“In my village, the womens come together often to prepare the birds together. We have some wine, and chat and we make a delicious with the liver cooked in onions and the brandy,” offered Maria. The Westbury women cocked their heads in consideration of this image.
“I love my chickens. They are easy to have,” said Maria. “Many are very beautiful. I always enjoy watching them in the afternoons after school. They wait for me and know that I come out to give them food,” added Maria. The Romanian women nodded in agreement.
“It’s my way of my teaching day and beginning my own afternoon time,” said Maria. “Why you don’t have chickens Sally?” she asked. “You have a lot of nice area for them.”
“Chickens!” exclaimed Sally with a chuckle. “Oh I don’t know, I’ve never thought about having them before! I think that even if I wanted to there are laws prohibiting having them in Westbury,” she added looking towards Barbara. “Isn’t there some kind of zoning or something?”
“Yes,” began Barbara. “I remember when we were looking into getting a pet rabbit for my oldest son, I called the town hall and they told me that you need two acres for the first rabbit and 40 thousand square feet per rabbit after that. But, we only have an acre and a half or so we didn’t have enough land to do it.”
The Romanian women looked at each other. “How big is two ..ehhker? asked Sula.
“Acre,” said Sally. “It’s like two of my yard.”
“Two”? asked Maria. “But your yard is very big for more than one rabbit!” she exclaimed with surprise. The Romanians looked at each other.
“Well, its not just rabbits. They count a horse as one animal or one chicken as one animal,” explained Barbara.
“To keep a chicken is the same as to keep a horse?” asked Maria incredulously. “Why they do this?” she asked in a concerned tone.
“I think it’s for health reasons, isn’t it?” explained Michelle looking at the other MUGPIE women. “You know, with the manure and all the flies and stuff?” she added.
“Well, I’m not so sure about that,” added Barbara. I think it has to do with the smell.”
“What smell?” demanded Maria. “I have six birds, there is no smell. I keep it very clean. No smell for nothing,” she insisted.
“Why you live in the country then when you can’t enjoy country things?” asked Sula.
“Well, that’s a good point!” exclaimed Olga. “My grandfather would have just died without his yard for his grapes and his chickens. That’s why they moved out of the city after coming here from Italy.”
“I think today its all about having kids,” joined Michelle. “The schools are usually better in towns like Westbury outside of the city.”