Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hilo Days: Chicks and Ducks and Geese Better Scurry

I’m sure there are quite a few of you who grew up in rural areas where people kept chickens and ducks in the backyard, or perhaps even in a fenced-in area. We had one of those in our neighborhood, and I wrote about it in my once-upon-a-time Hilo Days website:
"Chickens in a Barnyard" by Edgar Hunt
A Fowl Story

Let me tell you a little bit about the Ekaha Street chicken yard. I used to spend an appreciable amount of time pressing my face against the chicken wire fence, watching the fowl doings in the chicken yard.
There were regular-sized chickens, bantam chickens, ducks, turkeys, and a lot of wild sparrows that flittered in to steal the chicken feed. The yard was enclosed with chicken wire, and had a long chicken coop in the back. There were a couple of lush guava trees that sort of served as a roof.
All up and down the street, you could hear the ducks quacking, the roosters crowing, the turkeys gobbling, and the chickens clucking.
You could also smell the chicken yard half-way up the street (even to the end, if the wind was blowing in the appropriate direction). Standing just outside the fence, the ripe aroma of rotting guavas, mixed with the various fowl scents could transport me to Bozo's farm (re: my old favorite record album). Even today, the smell of over-ripe guavas brings back the memory of the chicken coop.
We used to see a lot of chicks and often wondered why the population of the yard never grew. Naive, eh? It wasn't until I reached my adolescent years that I finally figured out that the older fowl were being ... gulp ... eaten.
I once did a gross thing there. I saw this large white egg on the ground. It probably was a turkey or duck egg because a chicken couldn't possibly pass something that big. It sat there, so pure and white. Nothing that nice deserves to sit there undisturbed, I thought, so I picked up a rock.
Yep, I picked up a rock and tossed it over the fence. Right onto the egg. One of the best shots in my life! (Another good shot was the time I threw a rock high into the sky after a fleeing neighborhood kid and hit him on the right heel.)
The rock went plop, the egg went splat. And every chicken, duck, and turkey in the yard rushed over to slurp up the egg. Gobble, cluck, crow and quack. Zip. No more egg. It was gross. Really gross. Really, really GROSS!

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