Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Dogless Days and Cupola Nights
Every morning this August, I went down to the chicken house and called the hens out to range with the three guard roosters - Dot, Lefty, and Whitey.
Some harmonica clucking and a trail of black berries gets them away from the door fairly easily. The native blackberries are the biggest and sweetest here this year I have ever seen in the wild.
But most mornings the hens then went right back into the hen house as soon as they had snapped up all the berries , and I was back in the trailer, having a bowl of berries myself.
The chickens knew that those hot and humid days of Blackberry Summer were going to be like a great big light bulb sitting smack on their backs.
Chickens don't exactly know the future, but they know the weather and are very sensitive to everything that comes from above.
They also sensed that pretty damn soon, molten chunks of glowing matter might just possibly come streaking down from the sky. Because August is the month of the yearly Perseid meteor shower.
Chickens are well aware of it, but humans mostly don't notice because most people are either living inside the regional light bulbs or are still blind from the protracted and overblown fireworks of July. And anyway, most people wouldn't notice a shooting star unless they got hit by one.
As the rate of the meteor fall was just picking up in early August, when there was still a fair amount of water in the ponds, G and I sometimes watched the sky at night from on our backs in the middle of the round pond. Except for picking blackberries a to watch the sky at night, me and G spent as much time indoors as the hens did. We were cooking and tubbing in the day time, and up in the cupola at night... under the the wide screen of stars, with the occasional fucking thunderstorm blowing by.....mostly sound and furious clouds, like stampeding buffalo ghosts.
And with the moon racing through (don't look directly at it or you will be blinded) , lying there was all in all the greatest thrill since flying in dreams.
But Dot, Whitey, and Lefty, roosting on Davey's deck rail, were not amused. They muttered at the thunder, and when an occasional star streaked across their piece of sky, they made the clucking five syllable alarm that sounds like "Jesus fucking christ", and then the roosters in the chicken house would start it up a few beats behind, and they would continue until they all came into unison and then it gradually quieted down to a murmer and to a mere rumor.... until the next star alarm.
Yeah, chickens know that thunder storms and meteor showers and shit from above in general are just dandy until you get hit by something.
And now brother Davey knows too . He isn't quite beaten flat, but he looks like he has at the very least been struck by lightning several times. He has taken some hits. Maybe it is about over now .....the pace of the events has slowed down...and he is starting to come out of doors.
Here's the hit list:
In the dog days of August both of Davey's dogs died; his truck quit; his hard drive died so he lost all the data; a close old friend was put in jail for a few years; he heard that his child hood ex wife - missing since - April, was most probably murdered; one of his three college room mates whom he had not seen in forty years, and who had just in July refound each other.... and with whom he was planning a reunion here in August....died suddenly..... and then Davey strained his loin or his groin or something, when burying the second dog, so now he can't sit still to write.
Of course he doesn't write much even when he isn't thunderstruck . The point is that he has been knocked silly by all this, but I still say that , half drunk and with the flu, I myself could write his biography on an etch a sketch, in about half an hour.
I just can't do everything at once...even if G can.
And what about the trip I planned, hauling and poling the Arc up Cayuga through the great lakes Chain to Great Bear Lake on the Arctic sea? It's not entirely off the agenda, but it is at least a couple of years away at this point.
My work here isn't finished. I think I have managed to get the chicken range under control, but we are without dogs now, so other critters are drawing nearer. The skunks are back living under the chicken house, and that is good because the coons and every other sort of chicken killers will stay back a little, but the chickens, especially the roosters, do not control themselves without some help, and I don't think Davey is ready to get with it..
I wish it would rain, really rain. People think it has rained a lot, but it was only a lot of sound and furious clouds. The water-table is very low by my measure: The dug ponds here are as low as they were during the drought several years back that killed all the bass in the upper ponds. Either it hasn't been raining (however it may seem to sun bathers and container gardeners) or else someone is sucking the water out from under us. Maybe the miles and miles of Cargil salt mines under the lake are flooding . Or maybe the natural gas companies or Nestle company is coming at us sideways for their bottling or fracking water.
A cat came creeping around last night. I saw it. Black and white. The Roosters raised the ruckus call.
G got a ride into town with her friend from the inn, to get some vinegar and hickory- smoked salt She said that while she was there, she planned to peek in at Bridge House.