A few days ago I promised that I would show off our hens (and other fowl). This beautiful sunny morning, P, who doesn’t take much joy from anything technological, asked for the camera. He’s really proud of our fowl, and rightfully so.
Before we get to the pictures, though, let me explain something. We don’t live on a farm, but we also don’t keep farm animals in or near our house. We live in a typical walled medieval village on a mountaintop, which means many of the houses touch. A skilled driver can squeeze a small car down the main corso, but all the other streets are narrow, winding alleys. Not a whole lotta room for vegetation within the village itself except for balcony plants and trees and flower boxes. Don’t worry, someday I’ll do photos of those too.
As you ascend the mountain, if you look closely, you’ll see stone chicken coops and pig pens tucked into the greenery. Although the demarcations are known only to those to whom the properties belong, the entire mountainside is split into plots, usually passed down through the family. Here village residents have their gardens, growing everything from tomatoes and eggplants to lemons and oranges and keeping various small farm animals. The larger plots of land more outside the village are where you’ll find crops like olive trees and grapevines and many more farm animals.
Here’s a piece of our little plot, although this isn’t where the fowl are because it doesn’t get enough sun. In case you didn’t know, hens need sun/warmth or else they won’t lay eggs.
We have lemon, orange, and almond trees, as well as cucumbers, peperoncini, eggplants, parsley, basil, rosemary, celery, and probably other things I’m forgetting. Sadly, no tomatoes–again, the whole sun problem.
The pollaio is on P’s brother’s plot; he lives in Perugia, so he’s not using this chunk of sun-drenched land. The garden and the pollaio are a two-minute walk apart, and they’re each a five-minute severely downhill walk from the house–going down is fine, but coming back up? Let’s just say I don’t need an elliptical trainer.
Ready to meet some fowl after the longest photo introduction ever?
Below is the outdoor meeting place. I like this shot because you can also see how the land is parceled up. None of the other structures on this picture belong to us or P’s family, and as far as I know they aren’t being currently used either.
The big white thing among all seemingly tiny friends is the turkey we were supposed to eat for Thanksgiving. We used to have three total, but two weeks before Turkey Day, a feral cat celebrated early by taking one of ours. Happy to oblige, Thanksgiving Party Pooper, but you left us with only two turkeys–a girl and a boy, who need each other for company.
We ate chicken instead. No worries, since that’s what my grandmother always made anyway because she didn’t like turkey, but still. Maybe next year.
Now how pretty is this little dude? He’s what they call here a “gallo americano,” an American rooster, but we know him better as a bantam. P waited for ten minutes to see if he could catch him singing, but no dice.
On a sad note, some of the roosters will meet their demises very soon. Probably tomorrow morning in fact. But I won’t point out which ones because I don’t know, and I like it that way. Rest assured, though, that the turkeys and Signor Bantam are in the clear.
I most certainly won’t be present for the killings to document it either, so you’ll just have to rely on some Discovery program or something for that. And in the same vein, I won’t be cleaning the birds.
Why? Because I’m no plucker. Hah!