Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Season of Love...again

A beautiful, metallic blue lizard chases Plain Jane around. Nose to tail, they chase each other in circles for a while, every so often leaping into the air like graceful acrobats. It's then that I notice the lovely blue of their bellies.

Super Red is the alpha male turkey tom. His neck is redder than the others and he loves to strut around, all puffed up. For some reason, he always has a second in tow. Maybe this is Beta Male. Beta Male does not dare to puff up in front of Super Red. He's probably happy just to get leftovers.

("Sloppy Seconds," says Big Dog.
"Eeeeew," I grimace.)

Super Red makes a strange hollow tapping noise when he puffs up. It makes me think of the tsuzumi drummers of Kabuki, especially since Super Red is a bit of a kabuki actor himself. He holds his wings down, trailing them on the ground as he shuffles forward -- just like the hero of a kabuki play.

My body is a wreck from weeding, hoeing, raking and dumping the mountains of weeds, but it's the Season of Love at the ranch so while I walk slowly, my heart can't help but do a crazy jitterbug.

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Anonymous Paul said...

Hi Bad Dog,
There is something really appealing about feeding the chooks. You can really see the pecking order and what the chooks at various status levels will try or not dare. As we all tend to anthropomorphize, it is easy to relate the characters to people or types of people we know. I have a motely crew of chooks, turkeys, ducks, even a peacock which flew in from somewhere and stayed a few months. Around the perimeter when I throw out the feed are wild scrub turkeys who use their speed for low risk stealth attacks to grab some grain. And once you have given them names like "Super Red", they come to act as an analogy for human relationships, but stripped of pretence and complication. Power plays and playing favorites, strength verses bluff, strutting and sexual favours. Politics in a nutshell. Had some seriously confused chooks thought they were turkeys as the chooks snuck into the turkey nest and laid some eggs. Of course they hatched first and were raised by the mother turkey. They certainly had ideas above their station. That is until they matured beyond the protection of the mother turkey. They had a steep learning curve after that.
The turkeys and boss chook mostly left the ducks alone partly because they stuck together in a gang, partly because I think they knew ducks have a fowl (sorry foul) temper. One day the big rooster gave serious offence to a duck. Obviously more serious than rape, because on many previous occasions the rooster would get excited at feed times and engage in cross species relations when the duck would assume the position with resignation. No, this time it really spat the dummy. With great squarks of indignation it latched on the rooster's bum. Roosters can't fly with a duck clamped to its bum, and ducks can't run at 20 kms/hr. With the duck sqarking angrilly through clenched beak, the rooster shrieking in panic, they charged round the paddock with the duck bouncing along behind. It would not let go. When a duck is pissed, it is really pissed. They disappeared behind the shed the noise fading into the distance. Oh I just love feeding the chooks.

7:24 AM  
Blogger bad-dog said...

There is so much entertainment all around us! Who needs tv! Who needs radio! Who needs internet! Whoops. Let's leave the last one alone...

Can't wait to get some ducks. I am envisioning home made Peking Duck...hundred year old eggs...balut (in case any of my Filipino friends show up...) Of course, once you have anthropomorphized something, it's harder to turn it into food. (Tho I remember my brother's pre-munch grilled fish monologues...)

12:15 PM  

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