Stay in an incompetently run Texas or move to a corruptly run Illinois? A tough choice. I suggest a farewell chicken dinner and a new start in a better place.

    1. Yes, I agree- though not yet. For now I believe being close to my folks, lifelong friends and family members is my calling. But again- yes! Maybe Colorado?


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