Coming home to my childhood wouldn’t be complete without baby chicks. When I was little, one of my jobs was to collect the eggs, which I did in the evenings after school. The coop was close to the woods and far from the house. I was terrified to go there and mad that my mother and stepfather made me do that, especially on those dark, fall evenings after the time change. Entering the hen house though was always calming, warm, bustling with the busy hens. I lugged water and food for them and then hunted for the eggs. Finding them was like finding Easter eggs, the good kind stuffed with cash–brown and warm. I always forgot a basket so made one by pulling my shirt away from stomach, a bowl to carry the bounty. As I learn about the garden, I’m also trying to learn about the chicks. For now, I love the names in my collection: California Whites, Black Australorps, Colombian Wyandotte’s, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Sapphire Olive Eggers, and one Turken (featherless neck, featured in the above photo, biggest of the lot). I am waiting for Americunas, Cream Legbars, and Marans to hatch so that I can add those as well. My criteria: good layers and beautiful, colored eggs. With these chicks I should have eggs that are white, all different shades of brown, pink, green and blue. First things first, beauty matters. Silver linings. My mother can sit for hours, tending the chicks. How’s it going being home again? As long as I am gardening and figuring out chickens, it is fine…so far.
Inspired by Jenny McPhee
And, it turns out, I am not alone. This just in from the New York Times. In fact, the farmer who sells me the chicks is so distraught by demand for her chicks she can’t sleep, dreams of baby chicks hatching. Americans Stress-Bought All the Baby Chickens.