Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Janet's Hens.


My neighbor Janet is sort of role model for the other young hausfrau's on the block here in the heart of august Bedford Massachusetts. She heats with wood, has an amazing old wood stove, converted to natural gas, diligently home schools her daughters and keeps two hens that range around the neighborhood.

The hens are a hoot. There is something soothing about their clucking and scratching as they browse the yards. I toss 'em various kitchen scraps and they now rush over when I appear to see what I have.

I imagine the proto-hens from long ago Asian meadows like their cousin, the jungle fowl. And I think of their local wild relatives, the native Ruffed Grouse and the introduced Golden Pheasant.

They all belong to the Galliforme family and share that odd waddle, odd wattles and the clucking thing. When I lived in Seattle, someone near the bus stop kept hens and a rooster and it was always comforting to hear the rooster crow in a blend with cawing crows and the 'shaq shaq' sound of the Stellers Jay flashing its striking metallic blue around as if pleased to out blue the twilight sky.