The chickens entertain me.
I got up this morning and looked out the window to see the whole gang of chickens lolly-gagging outside the kitchen door. When they saw me peering out of my second story window they marched over to stand right underneath and cocked their heads so they could keep their beady eyes on me (well, one eye per bird, they can't look at me with both eyes at once).
I migrated over to the office and looked out the window again and they marched over to stand directly under that window. Then I called "chickennns!" and they went to bumble around outside the back door - where I put their breakfast - like early-bird shoppers at Filene's basement, elbowing each other out of the way.
My friend Mark the neuropsychiatrist told me it couldn't be done, he doubted me, but the fact is that I have trained the chickens to tap at the door for sunflower seeds. They don't always remember, in their excitement, but yesterday while we were painting there were some taps so perfect and classic that they could not be ignored. Sunflower seeds were thrown.
The fact is, sometimes Ez and I open that kitchen door and put a little pile of sunflower seeds inside on the floor. We love to watch the chickens play out their angsty dance of fear and greed, coming, going, squawking in frustration, walking in circles. The bottom line is, some will come in and some won't.
I like to watch them in the morning egg rush hour - they all like to lay during the same hour, it seems - waiting at the bottom of the henhouse ladder for the prized spots to be vacated. There are six spots, but only two are preferred and one of the other four is acceptable. They'll scramble up and down the ladder shouting, waiting for the currently reigning rear end to make way for the next.
They have no rooster, so Ez and I are the next best thing - if we surprise them they squat and stick out their elbows, bracing for the attack. Are they disappointed or relieved to live the celibate life?