The Chicken Murder…

Feral chickens in Ybor

Feral chickens in Ybor

It’s Friday, the global market is falling apart so let’s have a laugh and get down to basics. As soon as Teddy got his job offer, I raced to the internet to book a short trip before he started work. It had to be somewhere hot, not raining and preferably with wildlife – so Tampa it was. In the next week I will give you a step-by-step tour but I just want to share this story.

We went to the old town of Ybor in the center of Tampa to look at the architecture and museum. I noticed all the chickens on porches of houses and businesses. It reminded me of Key West where you are not permitted to harm them. After we spoke to the museum ranger, she confirmed that it was much the same in Ybor. When the Cuban immigrants moved here they brought the practice of cock-fighting, so they banned any mistreatment of the chickens. Now they are feral, like pigeons, but much prettier.

The ranger went on to tell us that she was leading a party of museum guests (including children) when they heard a blood-curdling scream from outside. They all ran out to see a red tailed hawk blissfully eating his lunch (a young chicken) in the tree with blood dripping down into the courtyard. The city folks were traumatized but I almost fell on the floor laughing. It would have been a perfect opportunity to show that chicken nuggets don’t come that way and that the cute little baby hawks need to be fed, too.

On a more serious note, I am quite knowledgeable about animal husbandry both from living on a farm, having grandparents who were farmers and working in animal sanctuaries. I rarely eat meat and always try to eat happy meat. In Scotland, our butcher used to accompany all his animals to the slaughterhouse and then brought them back. On the chalkboard would be listed which animal you were eating today. This is why you should give thanks for every animal that has died to feed you. It was much the same in Egypt. One day you are living on the farm, next day you go for a little trip, someone chooses you and snap you are in chicken heaven. That is a much better life than most first world chickens.

Since I took such delight in the chicken murder, the ranger took us aside and told us about her sister in New York who is a teacher. They had a biology project where they children cared for a caterpillar that pupated and finally emerged as a beautiful butterfly. The children were so excited to gather in the playground to release the butterflies. As soon as they did, a flock of blue jays came and ate every single butterfly! Can you believe that they got counselors in? What the heck is wrong with parents today – you should tell your children where there dinner comes from and then there might be more vegetarians around. Again, it was a perfect opportunity to show pictures of fluffy little baby blue jays that also needed fed…

Teddy and I did wonder if the blue jays gathered at the school every year for the lovely buffet lunch that was provided by the kind children. 😉 HAPPY FRIDAY!!! Stop worrying about your stocks and shares, you could have been born a chicken – LOL!

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They killed the missionaries…

mission mountains

This is the beautiful mission church of San Jose del Cabo. In this shot you can just see the granitic hills in the background some of which form strange conical shapes. The estuary leading to the sea is to the right and south which gives it that beautiful light. It is a small town with a few very good art galleries in the center. Every Thursday evening there is a art walk with other vendors – the galleries offer drinks and snacks. The original mission church was falling down – it was built in the early 1700s so they rebuilt it in 1972 and made a beautiful job of it.

I had a lovely moment when I went into the church to light a candle for my mum. Unlike most tourists I changed into some conservative clothes so as not to offend the locals. The tour book said that you might get some male attention if a solo female but nothing untoward should happen. I had the usual exorcist heads (swiveling inhumanly to get a better look at my ass) from drivers, when wearing shorts, but that happens in Houston too.

I was disappointed that you had to bring your own candle with you to light – I had noticed them for sale in the local shop but put money in the box and said a prayer anyway. As I exited the church, a yellow butterfly landed on my shoulder and my husband said, “That was your mum telling you not to worry about the candle”. I can feel tears welling up now as I think about that beautiful moment.

I suppose you still want to know about the missionaries? The mission party stuck their nose in the lives of the local native people who lived on the Baja peninsula and dared to tell them that they could only have one wife… They were a feisty tribe and promptly killed not one but two interfering priests. Quite right too – they were conquistadors looking for gold and riches. This amazing tile above the church commemorates the murder.

mission tile