Betty and Arlene

Betty.jpgI was being stalked by a chicken. I kept seeing her (a hen, I think) out the front window but she disappeared when I ran to get my camera. Nobody believed me. Then I see her again as I’m getting out of my car in the driveway. I try to follow her but she runs a fast clip down the sidewalk and vanishes. Then there are two chickens. And this time I get my camera in time. I’m calling them Betty and Arlene. They are very 1940s chickens. Big, red-feathered, yellow-footed hens. A friend looked at my photos of them and said, “Rhode Island Reds.” They do look classic. And the Red is a classic American chicken. The official bird of the state of Rhode Island where it was first bred in the mid-nineteenth century, it appears to be the only chicken commemorated with its own monument
Betty and Arlene seem attracted to the culinary opportunities of my front yard, an admittedly unkempt landscape of hardy and drought-tolerant native shrubbery and ersatz “lawn” that regularly elicits advice from my neighbors about how to clean it up, or remove the vegetation entirely.
Betty and Arlene showed up in my front yard the other day, utterly blase about my chasing them around with a camera, and the wary observations of Fraidy the Cat from the safety of her front stoop. 2chickens.JPGThey stayed for a thorough inspection and bug-eating tour of the lawn and borders and then trottled off down the sidewalk. I am happy they find my insectary pleasing to their palates.
Maybe I’ll find a big brown egg out there someday…

  1. #1 by jennifer on November 11th, 2008

    Do Betty or Arlene ever stop by and just leave some farm fresh eggs for the heck of it? Or should I say, “city” fresh eggs?

  2. #2 by peggy Brown on November 27th, 2008

    ‘trottled’ and ‘insectary’ ? gonna make me some new words tew.

  3. #3 by Cate on October 26th, 2009

    Hey, did you see that piece in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about the new trend in backyard chickens?

    “The ‘It’ Bird”

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