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We Got By With A Little Help

March 24, 2015

*Note: I wrote this last week. Dan is now safely home.

Dan has been gone for ten days. To make matters worse, so has Patty. How did I let this happen? We are out of the woods now, though, and have limped along reasonably well. At one point I did fear the wheels were coming off when Charlie, Elisabeth, and Corndog were all three felled by a stomach flu that was sweeping through the school. But it proved to be a brief 24-hour situation and the results were not overly devastating.

Distraction was the name of our game and we had a number of really helpful diversions. The most helpful of course, being a three day visit from Nini, who showed us a really good time. Second most helpful, was the surprising results of our second attempt at hatching chicks in an incubator. Last spring we tried it and were pleased with five baby chicks (which were subsequently eaten by racoons, but still fun).

This time, to my astonishment we produced TWENTY-SIX chicks!  The kids did almost nothing but hold baby chicks for the first three or four days of Dan’s absence.

Holding a baby chicken is a very stationary activity that does not involve the scattering of small toys all over the house or the spilling of snacks.  It was like someone pressed the “pause” button, having the kids sit still like that for three days.  I got so much done!  But, let me tell you, twenty-six is a lot of chickens to keep in your bathroom, so I posted them for sale on Craigslist right away. They were all sold the first week, but my phone is still ringing off the hook so I have restocked the incubator for an Easter hatch and am doubling my asking price.

The prospective chicken buyers reflected the wide range of diversity one finds among poultry buyers.

On the one end of the spectrum: Jane Herman, who was willing to provide photos of her home and garden and letters of reference to assure us that our chickens would be the happiest in all the land.

On the other end of the spectrum: a very sincere Asian gentleman who explained in a very heavy accent: “I would like to KILL all your chickens for eat on November 15.”

We decided to go with Jane Herman and look forward to meeting her this afternoon when she comes to collect.

My goal with my hatchery is that I would make at least as much as we have spent this year on the chicken coop and the chicken feed, so that Dan will stop telling people my poultry farm is losing money.

My hatchery is especially lucrative because Farmer Bryan, who supplied us with our original teenage hens for last years Easter baskets, is for some reason, now supplying us with an unlimited amount of fertilized eggs and won’t let me pay him.*

So I kept six chicks from this last batch and let the kids name them and play with them and once they are feathered and cold-hardy we will deliver them to Bryan’s farm with our thanks.

In the meantime, they are keeping the wheels hot! The chicks had a blast visiting two first grade classrooms.  Then last week they were rented for the day by a Craig’s list lady who wanted to rent chicks to take to a portrait studio for photos with her children.  She picked them up and dropped them back off, and they had an absolute ball!  This lady was hoping I also had a lamb she could rent, but I have decided not to do lambs this year.

The other primary diversion during Dan’s absence came to us quite by accident. In an attempt to keep spirits up last weekend, the children and I treated ourselves to waffles at Mickey’s Diner and then a morning at the Children’s Museum next door.  Little did I know there was a special seminar for children on knitting happening that very morning.

Three of the Little Peppers took to spool knitting like ducks to water.  The littlest Pepper contented herself with stringing beads onto a pipe cleaner. Each time she declared herself ready for the next one, I turned around and slid the beads off and she “knitted” another one.

Of course the children were eager to get home and set about their handiwork. It was very similar to the chicken phenomenon. All four children settled themselves quietly in the living room and knit for FIVE HOURS. After I had finished all my chores, and had nothing else to do I took up my own knitting and joined them. It was lovely.

Elisabeth finished a stunning purple cowl which she sported at church the next day. Miss P made an array of headbands, necklaces, and bracelets which also made it to church. Charlie, having decided on his own to knit an area rug, didn’t have anything to wear to church but his project will no doubt keep him occupied for the foreseeable future.

*Note: in the course of thanking farmer Bryan for the eggs I discovered a very real and present danger to iPhone users everywhere: the accidental emoticon. We are all aware of the danger that accidentally responding to a group text, or texting the wrong person presents. But few are aware of the hazards of the accidental emoticon. Why, this very morning, while scheduling our next pickup of fertilized eggs I texted farmer Bryan: ” How can I ever thank you?” And then intended to select the chicken emoticon, but accidentally selected the lady-in-the-bathtub emoticon. Be careful iPhone users. It could happen to you.

Below, for your viewing pleasure: Chicks, Mickey’s Diner, and Dan’s trip to Nepal

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photo (62)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Grammie B permalink
    March 24, 2015 9:03 pm

    You have such a knack for finding the humor in your lives.

  2. March 25, 2015 9:25 am

    Love this! As a fellow knitter, can we see photos of the knitted projects?

  3. Aunt Kristine permalink
    March 26, 2015 10:45 pm

    We need to schedule another girl cousin playdate ASAP as Lauren has been desperate to learn to knit and I’m desperate for activities that will keep my children quiet for 5 hours.

  4. March 31, 2015 7:57 pm

    I want to see the cowl and the unfinished area rug!!

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