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17 December 2007 @ 07:35 pm
My weekend, or, WHY PEAFOWL ARE EVIL!!!!!  
Tasmania is a beautiful place, and if only LJ would allow me to stick in photos from my hard drive, I could show you. Alas, I will have to refer you to the tourism websites and contemplate joining the 21st century with a Flickr account sometime between now and my eventual death.

It's probably for the best, I am a terrible photographer and the only shots that were really good were those of the Following Chicken, the large white hen who kept me company on every walk I took around my friend's farm. At first I thought I was hallucinating, because who really has a Following Chicken? Then I suspected her of being a pecking hen, in a similar vein to that staple of my childhood Pixie the bum-biting pony, but no, she was just a friendly Following Chicken.

I found her charming, as did Bella the daughter of my farmer friend's fabulous new girlfriend. Bella is two and we spent a lot of time asking each other "Can you see the Following Chicken?" We thought this was HILARIOUS. Nearly as good as the fact that when you ask Bella to make the sound a snake makes, she starts speaking in Parseltongue. We bonded. Over Harry Potter and the Following Chicken. People don't believe you when you say that chickens can be charming, but they can!

Unlike peacocks, peahens and peachicks. Evil evil evil! And mad.

Now I should declare bias here. My grandparents' farm has always had peacocks and so my childhood was filled with nights where I was wakened from childish dreams by the unholy shrieks of Satan's own giant budgies. On two occasions people have tried to feed me peacock; a meat I find even less appetising than turkey and nearly as godawful as swan. When I was very little, the peacocks would run at me with their tails up high and stand and screech their mad cries.

Which I had rather put out of my head when I saw my Farmer Friend's lovely boy and declared "ooh, how pretty!" Ten hours later when I was clutching a pillow over my head, it all came rushing back.

The next day we played bird rearrangement. We threw the ducks down into the goat pond from their hiding spot under the tree ferns (where I could fit to scare them out, I am much shorter than Farmer), I rescued a duck that had managed to catch its head behind a stick of fuchsia, through a large gauge wire fence and finally in a chicken wire fence (I ended up pushing on its beak while keeping the neck steady, not an easy trick!) and we lost only about half the flock who ran away down the road (literally. With my v tall Farmer friend chasing them shrieking "Come back, ducks!")

Then the peahen appeared with her chicks. "We need to catch them!" he declared. "She managed to kill all the last hatching through neglect." I, foolishly, agreed to help. He set after the hen with a net, while we caught the chicks and stuck them in a bag. Four out of five chicks later, the peahen flew away into the remnant bush behind his house and sat up in a gum tree, glaring at us.

I had a vague idea we could tempt her with the chicks in an enclosure peeping for their mum, but we were thwarted by the remaining errant chick, which she rescued and popped up onto her back before running off with it into the wilderness. So Farmer had to build an incubator and we spent the night trying to acclimatise peeping peachicks to humans. Boy can those bastards peep.

That night, the peep of peachicks, the screech of the peacock and the aggrieved screams of the peahen were the soundtrack to my sleeping hours. And a waddle of ducks stampeding past my bedroom window quacking that since the lights were out now, it was probably safe to come home.

I advised my friend that his chickens were clearly the best part of his farm. Though the goats were cute, too.

anthimaeria, I saw no Tasmanian tigers, but I did buy you a postcard. It wasn't posted from Tassie due to sundry bird related disasters (let us not speak of the missed flight home), but you should receive it soon! snottygrrl, alas, no card for you. I will find something suitably stupid from Sydney instead!

Happy early birthday, jadzialove! I have a present for you but it may be a trifle late. Happy slightly late birthday to geoviki, you kind, smart, talented person, and happy slightly early birthday to nqdonne -- a generous soul who has tempted me into evil but in the good ways.
Current Location: Home!
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: The chirp of crickets
Puddin Blarghenhousen: spicy rockgingerbreadkula on December 17th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
It's like they say -- truth is stranger than fiction! I'm not sure why but your post had me LOL'ing so hard! I'm just imagining these events as you describe them and I'm still laughing my ass off. And I definitely agree that peafowl are evil!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 17th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to miss the chicken, though ... ;-)
Puddin Blarghenhousen: sporkgingerbreadkula on December 17th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
I'm never been a big fan of chickens except for perhaps eating them. I must admit though, that is one chicken I don't think I'd mind meeting!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 17th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
HA! It is the eternal problem with delicious animals; to befriend or to consume? You can see why I never went in for farming as an adult.

Chickens and roosters can be very personable, though, like very silly dogs. I had a rooster when I was young who loved being blow-dried whenever we were prepping the horses for a show. He and the Following Chicken both had that brighter than average bird brain.
down the hills and round the bends: holiday_iconnorton_gale on December 17th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
You CAN post pix to LJ from your hard drive! Go to the window where you post. Look on top of the rectangle where you type your text. See the little button that says 'Insert Image'? Try clicking it. Of course, you may already know this but have incompatible software... but hopefully not so we can see your pix.

Chickens can be quite cute. My husband and I actually met a Following Cat, just out of kittenhood, in the Shetland Islands. It followed us from a rural path, over to a farm, where it made inept attempts to scare the chickens, and even down to the beach, where we finally parted. We hope it didn't get lost, as it didn't have a collar. But, perhaps this cat made a regular habit of following American tourists and knew perfectly well where it was going.

Looking forward to your postcard! ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 17th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
Alas, no, it said I needed a paid account. But I will email you some of my favourites (the Following Chicken and the peachicks!)

Following Cats are brilliant! I bet it did make a hobby of it. Americans are kind and my guess is he made out brilliantly in milk and chicken pies. The postcard is v silly, I bought it specially. And I did look out for thylacines when we were off in the bush, but all I saw was a large crow who cawed merrily at me. Damned birds!
down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on December 17th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I didn't realize this was just for paid accounts. Blast LJ!

I suspect the thylacines were hiding. They're known to be media-shy. :)
Dedicated Escape Artist: Xmas Gift Pin-upjadzialove on December 17th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
Whee! I would tell you that you shouldn't have, if I weren't so thrilled by the prospect of a present from the future! (heh - fun with tenses) The winning lottery numbers would be nice--I would share!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
Damn, if only! We could go halves on one of those giant American ones, buy a fabulous estate and set up HP central, which would later become our Home for Retired Slashers ...

raedragonstarraedragonstar on December 17th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC)
I feel sorry for you. But i must say, when I read the title of this entry.... My first thought was of Malfoy Manor and their albino peacocks.

Also, it is soooo cool the little girl speaks Parseltongue. Sooooooo cool.

(Of course the goats were cute. Why else would Aberforth like goats so much??)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
This is why the albino peacocks always make me laugh, and also why I plan to kill more of them off in future fic.

Bella's mum is a very cool woman, and since Bella loves Harry Potter, it seemed quite natural that she should indulge some of her keenness. I really want to make Bella some Hogwarts robes, but I might wait till she's four and can run around without falling over so often.

HEE! You're right! I forgot about Aberforth! I shall have to tell my friend he runs the HP farm!
lackofmendacity (Diana): Christmas Dracolackofmendacity on December 17th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
*snickers madly*

I'm glad you had fun in Tasmania, and your bird stories had me chucking. :D

(I want a Following Chicken! *pouts a bit*)

Err, people eat peacocks? And swans? 0_o They don't tell you that at the zoo. :/
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
I think everyone's life could be improved by a Following Chicken.

People do eat peacock and swan, but they SHOULDN'T, because they taste awful. Peacock is this strangely overwhelming muddy flavour that isn't nice the way yummy game birds like pheasant and guinea fowl are, while swan tastes like fishy stringy goose. Just say no!
lackofmendacity (Diana): Christmas Dracolackofmendacity on December 18th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, and since you've reassured us that they are neither dangerous nor tasty, I feel safe in demanding one for Christmas. :D

Err, muddy? 0_o That doesn't sound very appetising. *grimaces* I'll remember your warning, thank you. :)

Heheh, you sound like a government ad - Eating of Peacocks? Australia says no.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Heh! I want to see how you wrap a peacock ...

To be fair, no one has offered me peacock in Australia, that was back home. But if we're doing the local version, definitely put possum on your reject list. And look at Koori kids with deep, deep suspicion when they say "Try this, Miss, it's really good!"

BTW, WHAT are you doing up at this hour? I'm finishing my Yuletide fic, so at least I have some excuse.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
Oops, you meant a Following Chicken for Christmas. I support your demands!
lackofmendacity (Diana): Christmas Dracolackofmendacity on December 18th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
*giggles* Yes, it was the Following Chicken I was demanding indeed, though that sounds quite difficult to wrap as well. :/

When it's a grub-looking thing that you're being offered, I definitely agree that deep suspicion is the way to go. *g*

And, ahh, we eat possums? *flails a bit* What happened to iconic national pest? Though I guess eating them might help with the problem.

Heheh, I sleep weird hours. :/ And I'm possibly in love with my f-list, I could not bear to be parted from it for another long minute...

Oh yay, Yuletide fic! *is easily distracted* :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on December 18th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think you have to be indigenous to be allowed to eat possum. Not sure. I was teaching swimming at a mission and the kids had a great time playing 'Make the Pom go EWWW!' I did well with the python and goanna, loved the kangaroo, but failed the possum and wouldn't touch the grubs. And then I told them to laugh it up, they'd be relying on me to pull them out of the water if they started drowning the next day.

I know I should have finished the Yuletide fic a week ago, maybe two, but ... well ... I'm going with your excuse and pleading interesting f-list!

lackofmendacity (Diana): Tom Welling - ponderinglackofmendacity on December 18th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)

We also eat the big lizards?! *flails some more* I don't recall what kangaroo tasted, but crocodile was a distinctively tough meat to chew.

Okay, so inedible animals includes possum, peacock (peahen and peachick) and swan... dammit, I actually feel hungry now. :/

Heheh, run off and write now, I say! *shoos you off* :D