© Another Day in the Country
Way back in June, from the far reaches of northern California, I ordered chicks. They were to be delivered in August, by mail, to me, in little old Ramona, Kansas, to coincide with the visit of my “chick”, Jana, and her one-and-only “chick,” Dagfinnr. This “Arrival of the Chicks” event was going to be so exciting.
Dagfinnr and Jana arrived pretty late at night in Wichita on August 6th. It was really late by the time we landed in Ramona and my little grandson was travel-weary. Even so, we had to tour the house, (with accompanying “I remember this, Baba,” comments) as he familiarized himself once again with Baba’s House. Of course, our tour included the back porch where the Chick Nursery was all prepared.
My sister said that getting this little corner of the porch prepared for the arrival of new chicks was like getting ready for a new baby. I’d cleaned the screened-in porch, spruced up the décor, including some chicken motif, brought in plants, rearranged things so that there was a play area for my grandson and a safe area for the chicks. I’d made a pen for the chicks out of an appliance crate scrounged from an alley in Herington. I’d purchased a new feeder, made a little brooder house out of another cardboard box, installed the heat lamp, sterilized the water font, and put down soft new prairie hay for bedding. We were ready!
Monday came. No chicks. In the spring, chicks coming by mail usually always arrive on Monday. Tuesday came. No chicks. I’d read the catalog that said, “chicks delivered in August can arrive any time Monday-Thursday.” On Tuesday, I called Kathy at the Post Office and said, “Did I tell you that we are expecting chicks?” I hadn’t. Now she was prepared and she assured me that she’d call me immediately upon their arrival.
Wednesday came. No chicks. Oh, dear! “When are the chicks coming?” Dagfinnr wanted to know with four-year-old impatience. I could relate because I was impatient, too, and worried.
“Maybe you didn’t put through the order correctly,” I said to myself. After all, I’d ordered these chicks from California on a strange computer. I couldn’t remember if I’d gotten a confirmation in Kansas when I’d still been out in California and by the time I’d gotten home there were too many things to deal with beside chick-confirmations. “Maybe you’re not meant to have more chicks,” I said to myself. “Perhaps this is a sign that you shouldn’t have pushed fate and ordered more chicks while living in your neighborhood where an uncommon amount of chick-disasters have occurred.” I resigned myself to live the rest of my days in Ramona with two hens plus five little ones. “So be it,” I said.
And then on Thursday morning, Kathy called. “There’s a box full of little peepers down here at the Post Office,” she said. I flew on winged feet to collect my chicks.
This had been a long haul for 26 little chicks in August, all the way from Iowa to Kansas. They’d been on the road for three days, not the usual two or the hoped for, 24 hour delivery. It was HOT. (We lost two in transit, had a chick funeral, memorialized them briefly, “we’ll miss you, even though we weally didn’t get to know you,” pronounced Dagfinnr, eulogizing…but that’s another story.)
Dagfinnr and I, both still in our pajamas, carefully removed 24 chicks from the packing box and gave them their first drink, setting them free to explore their nursery. “Oh, they are so cuuuuuute,” my grandson crooned screwing up his little boy face, wrinkling his nose in delight and grinning from ear to ear. And they are precious and so tame because of all the attention we’ve lavished upon them. They love eating oatmeal from our hands. Now two weeks old, they’ve sprouted wing and tail feathers. There are 3 chocolate colored Single Comb Browns, 14 Aracauna (that look like little striped chipmunks) 5 yellow “substitute” chicks (for some reason) and 1 mystery chick of unknown origin. The subs are cautiously developing some black feathers — what will they be? The mystery chick is grey.
We’ve set about naming the memorable chicks. The Chocolate colored ones are Coco, Mocha and Godiva (Jess’s contribution). Jana dubbed the gray chick Earl Grey, “and if it turns out to be a hen, you can call her Lady Grey,” she laughed. It’s another day in the country and miracle of miracles, yesterday, to add even more excitement to our summer adventure, Aunt Sue laid her very first egg!